YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – The York High football team is seeing lots of new changes for the new season after a shooting last year.
Gunfire erupted in the parking lot of a William Penn High School football game on Sept. 10, 2016, leaving two people hurt. The team hasn’t played a home game on a Friday night since then.
“It made some of us tear up,” York High cornerback Diontae Wilson said.
A win at York’s home opener last Friday also had head football coach Russ Stoner showing off his dance moves in the locker room.
“We want to win, and we want to celebrate in our locker room,” Stoner said.
“It feels good to be back here looking at the lights shining on us while we’re playing and our fans back,” Wilson said. “It’s a great feeling.”
The team is back to Friday night lights after games were moved to Saturday mornings last year.
The stadium and parking lot have more lights and security cameras as well as new turf and track on the field.
“For us to be able to be here on Friday nights with plenty of lights, plenty of cameras, there’s all of those things here now,” Stoner said. “It’s a safe atmosphere and something our kids really enjoy doing now.”
“It’s part of kind of our comeback story here having a facility that looks really sharp,” said Erin James, spokesperson for the York City School District.
This is much more than just a game for the young football players.
“We want them to get good grades and be good dudes,” Stoner said.
The Bearcats aim for a collective 3.0 GPA, and they have a 3.2 GPA now. The team only won one game last year and hope the momentum from their first win will carry them forward.
“This community is starving to get a good football program back, and we’re hoping that we can continue to work and build that,” Stoner said.
“I want us to make our city better, and I want us to shock the world,” Wilson said.
Wilson hopes to play in college and eventually become a doctor.
The Bearcats play against JP McCaskey High School in Lancaster on Sept. 8.