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New West York football coach Jones hopes to keep good times rolling

ELIJAH ARMOLD
YorkDispatch

It's been said countless times before.

You don't want be the guy who follows the guy.

However, new West York football coach Jeremy Jones doesn't seem to mind. In a way, Jones isn't so much replacing the highly successful Ron Miller as he is trying to "keep everything running smoothly."

Jones was on Miller's staff starting in 2008, the year the Bulldogs captured the District 3 Class AAA title — the first and only York-Adams team to win district gold in AAA or AAAA.

In 2013, Jones left the Bulldogs' coaching staff, but not the school's faculty, to take the head coaching job at York Suburban. Jones went 9-11 in his two seasons with the Trojans.

Miller resigned at West York in December, having amassed an 86-25 record in nine seasons, winning or sharing seven Division II titles and capturing district gold in 2008.

"There's expectations that go along with it," Jones said of taking on the task of filling Miller's shoes during York-Adams Media Day on Monday. "And expectations are fun. It's what you do with them, if you crack under it or not."

Jones is drawing off his previous experience with the Bulldogs' program to ease his transition into the role of its leader.

He plans on keeping many of the offensive and defensive schemes and terminology implemented by Miller, rather than opting for a total system overhaul that sometimes accompanies a coaching change.

"I think there's a familiarity with keeping the same terminology, I think that kind of diffuses some of those challenges of coming in new," he said.

Jones has also been maintaining contact with Miller, sometimes to seek advice in his new endeavor and other times to just chat casually about their lives.

"I approached him when I first got the job, and I asked about some of the kids that are coming up," Jones said. "When I left a couple years ago, they were just freshmen. Asked about character, what guys are leaders, we talk all the time."

Another degree of familiarity for Jones comes in the form of being able to again teach some of the kids he coaches. Jones maintained his health and physical education faculty post at West York throughout his tenure coaching the Trojans.

"I get to be in the building with the kids, that's big," Jones said.

Formidable quest: The Bulldogs' quest to stay atop the Division II standings will be a formidable one, however.

West York was among the league leaders statistically both offensively and defensively last season.

Offensively, the Bulldogs, who posted the league's most prolific offense, were led by since-graduated standout quarterback Ross Campbell, who was second in the league in rushing yards (130 carries, 1,230 yards) and third in passing yards (1,524).

Also gone are standout receiver Diego Torres and offensive line stalwarts Logan Stover and Hunter Mummert.

But the West York attack won't be barren. Junior running back Cadence Thomas returns, as does receiver Terry Cains. Both figure to be aided by the consistency Jones plans to offer from an operational standpoint.

"Offensively, it's the same thing I did when Ron was here. Everything pretty much stays the same, trying to keep everything running smoothly," Jones said.

And as good as the Bulldogs were on offense, they were equally stout on defense. West York was second in the York-Adams League in terms of total yards allowed and had the league's best turnover ratio at +13.

The defense also felt the sting of graduation from front to back, with the losses of defensive lineman Nick Kniery, linebacker Garrett Stauffer and safety Brett Kinneman. In all, the Bulldogs lose five of their six leading tacklers.

Linebacker Ryan Narber will likely be counted on to be a leader. Narber finished with 67 tackles a year ago, second on the team.

There will be some more stability and familiarity in the defensive ranks, in the form of defensive coordinator Josh Fry. Jones spoke of Fry being instrumental in easing his transition, allowing the offensive-minded Jones the opportunity to focus on that side of that ball.

The opposition: Thankfully for the Bulldogs, much of the opposition has transitions of their own to deal with.

West York's main rival, Dover, will have a new coach of their own. But that won't necessarily make for an easier contest. That new coach is a name familiar to the Bulldog faithful — former West York assistant Wayne Snelbaker.

Gettysburg still figures to be formidable, although the Warriors lost a sizeable chunk of talent to graduation.

While this Bulldog team might end up looking familiar, from an X's and O's standpoint, Jones did find one thing that will look different this season.

"One, I look nothing like Ron Miller," Jones joked.

But the first-year Bulldogs' coach is undoubtedly hoping to become a mirror image in terms of success.

— Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com