It was a season for the history book, except that Biglerville High head coach Alex Ramos isn't quite ready to relegate the Canners' 2012 season to the past just yet.
"I want to start a new tradition. That's kind of the idea that we're working with here," Ramos said, adding. "We want to start a new tradition at Biglerville where we're looked at in the top echelon with Berm (Bermudian Springs) and Delone (Catholic)."
The Canners took a big step with the type of season that serves as a benchmark. Biglerville's 9-3 mark in 2012 isn't the sort of record that's been seen in northwest Adams County since the days of coach Jack Emanuel, whose 1971 team went 9-1.
However, Biglerville came out of the gate to a 4-0 record and, a loss to Delone Catholic notwithstanding, kept playing until Bermudian Springs beat the Canners twice in three weeks to end the year.
The streak included a 28-26 District 3 Class AA quarterfinal win over Trinity at Camp Hill.
""To beat the number-10 team in the state, by far it was the biggest game of the season," Ramos said. "It's number-one in my career, hands down."
Fans did not have to look far to find out why Biglerville emerged from back-to-back 5-5 seasons to challenge Bermudian Springs for the YAIAA III crown.
"I thought we would be very good offensively," Ramos said. "I didn't know we'd be the best offensive team in the area. You don't expect that."
Led by Oakley Fissel, who averaged 8.3 yards per carry and scored 20 touchdowns, Biglerville averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a team.
"The line, we had some question marks and they really stepped up. Our pass protection was great and they opened up some holes," Ramos said of the group of Trevor Stover, Dillon Bartles, Nate Runk, Adam Lowe and Eric Showers.
In particular, Ramos noted Runk's improvement, and said, "He only starting playing football as a sophomore. He was not very strong and not very physical as a sophomore."
By the end of the season, the coach said, Runk was steady enough that he needed little instruction.
Senior quarterback Tanner Cool answered another concern for Ramos.
The coach said, "I expected Tanner Cool to be better than last year, but I did not expect him to be as efficient and sharp as he was."
In fact, few Hanover area quarterbacks were ever sharper. Cool completed a cool 66.7 percent of his tosses for 1,454 yards and 14 touchdowns, and Ramos added, "Even in college and the NFL, if you throw only two picks, it's a miracle."
Biglerville's defense was not as steady, but Ramos said that, while the Canners permitted yards, points did not come as easily for opponents, perhaps surprising because of the small Canner squad.
"It's one of those things that we knew we had to be in shape," he said.
That's where senior leadership took hold. Those athletes will be graduating, but Ramos is confident there are enough players available to maintain the success.
"I think we'll be better than what people are expecting," he said, noting, "I think there's a lot of interest and we will get some new faces. They're going to come out and participate and want to be part of something special like we had this year."
In turn, Ramos has settled into his own role at Biglerville after three seasons.
"A lot of people said, when I took this job, that I was crazy," he said, "They said, 'You know the tradition. It's said you can't win there.' To be able to turn something around and give this community the season we had meant a lot."
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