West York preps for Buckskin run attack
It's no secret what the Conestoga Valley football team will try to do Friday night when they visit third-seeded West York in a District 3-AAA quarterfinal matchup.
The Buckskins will pound the football. More specifically, they'll pound the football with senior tailback Kevin Kelley. A lot.
There isn't a lot of smoke and mirrors when the comes to No. 7 Conestoga Valley (7-4), and Bulldogs coach Ron Miller is well aware of what his team will see Friday at 7 p.m.
"The scheme they run they do a lot of power and counter-type action," Miller said. "Our defensive ends are going to have to play well, and we're going to have to tackle."
Of course, Kelley's eye-popping numbers (2,078 rushing yards, 26 TDs) merit attention. But could Conestoga Valley's no-frills, power-run style actually play into the hands of the West York defense, which has struggled at times the past two weeks?
It's worth considering.
West York (10-1) has allowed its two highest single-game point totals of the season the last two weeks. It's opponents in those games -- Littlestown and Mechanicsburg -- both presented formidable passing attacks.
Mechanicsburg moved the ball primarily through the air (225 passing yards vs. 75 rushing yards). And though Littlestown burned West York on the ground (264 rushing yards), the Bolts spread the field at times and presented the threat of its passing game. Littlestown led the YAIAA in passing offense this year.
Against Conestoga Valley, defending the pass will be an afterthought. Last Friday against Northern York, the Buckskins ran the ball 47 times versus three passing plays.
"I think that's been some of our problem the last couple of weeks," Miller said when asked about his team's tackling. "Teams have gotten the ball out in space and we haven't been able to get the troops there. That's something we pride our selves in, running to the football all the time.
"That's tough when you have teams spreading you out, throwing the football. When you have a running team like we have tomorrow night, there's a much better chance of us running to the football and getting 11 hats to the football."
West York senior linebacker Darion Bundy agreed the focus will be on Kelley and being aggressive against the run.
"Great teams stop the run and have the run," he said. "So that's what we're focusing on."
Of course, it's worth noting that every team that's played Conestoga Valley knew the Buckskins were going to pound the football. That's their identity. You know they're going to run. They know that you know that they're going to run. And they still beat you. Or something like that. Now I've confused myself.
In any event, we'll find out Friday how the West York defense responds.
Miller on Mechanicsburg taking an early lead in last week's game: I even thought, 'Oh, here we go again.' But again our guys have a lot of pride and we've worked real hard to get where we're at right now.
Miller on his team's psyche this week: This week it's been much different. We're back, we're confident, we feel good about our chances. You could just sense that. ... I feel like I got that old team back from a couple of weeks ago.
Senior tailback Corey Harris on whether he has anything left in the tank after last week's 258-yard, 4-touchdown performance: I refill every week, actually. As long as I rest up. We know it's a big game, so I'm good. I'm pretty excited for it, actually.
Harris on being a guy teams game plan for: I feel like everybody is coming after me now. We just try to mix some things up, just spread it around to other people. It seems like everybody wants me now.