As expected, West York coach Jeremy Jones is looking forward to a special homecoming performance Friday night when the Bulldogs host York Suburban.
But the coach is quick to say his anticipation has nothing to do with the fact he spent the last two seasons as head coach of the Trojans before returning to West York this season to replace Ron Miller.
"I tried to just go with the mentality that we are just preparing for another team. I am not trying to make it about me," Jones said. "I haven't talked to any of the kids about me coaching there. This game is very important as far as division and districts go and we need to make a strong push."
Thoughts of a District 3 Class AAA playoff berth may have been far off after West York started the season 0-3 following losses to Class AAAA schools, Central York, Dallastown and Red Lion.
However, a solid 42-21 Week 4 victory at Eastern York showed some promise of things to come, and the Bulldogs followed that by defeating Kennard-Dale the next week.
An improved offense, behind running back Ryan Narber and quarterback Ty Folk, has helped the resurgence.
"Getting Narber more reps, he runs so hard, that helped us tremendously," Jones said. "Before, we weren't getting those tough yards. He will give you everything he's got."
"I just kind of go out and try to do my job," said Narber. "Before I was given this role I was still a part of the offense. I don't know if it's necessarily a bigger role, just a different one."
Narber is averaging 5.8 yards per carry to go along with four rushing touchdowns, while helping to anchor the defense from his linebacker position.
Folk, a senior, is in his first year as a varsity starter. He's completing 60 percent of his passes, with an average of 149 yards per game through the air, and has thrown eight touchdowns.
"We tried to simplify the offense a little bit," Jones said. "With Ron we were always grooming the next guy. Unfortunately I didn't have that opportunity with Ty and he kind of got thrown into the fire without that time.
"It's been a learning experience. The nice thing is the competition we played early on, we had some growing pains. His completion percentage has gone up and we have limited the turnovers which has helped. He's come a long way."
While last Saturday afternoon's 37-29 loss at Delaware Valley Charter may be perceived as a hiccup, Jones said the opponent was an exception.
Playing on Saturday had the team out of its pregame routine and the two-hour bus ride to suburban Philadelphia only added to that. Plus, there was a physical difference in players.
"They were enormous, the one tackle was 6-8, 370," Jones said. "It's totally different. Our band didn't go, the officials didn't show up until 15 minutes before the game. I can't imagine doing that every week."
Still, the Bulldogs were able to move the ball despite those factors. Narber ran for 94 yards and Folk threw two touchdown passes to Terry Cains, who had 100 yards receiving on five catches.
West York will take its 2-4 overall record (and 2-0 mark in Division II play) into tonight's game against Suburban, which is also undefeated in league at 2-0. Both teams are chasing Dover, which has won all three of its division contests.
According to Narber, the Bulldogs' mindset has remained in check and he expects it to continue regardless of the game's importance.
"The first couple weeks were a little rough. I feel like our biggest problem right now is we are not playing four quarters of football," he said. "If we do that we will be able to get better every week. I feel like if do that we will be in pretty good shape."