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Dover wipes the slate clean for 2016

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Watch: YAIAA Division II football preview
Christian Arnold and Teddy Feinberg talk about the upcoming season of YAIAA division II football.

Things started off so well for Dover last season. After six weeks, they were 4-2.

But, the final four weeks went south for the Eagles, who lost four straight games to finish 4-6 overall.

"I think the expectations that were set on us were high and we tried to live up to those expectations, and we were OK until we ran into some problems late in the season with injuries and disciplinary-type things," Dover head coach Wayne Snelbaker said. "We want those expectations, but we want to try and keep the kids grounded as well."

Injuries to numerous players and a lack of depth took their toll.

"We don't want to hang our hat on that," Snelbaker said of the injuries. "We tried to put the game plan forward, we just ran out of personnel at places. With a limited number of players anyhow, to lose those players hurt us."

This season as they enter Class 5A, the Eagles are retooled with some younger players.

"This first year will be a learning year for everybody going through it, including the PIAA," Snelbaker said of the reclassified structure.


Quarterback: Last season, the Eagles had five players throw at least one pass. Tad Pequignot (424 passing yards) and Tyler Blazosky (462 passing yards) led the charge last season, but both graduated. This season, junior Alan Hansel will have his turn running the offense.

"He picked up the offense rather quickly and he's a good leader for us," Snelbaker said.

Running backs: Durran Ledbetter rushed for 846 yards and seven touchdowns last season, but he also has graduated. Two sophomores, Brandon Lawyer and Derek Arevalo, will carry the load for the Eagles this season.

Receivers: The Eagles will have to replace Caden Snyder, who led the Eagles in receiving yards last year. Juniors Andrew Hoffman and Brady Bowman will be relied upon to pick up that slack.

Offensive line: Dover returns three starters in juniors Chase Heath and Shad Murphy and senior Drew Shaffer.

"We're just trying to fill holes with the other two starters, who will be young, but we are mixing and matching trying to find the best scenario for us," Snelbaker said.


Defensive line: Murphy and Heath are back to anchor the line of a defense that forced 21 turnovers last season, good for a tie of fifth most in the league. Shaffer has moved from linebacker to tackle.

"We all have to do our jobs," said Heath, who recorded more than 30 tackles last season. "We can't play selfish."

Linebackers: Cole Jesmer and Lawyer look to have big years patrolling the middle of the field.

Secondary: Senior Amari Peterson returns after leading the team in interceptions last season. Bowman, Hoffman and Josh Pettigrew look to see some time here.

Special teams

Soccer player Zach Noll will handle the kicking duties.

• • • 

Save the date

Oct. 21 vs. York Suburban. Last season, it was Week 7 when the Eagles' losing streak started. Dover dropped a 55-27 decision to the Trojans in Week 8 last year, as Suburban went on to claim the division title.

Bottom line

Snelbaker expects the depth of the team to improve this season. The Eagles will be relatively young at most positions, but how quickly the youth progresses and if the team can avoid the injury bug will help determine the overall success of the squad.

In the huddle

Head coach: Wayne Snelbaker (4-6 in two seasons) will also be defensive coordinator
Assistant coaches: Jim Snelbaker (OC), Pete Bowen, Marc Dellinger, Rodger Murphy, Dan Snelbaker and Colt Zarilla.
Class: 5A, YAIAA Division II
Enrollment: 769 total (398 male)
Offense: Spread
Defense: 4-4

2016 schedule

Sept. 2 — Dover at Shippensburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — Dover at Steel-High, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — Red Land at Dover, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Gettysburg at Dover, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — Dover at Eastern York, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7* — Kennard-Dale at Dover, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — Dover at Conrad Weiser, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — York Suburban at Dover, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — Dover at West York, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Susquehannock at Dover, 7 p.m.

2015 results

W // Shippensburg // 42-17
L// Big Spring // 35-36
L // @ Red Land // 21-38
W // @ Gettysburg // 25-14
W // Eastern York // 7-6
W // @ Kennard-Dale // 41-20
L // Reading // 7-26
L // @ York Suburban // 27-55
L // West York // 39-14
L // @ Susquehannock // 13-44