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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Kennard-Dale Rams

ELIJAH ARMOLD
505-5406/@YDSports
  • Chris Grube enters his first full season at the helm of the Kennard-Dale football program.
  • Grube was a co-interim head coach for the final six games of last season.
  • Four of Kennard-Dale's first five games are at home to open the 2016 season.

This is the 11th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday, Sept. 2.  

Kennard-Dale coach Chris Grube is striving to build a winning program at K-D, returning for his second season as the team's head coach, despite a winless 2016 campaign. Bill Kalina photo
The Kennard-Dale Rams will showcase new helmets in the 2016 season.
Kennard-Dale Rams

Team: Kennard-Dale Rams.

Coach: Chris Grube, first year.

2015 record: 3-7 overall, 2-4 York-Adams Division II.

Key losses (2015 Division II All-Stars in bold): Daniel Brewer, quarterback; Chase Carlile, running back and linebacker; Jacob Deppen, wide receiver and defensive back; Austin Jenkins, wide receiver and defensive back; Sean Lauer, guard and linebacker; Stephen Miller, tight end and linebacker; Marc Partee, guard and defensive end; Conner Stokes, tight end and defensive end; Kyle Wooldridge, wide receiver and defensive back; Nick Workinger, running back and outside linebacker.

Key returners (2015 Division II All-Stars in bold): Shawn Ellis, senior, linebacker, cornerback and running back; Nick Fritz, senior, linebacker and running back; Luke Gabriele, senior, guard and defensive tackle; Mark Hushon, senior, free safety and running back; Tanner Harkins, junior, offensive tackle and defensive end; Michael Lizzi, junior, running back and linebacker; Dalton Stike, junior, quarterback and strong safety; Ryan Gibney, sophomore, running back and linebacker; Noah Hulslander, sophomore, quarterback and strong safety.

2016 schedule (Division II games in bold): Sept. 2, vs. Pequea Valley (7 p.m.); Sept. 9, vs. Hanover (7 p.m.); Sept. 16, vs. York Tech (7 p.m.); Sept. 23, at York Suburban (7 p.m.); Sept. 30, vs. West York (7 p.m.); Oct. 7, at Dover (7 p.m.); Oct. 14, vs. Gettysburg (7 p.m.); Oct. 21, at Eastern York (7 p.m.); Oct. 28, at Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Nov. 4, at Columbia (7 p.m.).

Outlook: After a 1-3 start to the 2015 season, then-coach Patrick Weider departed and assistants Chris Grube and Eric Updegrove were interim coaches the rest of the way.

After the season, Kennard-Dale removed the interim tag from Grube and Updegrove left to join the staff at Red Lion.

One of the first things Grube hopes to do is improve the culture surrounding the Rams program; one whose last playoff appearance came in 2010.

Part of improving that culture includes upgrades to the Rams’ home. Kennard-Dale will have a refurbished stadium and new look for 2016.

Improvements include things such as a new field, press box, sound system and field house, according to Grube.

The Rams are also sporting new uniforms that resemble the design worn by the Los Angeles Rams of the mid-1960s and 1970s.

Dalton Stike will take over at quarterback for the Rams. Kennard-Dale will lean on its running game, though, since it lost an experienced receiving corps to graduation.

Shouldering the load in the backfield will be Shawn Ellis and Nick Fritz.

Rams fans will get to see plenty of their team in September. Four of Kennard-Dale’s first five games are at home.

Quotable: “Overall, I’m really excited for the opportunity to coach these fine young men. Defense is going to be our strong suit, we’ve got a lot of speed there. We are a physical team up front. We’re just going to try and beat (opponents) up so in the third and fourth quarters, those three- and four-yard runs turn into seven and eight.” — Grube.

Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com.