Karl Munscher is finishing up his 25th season as a Bulldog.

Munscher played four seasons in the West York football program and has been a member of his alma mater's coaching staff for the past 21 seasons.

The team's defensive coordinator, Munscher is the guy who always wears shorts, even on the coldest game nights, and who isn't afraid to show his emotions, particularly after a key stop, an interception or a fumble recovery.

He also calls the signals for a defense that is allowing just 10.3 points a game.

"I think these kids are a special unit," said Munscher, as the Bulldogs practiced on Wednesday afternoon for Friday night's District 3 Class AAA championship game against Bishop McDevitt.

The opening kickoff for the game, matching two 13-0 teams, is set for 7 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.

"We don't have that one superstar," Munscher said. "We just play together. All credit goes to the kids. They're disciplined, and they believe in what we put in front of them."

Munscher said all the players on the team dedicated themselves to making this a special season.

"Last year, we were on the doorstep of getting in the district final. (West York lost in the semifinals to Lampeter-Strasburg). They learned from that," Munscher said. "They prepared (for this season) by hitting the weight room, doing the conditioning and the extra things, plus in July, we were up at Bloomsburg, doing this and that."

Whenever the season does end, Munscher will sorely miss the players, particularly the 24 seniors who won't be back next year.

"As coaches, we don't want them to leave," he said. "We love coaching them every week. Our families can see it. They know we really enjoy being out here."

Tough foe: In order to keep practicing and playing beyond this coming weekend, West York will have to defeat a team that has nine district titles and one state title to its credit.

Bishop McDevitt is ranked No. 2 in the latest Patriot-News Class AAA state rankings. West York is ranked No. 6.

"They have a lot of great players, and they're known around the state," said Munscher, whose defense will try to slow down a Crusaders' offense that is averaging 39 points a game.

West York head coach Ron Miller said that McDevitt quarterback Alec Werner is probably the best QB that the Bulldogs have gone up against since he took over as head coach in 2006.

"I think that much of him," Miller said.

"They have Brian Lemelle, he can take a five-yard hitch (pass) and turn it into an 85-yard touchdown, plus they have a few other guys who can run outside. We have to keep things in front of us and hope our front four can get some pressure on their QB."

West York’s defense stops a Susquehanna Twp. runner last during last Friday’s District 3 AAA game.
West York's defense stops a Susquehanna Twp. runner last during last Friday's District 3 AAA game. (John A. Pavoncello)

Werner has lit up defenses for 2,947 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. Lemelle has grabbed 81 passes for 1,449 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 5-foot, 11-inch, 175-pound senior holds the state record for career receptions (251) and receiving yards (4,347). Lemelle has 17 scholarship offers from major college teams, including Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers, Nebraska, Purdue and Syracuse.

Crusaders' running backs Andre Robinson and Rashad Lawson have combined for 1,859 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns. Robinson is a sophomore and Lawson is a junior.

Bishop McDevitt is loaded with speed and talent at the skill positions, but Miller feels the Bulldogs have the edge up front.

"I like the matchup of our offensive line against their front, and I like our defensive line against their front," he said. "We have to win the battle in the trenches.

"It nice to get there (the district final). We're very proud we were able to do that against an ultra-competitive field this year. But, we're not going there (Hershey) to lose."

West York standouts: West York's Brock Snellbaker, who starts at running back and outside linebacker, is the Bulldogs' rushing leader with 910 yards. James Johnson, Brandon Kinneman and Steve Wilson have combined for 1,426 rushing yards.

Kinneman, the team's quarterback, has connected on 89 of 167 pass attempts for 1,565 yards and 19 touchdowns. Kinneman's favorite target is Zack Smith, the York-Adams League's leading receiver with 60 catches for 1,085 yards (18.1 average).

West York and Bishop McDevitt have met twice previously.

The Crusaders defeated the Bulldogs, 35-14, in the 1997 District 3 Class AA championship game. West York won, 34-30, when the teams met in the 1991 regular season. The Bulldogs went on to win the district AA title that year.

Correction: In a story about the Snelbaker brothers which appeared in the Nov. 27 edition of The York Dispatch, it was reported that Jim Snelbaker was the husband of Rose Snelbaker. Actually, Wayne Snelbaker was Rose's husband. The Snelbakers are both assistant coaches for the West York football team.

-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin da@yorkdispatch.com.