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Kennard-Dale celebrates 25th anniversary of district champions

FAWN GROVE, Pa. - As they say in Fawn Grove, if you're standing on a paved road, thank those who came before you and paved it.  And if not, help pave it for those behind you.

Before a recent varsity basketball game at Kennard-Dale High School, the school recognized the 25th anniversary of the team that paved the way for the Rams, the 1993 district champions.

The 1993 season culminated in Kennard-Dale's first and only district title.  But the banners in the gym tell the full story, recalling not just one, but two years of basketball history.

"Our program had sort of risen from the bottom up over the previous 20 years or so, and really reached a pinnacle during those two years," said Aaron Eaton, a sophomore on the 1993 championship team.

"And it was really something that sort of avalanched itself.  It started small the year before, things grew, and we got a little taste of success."

Actually they got a big taste of success.

Led by head coach Bob Rudisill, the 1992 team went undefeated in the regular season and made it all the way to the district final before losing to Middletown.

"So the 1992 season certainly built all the hype and everything," remembers Rudisill.  "And what was interesting, after 1992, we lost seven seniors, so we didn't think we'd be as good in 1993."

As a matter of fact, they were even better.

The 1993 team completed another undefeated regular season and earned another trip to Hershey for the final.  They faced the same opponent as the year before, but this time Kennard-Dale beat Middletown, 49-43, for the Rams first ever district title.

Even though that team featured Adam Miller, York County's all-time leading scorer at the time, it wasn't all about the offense.

"We were the best defensive team in York County," said Rudisill.  "We kept the ball out of the lane and made people shoot long jump shots."

Most people remember two particular chants from the student section during those years: "Undefeated" and "Beat By Farmers."

"We were the media darlings, because back then we were considered a small rural school" explained Rudisill.  "And all of a sudden for two years in a row, we were going everywhere and winning."

And everywhere the Rams would go, their fans were sure to follow.

"We couldn't figure out where our fans came from," said Rudisill.  "In 1993, we sold out every gym we played in.  Most schools were advance-selling tickets only when we were coming there, because they knew people were going to be waiting in line."

In the small borough of Fawn Grove, the players were treated almost like rock stars.  They even had autographed trading cards.

During those magical seasons, the team captivated not just the school, but the whole town.

"People left work early, people waited in lines to get into games," added Eaton.  "It was really not about us, but about the entire community."

Even though the 1993 team went on to lose in the first round of states, their legacy was secure.