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A look at West York's first Football Hall of Fame class

STAFF REPORT
  • The West York Football Club has started a Hall of Fame.
  • The first seven members will be inducted before Friday's game vs. Eastern York.

Before the action kicks off Friday night, West York will start a new football tradition.

The West York Football Booster Club will induct its first seven members in its new Hall of Fame on Friday. Russ Stoner, above, is part of that first class.

The West York Football Booster Club will honor the inductees of its inaugural Hall of Fame class prior to the Bulldogs taking on Eastern York.

The first class is comprised of individuals who are at least 10 years removed from the program and have met the school’s specialized criteria and standards while representing West York.

This year’s initial group is comprised of a pair of fabled coaches and a player representing every decade from the 1960s through the 2000s.

Perhaps the inductee most recognizable to current York-Adams football fans is Russ Stoner.

Currently the head coach at York High, Stoner began his football career as a dynamic all-around performer for the Bulldogs from 1986-1988.

Stoner was part of the first West York District 3 championship team in 1988, and his standout abilities on both sides of the ball were best encapsulated by a semifinal victory against Littlestown during that run. In that game, Stoner accounted for 25 of West York’s 31 points by scoring three touchdowns, kicking two extra points, scoring a two-point conversion and booting a field goal as well.

His touchdowns also showcased his do-it-all playing style. They came on offense (pass reception), defense (interception return) and special teams (kickoff return).

Stoner was voted the Player of the Year in both his junior and senior years.

For his career, Stoner finished with 366 carries for 2,028 yards, 48 catches for 576 yards, 39 touchdowns, 41 PATs, two 2-point conversions and three field goals for a total of 288 points.

Defensively, Stoner amassed 109 solo tackles, 75 assists, 14 interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a sack.

Others to be recognized Friday include:

Terry Bupp: The longest-tenured head coach in West York history, Bupp patrolled the sidelines from 1982 until 2005. He finished with record of 152-97-3. He captured eight outright or shared division titles.

Bupp, a 12-time Coach of Year award winner, has two District 3 gold medals to his credit in 1988 and 1991. His Bulldogs were also district runner-up in 1997.

A member of the York Area Sports Hall of Fame, Bupp retired from teaching at West York in 2006 but is still active in the school’s sports scene, serving as a game manager at various sporting events.

Thomas Heckard: In his 11 seasons as coach, first from 1958 to 1964 and then from 1966-1969, Heckard compiled a record of 63 wins, 38 loses and six ties. His teams won back-to-back York County titles in 1967-68, going on a 19-game winning streak in the process.

Heckard was voted Coach of the Year both seasons. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

John Sprenkle (1960s): A dominant lineman from 1966-1968, Sprenkle was a key figure in the Bulldogs’ 19-game winning streak spanning the 1967-68 seasons.

He led a defense that allowed just seven points in 1967.

A team captain for the 1969 Big 33 game, Sprenkle was also an Honorable Mention All-American that year. He is also a member of the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.

Keith Zimmerman (1970s): A three-year varsity player in the early 1970s, Zimmerman spent time playing quarterback, safety, linebacker and punter. He was an all-county selection in his junior and senior years, earning Player of the Year honors in his senior season.

Zimmerman would go on to play at Penn State before injuries ended his career after two seasons. He attended the 1974 Orange Bowl as a member of the Nittany Lions and played in the 1975 Cotton Bowl.

Aaron Sheetz (1990s): A three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines in the early 1990s, Sheetz was a leader on a 1991 Bulldogs team that captured the school’s second District 3 gold medal.

During West York’s undefeated 1991 season, one that saw the Bulldogs allow only 67 points in 10 games, Sheetz led the team with 32 solo tackles. He also posted 17 assists, five sacks and an interception. Sheetz was selected as an all-star on both sides of the ball and was also an Associated Press Small School All-State First Team defensive selection. Sheetz went on to become a two-year starter and letterman on the defensive line at Shippensburg University.

Dakota Kessler (2000s); A first-team defensive all-star in 2004 and 2005, Kessler represented West York in the War of the Roses All-Star Game his senior year.

In his junior season, Kessler led the Bulldogs with 431 yards rushing on 86 carries with four touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 80 yards. In his senior campaign, Kessler rushed for 363 yards and had 167 yards receiving. From his defensive backfield spot, Kessler racked up 76 solo tackles, 26 assists, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a sack. Kessler would go on to win a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship with Shippensburg University in 2009. Kessler is currently back with the Bulldogs, serving as a varsity assistant coach.

Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com.