Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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Kris Miller Named Football Coach

Ephrata has a new head football coach.

Conestoga Valley grad and former Northern Lebanon defensive coordinator Kris Miller received school board approval on Monday night, and he’ll be the Mountaineers’ next coach.

Miller was also hired as a math teacher; he'll begin teaching in the school in the fall after finishing out this school year as a math teacher at Northern Lebanon.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the kids at Ephrata," Miller said. "It's been a long process, but I'm excited to get started. This has always been one of my aspirations. I'm just excited that it happened now and I'm really looking forward to it. This is something I've always wanted to do."

Miller succeeds Scott Shelley, whose contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, when Ephrata went 0-10 overall, and the Mounts’ losing streak hit 31 games in a row.

The L-L League record for consecutive losses in a row is 33; Ephrata will look to avoid that number next season under Miller, when the Mounts leave Section 3 and head back up to Section 2 for the next two-year cycle.

"The biggest thing is that this year's team doesn't have that streak," Miller said. "This year's team is 0-0, and we can't focus on what happened previously. So we'll be looking to control only the things we can control. We can't worry about the other stuff. We have to stay focused on what we can control."

Todd Ruth from the Ephrata Review first reported that Miller received the school board’s blessing to take over the football program; Miller’s last stop was on coach Roy Wall’s staff at Northern Lebanon. He served as an assistant in Fredericksburg the last six years, the first four seasons as an offensive line and defensive line coach, and the last two seasons he added defensive coordinator to those duties.

The Vikings had a memorable 2015 season, going 8-3 with their second Section 3 championship in a row and a trip to the District 3 Class 3A playoffs. Northern Lebanon would have had a 10-0 regular-season run, but the Vikings were docked a pair of victories for using an ineligible player earlier in the season.

Still, it was an unforgettable ride for Northern Lebanon, and Miller was the defensive coordinator for a team that was fourth-best in the L-L in total team D, allowing just 275 yards per game. The opportunistic Vikings also had 27 takeaways, third-most in the league, and most in Section 3.

Miller, who turned 30 in September, played college football for Lebanon Valley College; he played defensive end for the Dutchmen.

"I think the biggest thing is just going to be building and running a program," Miller said. "I've been working closely with Coach Wall the last six years and I've been through the whole process from where we were six years ago to where we got this past year. That was exciting."

Miller said he was impressed with Ephrata's junior high program and the Mounts' feeder system, and the school's facilities, including the turf surface at War Memorial Field.

"Things are definitely heading in the right direction," he said. "I'm just lucky that I get to step in as head coach at this time."