West York prepares for Gov. Mifflin's option
A few weeks from now when we reflect on West York's season-opening minefield -- five non-division games against five Class AAAA teams -- we might end up looking at this Friday's game as the toughest of the bunch.
No, the Governor Mifflin team West York visits isn't quite on the same top-tier level as district as powerhouses like Manheim Central or Wilson or Bishop McDevitt. But these Mustangs are no fun to play.
Just ask Wilson, who needed a goal-line interception in the waning seconds to hold off Mifflin, 21-14, in Week 1. Wilson, by the way, is considered by most to be one of the top 10 Class AAAA teams in the state.
Now the task fall on the Bulldogs, big winners over Central York last week, to slow down Mifflin and its veer-option offense. That attack is keyed by three-year starting quarterback Vinny Garipoli and fullback Zack Schmidt, a 1,200-plus yard runner last year.
"It's a different type of offense, so different to practice against," West York coach Ron Miller said.
Miller said he's had his scout team runs plays in practice without a ball, because defending the Mustangs attack is so "assignment-specific." He added Mifflin's attack is comparable to what New Oxford and Kennard-Dale run.
The Bulldogs didn't originally plan on playing Governor MIfflin, which is located in Shillington in Berks County.
"It was getting late in the process of finding a second game," Miller said. "Our AD and I were trying to get this game and that game. It was tough, teams didn't want to play us."
"They've been in the playoffs and have had some good runs in quad-A. It's a big-program type of game."
West York will have to figure out a way to keep possession, and give its defense a breather from the Mustangs' grinding, downhill approach.
Miller said he saw flashes last week from his group of inexperienced tailbacks, which struggled collectively in the first half against Central and then gashed the Panthers late.
Then again, some growing pains at that position would appear inevitable. Jerrin Toomey, Friday's starter, hasn't played running back since the fifth grade. Senior Leland Tate, a track star, returned this year after a hiatus from football. Brock Snellbaker, a sophomore, is unproven, but was effective during his short stint in the backfield.
Overall, that group combined for 135 yards on 36 carries against Central. None of those runners will replicate the astronomic numbers put up first by Brandon Real, and then by Corey Harris the last two seasons. But together, Miller hopes those backs can provide enough of a punch.
"I thought we were OK," Miller said. "I just think we got to get those guys more carries."