Whether it was ripping off a big gain down the sideline or stepping into the hole and stuffing an opposing halfback, Tate Neiderer was up to the challenge.
Neiderer, a Delone Catholic senior, was recently named the Division 3 Offensive Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year by the YAIAA football coaches. His head coach, Corey Zortman, was selected as the division’s top coach after the Squires went 6-0 in the regular season to capture their second straight Y-3 title.
Neiderer was the focal point of the Squire offense after making the switch from halfback to fullback. As a junior he shared carries with Joe Hernandez and Josh Fulton, who combined for 1,946 yards in 2019. With Hernandez graduated and Fulton transferred to Biglerville, Neiderer became the bell cow. He responded by delivering 866 yards and 17 total touchdowns on 121 carries.
“I don’t like to juke, just get downfield, run north and south,” said Neiderer of his running style. “It was fun getting that many (carries); I wasn’t complaining.”
Neiderer looked up to former Squire greats like Dusty Reed and Jake Kadis as a youngster, waiting for the time to come when he would carry his team to a championship. Even in a season shortened by COVID-19 restrictions, Neiderer carved out a place in Delone’s long and storied history.
Zortman said Neiderer holds his own when stacked up against Delone’s legends of the past.
“Tate didn’t necessarily have the size (170 pounds) but he has the instincts and vision to find the open hole,” said Zortman. “He’s a natural and the kid is fearless. He ranks right up there the best we’ve had.”
Running behind Y-3 first-team tackles Nick Groft and Elijah Staub, and guard Alex Timmins, Neiderer was a force. He ranked fifth in the YAIAA in rushing yards and was second in total points scored (102), just two behind York High’s Jahiem White.
Even though he’s a self-described downhill runner, Zortman said patience was one of Neiderer’s best traits with the ball in his hands.
“We harp on using your blockers and Tate had a knack for finding a blocker and letting that lead blocker take a guy out,” he said. “He was born with a gift and he’ll be tough to replace.”
Not only are the Squires losing their most productive offensive player in Neiderer, but also their best defender who was also the Y-3 defensive player of the year as a junior. This fall, he racked up 65 total tackles to share the honor with Savauri Shelton of Bermudian Springs.
With Neiderer anchored in the middle, Delone’s defense yielded only 150 yards and 10 points per game, ranking among the league leaders in both categories. Defensive end Wyatt Schussler and safety Ryder Noel joined Neiderer and Groft on the first team.
Delone once again played up to its lofty expectations despite losing a slew of talented players to graduation. The Squires played Steel-High to the final whistle in the D3 title game, their third straight, before falling 23-13.
Neiderer believes the key to consistency is the unselfishness shared by those who don a Delone uniform.
“It’s a brotherhood, not about one person, knowing you have to give it all for your team,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s on the field, we’re brothers and we have each other’s back.”
Zortman pointed to Timmins as the latest example of a player making a sacrifice for the team. A fullback for the entirety of his career prior to this season, the 215-pound junior was asked to move to guard. Timmins, like Michael O’Brien, Austin Staub and Seth Leonard before him, made the move because it made the team better.
“We can’t afford to have a good kid waiting in the wings to play fullback, we have to find places for those kids to play,” said Zortman. “We’ve been moving kids around, mostly to the line, to be able to continue success. You just have to make a kid understand that changing of a position is not a demotion, it’s a team concept and we’re doing what we have to do to win.”
Zortman, like his colleagues, wasn’t sure there would be a football season. He made a point to stay in communication with his players but didn’t offer false promises. Once they received official word in July that a season would in fact take place, it was all hands on deck.
“Our kids were there every night at almost 100 percent all summer, and we went four days a week,” he said. “They wanted to be there and they made the commitments. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish. We did temp checks, asked questions, made sure they had mask, documented things and all that stuff. The kids took it seriously because the last thing anyone wanted was to be the reason we got shut down.”
Shelton led the way for Bermudian, which earned a spot in the District 3 Class 3A field under first-year head coach John Livelsberger. Shelton compiled nearly 60 total tackles and a couple of sacks at inside linebacker. Matt Zelenski was named first team at outside linebacker and Blake Young received a nod at corner.
Shelton was also a first-team pick at running back after rushing for 623 yards, good for 10th in the YAIAA, and 11 touchdowns. Zelenski was one of four receivers to earn a spot on the first team.
Littlestown had six players make the grade, with four of those on defense. Bryce Redding (end), Reese Huth (tackle), Will Shoemaker (corner) and Lucas Denault (safety) were first-team stoppers for the Bolts, with Nate Thomas (receiver) and Dakota Kroft (guard) on offense.
Biglerville and Fairfield had two players each as first-team reps. Josh Fulton (outside linebacker) and Johnny Sanchez (center) were recognized for the Canners while Knights Andrew Koons (receiver) and Nate Roberts (tight end) were honored.
Hanover sophomore Chase Roberts shared the first-team quarterback spot with York Catholic’s Levan McFadden after passing for more than 1,100 yards. Contact Josh Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at @JoshMartin33
YAIAA Football Coaches All-Stars
Offensive Player of the Year: Tate Neiderer, Delone Catholic
Defensive Player of the Year: Tate Neiderer, Delone Catholic; Savauri Shelton, Bermudian Springs
Coach of the Year: Corey Zortman, Delone Catholic
First Team Offense
QB: Levan McFadden, York Catholic; Chase Roberts, Hanover
RB: Tate Neiderer, Delone Catholic; Savauri Shelton, Bermudian Springs; De’Kzeon Wyche, York Catholic
WR: Matt Zelinski, Bermudian Springs; Andrew Koons, Fairfield, Nate Thomas, Littlestown; Brennan Witman, York Catholic
TE: Nate Roberts, Fairfield
OT: Nick Groft, Delone Catholic; Elijah Staub, Delone Catholic
G: Alex Timmins, Delone Catholic; Dakota Kroft, Littlestown
C: Jonathan Sanchez, Biglerville
Athlete: Jamar Johnson, York Tech
Returner: Hunter Sommer, York Tech
Kicker: Nick Andrasi, York Catholic
First Team Defense
DE: Bryce Redding, Littlestown; Wyatt Schussler, Delone Catholic
DT: Nick Groft, Delone Catholic; Reese Huth, Littlestown
MLB: Tate Neiderer, Delone Catholic; Savauri Shelton, Bermudian Springs
OLB: Josh Fulton, Biglerville; Matt Zelinski, Bermudian Springs
CB: Will Shoemaker, Littlestown; Blake Young, Bermudian Springs
S: Ryder Noel, Delone Catholic; Lucas Denault, Littlestown
P: Nick Andrasi, York Catholic
Second Team Offense
QB: Jay Martinez, Bermudian Springs
RB: William Shoemaker, Littlestown; Peyton Stadler, Fairfield; Sam Hurda, Biglerville
WR: Dylan Zimmerman, Delone Catholic
TE: Wyatt Schussler, Delone Catholic
OT: Bryce Redding, Litltestown; Jhonathan Balek, Bermudian Springs
G: Ethan King, Bermudian Springs; Mason Smith, Bermudian Springs
C: Reese Huth, Littlestown
Returner: Zach Driver, York Tech
Kicker: Justin Emeigh, Delone Catholic
Second Team Defense
DE: Landen Eckert, York Catholic; Logan Brewer, Biglerville
DT: Carr Baker, Fairfield; Michael McBrairty, York Catholic
MLB: Nicholas Creisher, York Catholic; Peyton Stadler, Fairfield
OLB: Nate Roberts, Fairfield; Andrew Adams, York Catholic
CB: Cory Hefner, Delone Catholic; Levan McFadden, York Catholic
S: Brennan Witman, York Catholic; Ethan Beachy, Bermudian Springs
P: Logan Brewer, Biglerville
Honorable Mention Offense
QB: Jake Myers, Fairfield
RB: Josh Fulton, Biglerville; Cory Hefner, Delone Catholic; Ricky Pacana, Bermudian Springs; Kalen Sharrah, Biglerville; Hunter Sommer, York Tech
OT: Logan Lanning, Littlestown; Nicholas Casagrande, York Catholic
G: Michael McBrairty, York Catholic; Ryan Tully, York Catholic
C: Trent Giraffa, Delone Catholic; Carr Baker, Fairfield; Montana Speelman, Bermudian Springs
Returner: Ricky Pacana, Bermudian Springs; Ethan Beachy, Bermudian Springs
Kicker: Matt Zelinski, Bermudian Springs
Honorable Mention Defense
DE: Jhonathan Balek, Bermudian Springs; Jonathan Sanchez, Biglerville
DT: Sam Scovitch, Delone Catholic; Darren Mickley, Biglerville; Bishop Banks, York Tech
MLB: Sam Hurda, Biglerville; Will Myers, Fairfield; Chance Boyer , Bermudian Springs
OLB: Jay Martinez, Bermudian Springs; Michael O’Brien, Delone Catholic; Dylan Staub, Delone Catholic; Jonah Martin, Bermudian Springs; Kalen Sharrah, Biglerville
CB: Dylan Zimmerman, Delone Catholic; Jesse Scott, Biglerville; Braden Unger, Littlestown
S: De’Kzeon Wyche, York Catholic; Zach Showers, Biglerville
Punter: Jake Myers, Fairfield; TJ Huffman, Littlestown; Savauri Shelton, Bermudian Springs