York, PA - Like many current members of Dover's football team, Logan Ambrose spent much of last season on the sidelines, trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible.
Then a sophomore, the Eagles running back found only sparse playing time in 2011 during Dover's program-best, 9-2 campaign. His few varsity cameos netted him 20 total carries.
But in practices, Ambrose began fortifying himself for the opportunities he knew would come. He tethered himself to then-starting tailback Tanner Link, who finished second in the YAIAA with 1,784 rushing yards.
The two would go over plays. Or they'd talk about the intricacies of the position, how to identify running lanes and pick out cutbacks.
When the 2012 season arrived, Ambrose found himself slotted into a starting role -- forced, finally, to put those lessons to use. He wasn't alone. After graduating more than 20 seniors and several all-star selections from last year's Division II tri-champion squad, the Eagles had to reshuffle their lineup on both sides of the football.
Many expected a period of transition to follow.
Instead, the start of Dover's season has offered anything but. In two games, the Eagles have outscored their opponents by a combined 104-14. The running game -- led by Ambrose -- has mimicked last year's bruising attack, averaging 390.5 yards per contest.Granted, Dover's first two opponents, Hanover and Solanco, are both in rebuilding mode. This Friday's home matchup with Mid-Penn foe Red Land (2-0) should offer a better gauge of what this Eagles team is capable of.
But so far, Dover's goal -- to "carry on last season's legacy," as senior wide receiver/linebacker Dylan Ehrlinger put it -- doesn't seem so far-fetched. The Eagles have even surprised themselves a bit.
"Of course not," said Ehrlinger, when asked if he and his teammates expected to post such lofty point totals in their first two games. "But it definitely built up our confidence a lot."
Added Dover coach Bill Miller: "I've been just thrilled with the way a lot of young kids have stepped right into the fire. I'm sure there's a lot of them that played ninth grade last year that didn't anticipate what was going to happen."
All the more impressive: The Eagles are a fresh-faced bunch, with just nine seniors on their roster.
And while Dover has spread the ball around so far on offense, Ambrose remains the team's primary runner. In last Friday's 52-14 win over Solanco, the junior rushed for 155 yards and five touchdowns on 17 carries.
Between Ambrose, sophomore fullback Isaiah Green (161 rushing yards) and others, the Eagles seem well-stocked for the future.
As for the present? That seems more promising by the week.
"Now hopefully people recognize us a little bit more than they were," Ambrose said.
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Canners clicking: While Dover's offense has impressed, it hasn't quite matched the prolific numbers being put up by Biglerville.
The Canners have posted a league-best 106 points so far -- a product, in part, of matchups with recent strugglers James Buchanan and Fairfield. But even before those games, Biglerville was thought to be a potential party-crasher in the Division III race.
Already, the Canners have three rushers with at least 160 yards on the season. On the few occasions Biglerville has thrown the ball, quarterback Tanner Cool has had pinpoint accuracy -- he's 8-of-10 for 268 yards and 4 touchdowns.
And with a matchup against Hanover (0-2, 100 points allowed) on deck, Biglerville's torrid start could continue.
Odds and ends: Here's one positive sign for Susquehannock: Despite suffering a pair of narrow losses to start the season, the Warriors lead the YAIAA in turnover margin (plus-7). ... Through two weeks, YAIAA Division I teams are a combined 2-10. ... Alex Cooley (548 yards) is the league's leading rusher so far. Second? That would be Northeastern's Daniel Adams (345 yards). ... After being shut out in its opener against Bermudian Springs, New Oxford posted a 56-19 win over James Buchanan last week. The Colonials scored 35 points in the first half of that game -- more than they had scored in any full contest since 2009.
John Clayton is a prep sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at 771-2045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.