Clayton Miller would make a point to peek at the Eastern York High School football field when he could this past spring.
He wanted to see how the new turf field was coming along.
"Sometimes I'd take the long way just to see how far they've gotten," the Golden Knights football player said Monday during YAIAA football media day at the York Daily Record/Sunday News.
The artificial turf, which replaces natural grass, was completed last month.
In fact it was completed about a week early, Eastern football coach Richard Brubaker said. The surrounding track is now undergoing a resurfacing procedure, which should be the final step to making Eastern York the second Division III school with turf.
York Suburban is the other, and both will move up to Division II in 2014 when Gettysburg joins the YAIAA.
For now Brubaker is hopeful, following an inspection of the field, it will be ready for an Aug. 23 scrimmage against Big Spring. The Knights open the regular season on the new turf a week later against Columbia, which will make the short trek across the Susquehanna River.
Although the turf's arrival comes a year after all-time leading rusher Alex Cooley sped down the sidelines for the final time, the surface should be healthy marriage with Eastern's returning personnel.
Quarterback Thomas Taylor returns with a number of receivers in tow.
"I think Alex would have loved to run on turf for three years instead of grass," Brubaker. "It doesn't change anything for us."
Tough blow for Rockets: The next time you see Spring Grove senior Logan Hagerman competing, it could be in a place you would least expect.
The swimming pool.
Hagerman was primed for another big season for the Rockets at wide receiver. Unfortunately a torn ACL will sideline him for both the football and basketball seasons.
Click on this link to download the free GameTimePA iPad football preview, or scan the QR code.
Spring Grove head coach Russ Stoner plans to make the best of a tough situation. First, he plans to use Hagerman as an offensive assistant, allowing him insight on a different side of the game.
"It's horrible because he worked his butt off and was really looking forward to having a great senior year," Stoner said.
Doctors estimate that Hagerman will need nine months to fully recover from the injury. In the meantime, he and Stoner may have found a way to allow Hagerman to compete while at the same time help in his rehab process.
The solution: having Hagerman join the swim team.
"My son and daughter have been swimming at the Y," Stoner said. "I have just watched their physiques get ridiculous. I think he can do some stuff in the pool to help with rehab and also get him in incredible shape."
The hope is also that Hagerman can spend some time in the weight room.
Stoner spoke with former Dover head football coach Bill Miller, who coached Green Bay Packer running back/fullback John Kuhn and helped him recover from a shoulder injury his sophomore year in high school.
"He said the reason he became the player he is today was because he had to throw himself in the weight room while he was rehabbing," Stoner said. "Now he is in the weight room all the time. I am thinking if we get Logan into the weight room, he has the fast twitch muscles and he is a great athlete. If he gets a little thicker and stronger he will have a great career in college."
Bright side at Kennard-Dale: Thanks to portable lighting, Kennard-Dale will open the 2013 football season not only on its home field, but also on Friday night.
Rams coach Andy Loucks said his team hopes to play three home games under the lights this season.
Loucks added that the Aug. 30 game against Oxford should present a terrific atmosphere for the entire school.
"We are approaching it with guarded excitement. It's a big deal," Loucks said.
The coach is also hopeful that a home night game will help kick-start his Kennard-Dale team, which finished 0-10 last season. An opening-night win could go a long way.
"If you get off to a good start, it can carry you. If you get off to a bad start it can hurt you," Loucks said.
The Rams' schedule also lists the Oct. 11 homecoming game against New Oxford and the Senior Night tilt against Susquehannock on Oct. 25 as the other Friday night home games.
Wingin' it: The one time Dover senior Logan Ambrose threw up a football last season, it went for a 47-yard touchdown.
He hopes it will happen much more this fall, as Ambrose moves from running back to quarterback while adjusting to a new offense for first-year coach Eric Lam.
Ambrose, who will still wear No. 22, is aware it might look strange. He said he has been asked multiple times if he would change his number after learning of the changes back in February. On top of a new position, Ambrose will learn a new offense as Dover switches from the I-formation to a Wing-T.
"The toughest adjustment is throwing the ball. I've never thrown it before," he said. "Coach Lam told me, 'When in doubt, just run it.'"
Ambrose finished last season with 757 yards rushing and averaged more than 6 yards per carry. Fellow running back Isaiah Green put up similar numbers and returns for his junior year.
Canners lost core: When asked how his team would replace the 18 players lost to graduation, Biglerville football coach Alex Ramos turned and asked senior running back Dustin Grubbs if the question had come up before.
Ramos was speaking tongue-in-cheek, of course. The question is a common one for the Canners, who finished last season with about 25 players.
To make matters worse, those 18 players were the core of a team that went 9-3 and reached the District 3 Class AA semifinals.
Running backs Oakley Fissel and Jordan Wenk, who rushed for 1,852 yards and 27 touchdowns: gone.
Wideout Tyler Lieberum, whose eight receiving touchdowns were more than the rest of the team: gone.
Quarterback Tanner Cool, who had a 65.2 completion percentage...
Well, you get the idea.
One piece of good news is that the Canners return fullback Joe Hurda, who rushed for 914 yards and 13 touchdowns and who is one of about five seniors this season. He'll split rushing attempts with Grubbs, Scott Cooper and Brady Mentzer.
"If I were one of the other guys, I'd be super excited about it," Ramos said. "Everyone that plays this game knows Joe Hurda is going to get some carries, which means the other guys won't get attention and they can do their thing off the radar. It's not all on their shoulders."
Ramos added he expected about 35 players this season, some moving up from the lower-level teams and some who just didn't want to play last season.
But that doesn't change the fact that this season's team will look a lot different than last year's.
"We're going to be young," Ramos said. "It's not going to be an excuse for us. Our expectation is to go out and play."
Shay glad to join the ranks: Red Lion's Jesse Shay was at his first YAIAA media day on Monday. The first-year head coach looked around the room at his Division I counterparts, especially Central York veteran Brad Livingston, with respect.
"As confident as I am in my knowledge, you can't help but come into a situation like this awestruck," Shay said. "Then you have to recompose yourself and say, 'I am one of these guys.'
"I can't look at Brad and say 'My God he has been doing this for 30-some years.' I have to look at it as we are equals now. He has achieved a great deal. I hope to achieve that as well."
Of course, Shay said he has been informed of the Red Lion-Dallastown rivalry.
"That has come up one or two times," he laughed. "You want somebody that is going to challenge you. The kids are into it. Honestly what you have to worry about is keep your kids (more level).
"We had to do that at McDevitt with Harrisburg. I took a great deal of things from McDevitt. I've been part of a pretty good rivalry and am going to try and use that experience here."
Lions' senior quarterback Blake Cahill said that Shay's credibility has helped him reach his audience.
"We didn't know much about him. When he said he came from McDevitt, our ears perked up," Cahill said. "He's got incredible football IQ and we all trust the system he has brought in."
More coverageGameTimePA TV: YAIAA Football Media Day