West York players try to bring down Dover’s Vaughn Hebron during a game last season. Hebron will continue to be a key player for the Eagles this
West York players try to bring down Dover's Vaughn Hebron during a game last season. Hebron will continue to be a key player for the Eagles this season. He is less than 300 yards away from becoming Dover's all-time leading rusher. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Kristin Murphy)
Last year was quite successful for the Dover Eagles.

Not only did they have their first winning season in a decade, they also boasted the YAIAA's leading rusher in Vaughn Hebron, who finished with 1,394 yards.

Some things are definitely different as the Eagles begin a new season.

For the first time in three years, Colt Zarilla won't be under center for Dover.

Also, the Eagles moved up to Division I under the new YAIAA realignment plan, for the first time since 2001.

"I like to use the quote, 'It is what it is'" Eagles head coach Bill Miller said. "That's where we are, and that's where were going to play for two years, and then they'll all change again.

"It's not unchartered territory. We were in Division I before, and we were at the time one of the smallest schools then, too."

Offense: The Eagles have to replace Zarilla at quarterback and most of their line that opened the holes for Hebron last season.

Senior Steve Ferry will get a shot at replacing Zarilla. Ferry will have some of Zarilla's old targets back in Andy Wolfgang and Carlos Rivera.

"He's a tall kid who can throw the ball," Miller said of the 6-foot-2 Ferry. "He's gotten better at running the option. With him at quarterback, it's not a liability."

The offense won't be strictly on Ferry's shoulders, however, as Hebron will garner most of the opposing defense's attention. The senior back, who has drawn interest from colleges such as Maryland and UConn, has also caught the eye of some Ivy League schools.

The running back will perform behind a fairly new offensive line, as he tries to become Dover's all-time leading rusher. Hebron is less than 300 yards away from setting the mark for the Eagles.

"I'm worried about everybody - including myself - doing their job," Hebron said. "The linemen have to open holes, the backs have to run, and the receivers have to catch the ball."

Defense: The unit will go to multiple formations this season, not just the 4-4.

"We're going to be as multiple as we can," Miller said. "We have some talent back. Unfortunately our losses on the offensive side of the ball are mirrored on defense.

"What we lost is right up the gut. We lost our tackles, inside linebackers and safety. It's not like replacing one position here or there, it's replacing that area."

The Eagles are leaning on Roger Pletcher, Zach Myers and Jeff Wesko to stabilize the unit.

"I love laying people out," Pletcher said. "You want to have the other team backing away from you, not charging down on you."

Intangibles: Dover will rally around last year's 6-4 finish in Division II as they move to Division I.

"We're just trying to maintain the momentum of a winning season," Miller said. "We're trying to defeat the feeling that our season is doomed because we moved up, there's no reason to feel like that."

That feeling is shared by those returning starters from last season.

"Last year we had the first winning season in 10 years, and we started to establish ourselves in Division II," Hebron said. "Then we got bumped to Division I. It's like a brand-new start."

Verdict: The last time the Eagles were in the top YAIAA division, they finished 0-10 in 2001.

Some things have changed in the last six seasons, but as Miller embarks on his 10th year at the helm, one thing is clear, he wants consistency.

"We're trying to get back to where we were in the late 1990s," Miller said. "When people knew when they played Dover, they may win the game, but it's going to be a struggle, it's going to be a fight. I want to get back to that."

A tough schedule, including three straight road games against Bermudian Springs, Delone Catholic and South Western will test the Eagles early on. If the Eagles can split their first four games, they may surprise some in Division I.

"I honestly believe we should have a successful season when it comes to the won and loss record," Miller said. "I don't know if it will equate to that, but I think the ability is there, depending on how we get out of the blocks.

"I view success as having the players be better in November than they were in August."

Eagles in the huddle

General

Offense: Multiple
Defense: 4-4, 5-2, 4-3

Coaching staff

Coach: Bill Miller
Assistants: Tim Schrum, Will McMaster, Joe Rogers, Bill Rickard, Galen Rupp, Pete Bowen

Key returners

· RB/DB Vaughn Hebron, Sr.; WR/DB Carlos Rivera, Sr.; WR/DB Andy Wolfgang, Sr.; TE/DE Roger Pletcher, Sr.; OL/DE T.J. Adcock, Sr.

Key losses

· QB/DB Colt Zarilla; OL/DL Zach Nace; OL/DL Chris Mosebrook; OL/DL David Housseal; RB/LB Dan Fahringer

Great game

Dover 41, York Catholic 12
Nov. 2, 2007
· This victory clinched a winning season for the Eagles for the first time in a decade. Vaughn Hebron broke the 29-year-old single-game school rushing record and clinched the league's rushing title with his 203-yard performance. The Eagles finished with 421 yards on the ground on 49 attempts.

Homecoming

Oct. 3 vs. Red Lion

2-minute drill

VAUGHN HEBRON
Senior running back/defensive back
Which NFL player would you compare yourself to and why? Reggie Bush, because of his versatility. He can run the ball and then come out of the backfield and catch the ball.
Who's the one player on your team that you wouldn't want to face and why? Roger Pletcher, because he's just big. He's the only person I really worry about on the team going head-to-head with.
What's a typical pregame meal for you? Spaghetti.
If football didn't exist, what sport would you play? Badminton, I love badminton.
Do you have any pregame superstitions or routines? Not really, I just don't think about it much. I just go in and do it.
What career do you think you'll end up in some day? Engineering.