The idea took root, ironically, during a rare, lopsided defeat.

Three years ago, Ron Miller's West York football team entered its final regular season game -- a home matchup with Littlestown -- with a perfect record. A win would have earned the Bulldogs an outright YAIAA Division II title.

Rather than a coronation, the game turned into a calamity. Littlestown's offense zipped up and down the field during its 47-21 victory.

The Thunderbolts' weapon of choice: A no-huddle, hurry-up offense.

"I thought 'Boy, he's onto something there,'" Miller said this week.

That offseason, West York decided to tinker with its own high-tempo attack. It used the set on a limited basis during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

This summer, Miller and his staff decided to transition to the no-huddle full time. They have used the set almost exclusively this season -- a strategy that has added another dimension to an already powerful roster. Through eight weeks, the undefeated Bulldogs rank second in the YAIAA in points scored (34.4 per game) despite often resting their starters during the second half of blowouts.

West York is hardly the only team to employ the hurry-up. YAIAA Division I leaders Spring Grove have used the set with excellent results in recent weeks. Other programs -- such as Central York, York Catholic and, of course, the Thunderbolts -- have also used varying degrees of a no-huddle in recent years.


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If, as the cliché goes, the NFL is a "copycat league," then perhaps football's lower levels are not all that different.

"Everybody's watching the Oregons and the West Virginias," Spring Grove coach Russ Stoner said. "As you see all these spread offenses, more teams have the personnel to do it."

Whether the up-tick in area teams using a no-huddle is a trend or a one-year aberration can be debated. What is not arguable, however, are the results it has produced.

Last Friday, Spring Grove piled up 50 points and 555 yards against William Penn.

During the past two weeks, West York has scored 40 and 35, respectively, in the first half of wins over Dover and Kennard-Dale.

Then there is the continued offensive prowess of Littlestown, which switched to a high-tempo scheme several years ago. The Thunderbolts are perennially one of the league's top scoring teams.

"I just become enamored with it because it keeps so many kids involved," Littlestown coach Mike Lippy said. "They like it, it's interesting, they learn a lot. ... It's made for a certain sense of excitement."

Not to mention plenty of bloated box scores. A day after that loss to Littlestown in 2009, Miller called Lippy to learn more about how the Thunderbolts prepared for the game.

That offseason, Lippy said, he and Miller got together to share information.

"One of most important things is our depth," Miller said. "What we found is last year, when essentially our whole offensive line was playing defense, it just wasn't working.

"Last Saturday (at Kennard-Dale), we had a 13-play drive and scored in almost less than three minutes. But we didn't have any offensive lineman playing defense. So they could get their rest."

Therein lies perhaps the biggest advantage of the no-huddle: The ability to wear down opposing defenses. There are others, too, such as preventing the defense from making substitutions.

Miller likes the rhythm the hurry-up gives his team.

"Our biggest problem is sometime the officials," he said. "We're trying to go too fast and they're yelling at us to slow down."

At Spring Grove, all the Rockets offensive players wear wristbands with a list of plays on it. That enables calls from the sideline to be easily deciphered.

"The only thing we had to do was look at our wristbands, and then we were set to go," junior running back Jeff Delaughter said after last Friday's win. "We all knew what we were doing without questioning anything."

Of course, the hurry-up isn't for everybody. Lippy pointed to Bermudian Springs, which has won 17 straight YAIAA Division III games using a grinding, Wing-T scheme that is essentially the opposite of the hurry-up.

But as high school offenses continue to evolve, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the no-huddle has become a viable -- and productive -- option for some teams.

"I haven't noticed it being more of a trend than other years," said Northeastern coach Brendan Brown, whose team played Spring Grove earlier this season and will host West York tonight. "But I do think when you look at Spring Grove and West York, you look at two of best-coached teams in Central Pennsylvania.

"Any time you play teams that don't have as much depth as you, that's a good way to wear them down."

John Clayton is a prep sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at 771-2045 or jclayton@ydr.com.