Kennard-Dale carries optimism into new season
While he isn’t exactly a new head coach, Kennard-Dale’s Christopher Grube is looking forward to the challenge of his first official season at the helm.
Last season, Grube split coaching duties with Eric Updegrove on an interim basis after then-head man Patrick Weider left the program four games into the 2015 season. Grube said he plans to do is change the culture of the struggling program.
“My biggest thing is to have high expectations for our student-athletes,” Grube said. “They haven’t had a lot of success over the years, and we are trying to change that culture down at Kennard-Dale.”
Running back/linebacker Shawn Ellis said he's confident with the plan.
“We already looked at them as kind of head coaches,” Ellis said. “Once the position changed it was a smooth transition. There was no problem with coaching.”
Quarterbacks: The Rams entered camp with a competition behind the center with junior Dalton Stike and sophomore Noah Huslander battling for the starting gig.
“Kids are going to compete at a high level,” Grube said. “I am going to play the best 11 because we want to win football games.”
Running backs: Ellis and Nick Fritz will be workhorses in the Rams backfield. Typically a running team, Kennard-Dale is looking to move the chains more consistently this season.
Receivers: The Rams leading receiver from 2015 — 6-foot-5 target Kyle Wooldridge — has graduated. This position could be the toughest for them to fill.
Offensive line: Senior guard Luke Gabriel and junior tackle Tanner Harkins anchor a group that the team will rely heavily on.
“In years past we’ve always had big kids," Grube said. "We are just trying to be more physical this year.”
Defensive line: Grube promised a lot of variations up front and said he's counting on team speed from the line to make a difference.
Linebackers: Ellis, Fritz and several others will factor in at the linebacker spots where the staff is preaching quickness and ball pursuit.
Secondary: Despite losing so many receivers to graduation, the Rams return a lot of experience in the defensive backfield, including senior safety Mark Hushon. Grube noted that much better tackling is crucial at every spot.
“We’ve been pretty terrible the last two seasons defensively. We’ve been at the bottom of not only the division, but the county,” Grube said.
Hushon did some kicking last season, and the staff is planning to look at a couple of soccer players who have indicated an interest in football. The team will need a punter, as well.
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Save the date
The Rams’ closest rival is Susquehannock. But the Sept. 23 Division II opener is the York Suburban team coached by Andy Loucks, who teaches with Grube at Kennard-Dale.
While it's important to win football games, Kennard-Dale also needs stability in its program. Solid leadership can go a long way to helping the Rams, regardless of their record.
In the huddle
Head coach: Christopher Grube (first season)
Assistant coaches: Kevin Christman (OC), Preston Faulkner, Jeff Lange (DC), James Waltermyer
Class: 4A, YAIAA Division II
Enrollment: 590 (301 male)
Offense: Multi shotgun Wing-T
Sept. 2 — Pequea Valley at Kennard-Dale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — Hanover at Kennard-Dale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — York County Tech at Kennard-Dale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Kennard-Dale at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — West York at Kennard-Dale, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — Kennard-Dale at Dover, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* — Gettysburg at Kennard-Dale, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — Kennard-Dale at Eastern york, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — Kennard-Dale at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Kennard-Dale at Columbia, 7 p.m.
L // @ Waynesboro // 28-60
L// Hanover // 41-14
W // @ York County Tech // 34-20
L // York Suburban // 12-34
L // @ West York // 19-42
L // Dover // 20-41
W // @ Gettysburg // 21-14 (OT)
W // Eastern York // 18-14
L // Susquehannock // 17-35
L // @ Millersburg // 6-7