Spring Grove's football team had something to prove when it took on West York in Week 3 this year.
The Rockets were determined to show they were a lot better than the team that won just one game and lost nine in 2011.
Spring Grove made its point.
The Rockets pushed the Bulldogs, losing by just four points, 21-17, to a team that defeated them by 25 the previous year.
"We started the season knowing we could (compete on a much higher level)," Spring Grove coach Russ Stoner said. "But the question going into the West York game was would we against that team. That night, we did it."
The Rockets will be looking to duplicate the performance on Friday when they clash with the Bulldogs for the second time this season in the quarterfinals of the District 3-AAA playoffs. The game is set for 7 p.m. at West York.
The winner will earn a spot in next Friday's semifinals. The loser will see its season come to a close.
The No. 2-seeded Bulldogs will bring a perfect 11-0 record into the highly-anticipated contest that should draw a huge crowd from both neighboring communities. Spring Grove, the No. 10 seeded team, will enter at 8-3.
"We have to come out strong knowing this team can easily beat us," West York's Brock Snellbaker said. "Last time, we didn't play very well. Luckily, we came out with a win."
Snellbaker is part of a West York running back committee featuring five players who have combined for 2,062 rushing yards. On defense, Snellbaker teams with Devon Fissel at outside linebacker. They'll seek to prevent Spring Grove's running backs from getting to the outside and turning the corner.
"We're going to set the edge hard, so they have to cut it up inside so our inside linebackers can make the play," Snellbaker said. "We obviously know what they're going to bring. We want to try and stop what they want to do."
West York's defense has been successful at doing that all year. The Bulldogs are giving up just 9.7 points a game.
This week they'll be going against an offense that scored 50 points on one York-Adams Division I opponent this season and 49 points and 41 points on two other D-I opponents.
"They present a lot of problems," West York head coach Ron Miller said. "They have their outside zone (running) game. If you start overplaying that, Matt (quarterback Matt Runge) will pull the ball down and run in the middle. If you start tightening your defense too much (to prevent the inside running game), they're going to throw it (the ball) over the top.
"We really have to be disciplined in our assignments this week and keep everything in front of us. We know they're going to get yards, but we need to run to the football and get stops."
Jeff Delaughter is Spring Grove's leading rusher with 1,496 yards. Runge has thrown for 1,309 yards and 14 touchdowns. Austin Nee (30 receptions) and Logan Hagerman (25 receptions) are the Rockets' top receivers.
Snellbaker leads West York in rushing with 721 yards. Quarterback Brandon Kinneman is the league's No. 2-rated passer with 82 completions for 1,410 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. Zack Smith eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark with 58 catches for 1,034 yards.
"The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable on Friday night," Stoner said. "There's a video out proclaiming West York the Division I and Division II champion. They won Division II, and they beat five Division I teams on the field, and they beat South Western in a scrimmage. They're the big dogs on the block, no pun intended."
Stoner knows the layout at West York having playing for the Bulldogs in the 1980s. His daughter, Maddi, 12, and son, Sam, 8, attend West York schools.
"I have some great memories of teammates and classmates," Stoner said. "I remember plays on that field. But, it's not about us (the coaches). It's about the kids (players)."
The winner of the West York-Spring Grove game will take on the winner of the Susquehanna Township-Manheim Central game in the semifinals.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.