It would be hard for any incoming coach to top the success that Kevin Myers enjoyed as the Dallastown head football coach.
With an 83-60 overall record, 10 District 3 playoff berths and four York-Adams League Division I titles during his 13-year tenure, Myers was one of the most acclaimed coaches in the league.
That level of sustained success would leave some pretty big shoes to fill for your typical new head coach.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, Ron Miller in not a typical new coach.
Yes, he is a new coach at Dallastown, but he's hardly new to the York-Adams League.
In his nine years as the head coach at West York, Miller compiled an 86-25 record while leading the Bulldogs to seven York-Adams League Division II titles as well as seven District 3 playoff appearances.
Miller’s most outstanding accomplishment during his time at West York was unquestionably leading the Bulldogs to a District 3 Class 3-A football title in 2008 at Hersheypark Stadium over Manheim Central. That triumph marks the only big-school (3-A/4-A at that time, 4-A/5-A/6-A now) title for any York-Adams League school.
Hershey dreams: Not surprisingly, the Wildcat players all envision that they will be on the field in Hershey with Miller this November, repeating the same moment he had a decade ago.
“Ever since coach Miller got here our expectation was Hersheypark,” Dallastown senior Raymond Christas said. “The first day that he met us all, he gave us all a Hershey Kiss. He said ‘Hold on to this and we’ll all eat them on the bus when we’re headed to Hershey.’ I still have it and it’s sitting in my fridge.”
While talk of winning a District 3 6-A title may seem far-fetched, especially for a York-Adams school, Christas and his teammates would disagree. When you combine a squad with as much talent on both sides of the ball as the Wildcats possess with the experience and pedigree of a coach the caliber of Miller, the Wildcats believe only great things can happen.
Tough schedule awaits: The 'Cats, however, have already been conditioned by Miller in one regard — taking things one day at a time. While that may be a cliché, coaches often say it because there is a lot of truth to it.
The Wildcats will have to play a rigorous 10-game regular-season schedule that includes a pair of tough games right out of the gate against Hempfield and Manheim Township. Hempfield, who beat Dallastown in the first week of the season before repeating that feat in the district playoffs, should be formidable again, while Manheim Township is the defending 6-A champ.
When you add in games against teams such as Division I contenders York High, Central York and rival Red Lion to the mix, looking too far ahead could very well prove costly.
“We just take it one day at a time,” Christas said. “Our motto is 1-0. Every day, every practice, every drill …. everything that we do in life, even if it’s just at school, is 1-0. We just need to keep getting better every day and that’s something that coach Miller has brought over with him. I think it’s really hit home with our team.”
Smith's return should play big role: Besides the arrival of Miller, the excitement level around the Dallastown program begins with running back Nyzair Smith. After rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior, the 5-foot, 10-inch Smith figures to play a big role for the Wildcat offense.
Fortunately for Smith, his new head coach has some good experience in how to handle a game-changing playmaker. During his time at West York, Miller coached Brandon Real, considered by many as one of the best running backs to ever emerge from York County.
In West York’s historic season back in 2008, Real compiled some mind-blowing stats: 2,503 yards rushing and 51 touchdowns.
“Nyzair reminds me a lot of Brandon,” Miller said. “Their vision and their balance is what amazes me about both of them. It’s like they have extra eyeballs or something. Their balance is something and they’re both explosive, obviously. You don’t run for that many yards without being explosive.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.