New coach ready to get Eastern York program on track: 2022 Football Preview

Dante Green
York Dispatch

Over the past 12 years, Eastern York High School has collected coaches like Thanos collected infinity stones.

Thanos needed six infinity stones to wipe out half the universe. Eastern York is just hoping Bud Kyle can get the team to a winning season.

Kyle is the Golden Knights' sixth coach since 2010, and the school believes he can turn around the football program. Bud, the guy who has two first names he jokes, (three if you can get his middle name out of him), was chosen in January to lead the group into the next chapter of Eastern football. 

Eastern is looking to improve from a 2-8 season overall and a 1-5 conference record in  York-Adams League Division II last year.

It hasn’t been an easy road for a team that only has had one winning season in the last decade. They were 7-4 in 2014.

Eastern York's Coach Bud Kyle at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

Kyle said that he isn’t worried about the past and is looking forward to helping the kids believe in themselves. 

“I can’t guarantee wins, but I can guarantee they are going to be put in the position to make plays and win games come Friday night,” Kyle said. 

He took over from Josh Campbell, who wasn’t rehired at Eastern after another losing season. The team was 9-27 in their former head coach's four seasons at the helm. 

Eastern York's quaterback Austin Billet (3) at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

Kyle, a York High graduate and a Dallastown resident, knows he has a lot of work to get the program back on track but said he is ready for the challenge. 

Kyle has a lot to change, including the mentality of players who have never had a winning season in their time as Knights players, but he said the culture has shifted in a positive way. 

“Kids are showing up to off-season workouts, and kids having workouts when we don’t have practice. It shows the commitment they have so far, and they want success and they’re hungry,” he said. 

Eastern York's linebacker and right guard, Briggs Allison (55) at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

The new head coach is coming from one of the Knights'   rivals in Columbia, just across the river in Lancaster County. 

The Crimson Tide had back-to-back one-win seasons before Kyle’s arrival there. In his first year, the team went winless but  improved for the next three years straight, with 3-7, 4-6 and 4-4 campaigns.

In 2021, Kyle's team enjoyed its biggest breakthrough, finishing 8-2 on the season and earning a District 3 Class 2-A semifinal berth.

The five-year tenure was proof that Kyle knows how to turn around a struggling program; now he gets the chance to do so at a larger school, packed with more resources and equipment. 

Columbia is also the team that the head coach will begin his tenure against in Eastern’s first game Friday, Aug. 26, on the road. When the teams met last season, the Crimson Tide defeated the Knights, 46-25, with Kyle at the helm.

Eastern's squad lost talent on both sides of the ball, but none more impactful than all- state receiver Bryce Currier, who is set to play college ball for Ithaca at the NCAA Division III level.

Important returners, such as junior linebacker Briggs Allison, will help the team to stifle offenses   after a season when the Knights allowed 36 points per game. Allison said they are young but players will make names for themselves quickly. 

“You’re going to know who they are,” Allison said. 

Allison added that he wants the team to come together, have fun and win. 

Kyle said when he was hired that the team would run a variation of the offense that Kyle ran at his last school, where the Tide averaged 45 points and 447 yards per game.

Kyle might use senior quarterback Austin Billet in similar ways he used Columbia all-state quarterback Robert Footman. Footman threw for over 3,000 yards and also effectively used his legs to rush for over 500 yards. His 50 total touchdowns weren’t anything to sneeze at either. He received an offer to play at Division II Millersville in college. 

Kyle has already said the team will run the ball plenty. But Billet will still play a pivotal role in running the offense and starting a winning culture for the next class. Billet's ability to throw the ball and stretch defenses should make him a force on offense. 

Billet has been one of the best statistical quarterbacks in Division II the last two seasons. The 6-foot-2 Billet passed for 1,796 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for five touchdowns. He needs 1,600 yards this season to break Eastern York's career passing record.

Billets said he is already excited for the season. 

“We still have work to put in, but it’s starting to get exciting. I’m starting not to sleep at night and get those little jitters,” said Billet. 

Following is a capsule look at Eastern:

Team: Eastern York Golden Knights

Coach: Bud Kyle, first season

Key losses (Division II All-Stars in bold): Bryce Currier (WR/S), Javier Parks (WR/ OLB), Ryan Townsley (OL/ DL) 

Key returns (Division II All-Stars in bold)Briggs Allison (LB/RG), Austin Billet (QB), Levi Ayala (RB/ DE), Jiovanni Vega (RB/SB), Maddox Crumling (RB), Robert Tustison (DE)

Schedule (Division II games in bold): Aug. 26 at Columbia; Sept. 2 vs. Fairfield; Sept. 16 at Kennard-Dale; Sept. 23 vs. Spring Grove; Sept. 30 vs. West York; Oct. 7 at Dover; Oct. 14 vs. Susquehannock; Oct. 21 at York Suburban; Oct. 28 vs. New Oxford

Eastern York High School football.