Dick Van O'Linda, Bill Kalina video

SPRY -- As York Tech's football team left the practice field on Thursday afternoon, the players and coaches stopped to marvel at something many of them had never seen before: a double rainbow.

The celestial light show started not long after a driving rain blew through and soaked the Spartans.

Good fortune. The end of a difficult period.

Both have been linked with rainbows and definitely apply to York Tech, which is on the verge of wiping out 26 years of frustration.

The Spartans can clinch the program's first winning season since 1983 on Saturday afternoon with a victory over a winless Fairfield team.

York Tech will enter the contest with a 5-4 record, and Fairfield will come in at 0-9. The opening kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

Davon Talley is York Tech’s leading rusher with 823 yards on the ground this season. (Bill Kalina Photo)
Davon Talley is York Tech's leading rusher with 823 yards on the ground this season. (Bill Kalina Photo) (Bill Kalina)

"It's amazing the excitement these guys have created around school this year," said York Tech defensive coordinator Jeremy Smith. The team's head coach, Todd Knisley, was unable to attend Thursday's practice due to a family commitment.

"They're (the players) giving
out autographs, and there are Spartan heads, and a sign saying, 'Welcome to Spartan Nation.' We're even having a tailgate starting at 10 a.m. Saturday to set the atmosphere for the day."

Smith said this year's team changed its motto from pride to respect.

"We wanted to get the respect of the other programs in the league."

The Spartans earned it. The turnaround from last year's 1-9 season may have surprised some people, but not the players and coaches.


The 20 seniors were determined not to leave without a winning season.

One of the seniors, Davon Talley, predicted that it wouldn't be the same old Spartans during York-Adams Football League media day in August.

"We preached discipline this year, and that's something we didn't always have last year," Talley said on Thursday.

"There were a lot of suspensions and academic ineligibilities. We didn't have those things this year."

Talley is the team's leading rusher with 823 yards.

"The line is blocking great, and they're so focused this year," he said. "They came to me before the season, and said, 'Talley, by the end of the year, we're going to get you 1,000 yards.'

"When they break the huddle, they chant h-o-g-s, hogs, hogs, hogs."

Tavon Vasquez, Sam Seeley, Carl Beaverson, Matt Moser, Chris Chronister and Dustin McLane have helped clear the way for Talley, Marcus Holley and Jerymie Stonier.

Quarterback DeJon O'Conner, along with directing the offense, also serves as another running back for the ground-oriented team. The Spartans have attempted only 30 passes. Five of the six interior linemen are among the 20 players who will be graduating which will pose a huge challenge for the coaching staff next year.

However, Smith is optimistic about the future.

"We have a lot of sophomores who will be coming up (to varsity), and we have some key juniors who will be seniors next year. Plus, we have a lot of kids walking around the halls who may not have come out in the past, but now the kids want to come out for football.

"The key will be getting them in the weight room in the off-season."

That's the future. The Spartans right now are only concerned with savoring the moment.

"It's hard putting a program together here," Talley said. "We're rivals (from different school district) coming together, and we might not like each other at first. But, we become a family.

"Having dealt with the past three seasons and not winning, to go out with a winning season would be the best thing in the world."

Reach Dick Vanolinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com or 505-5407.