The weight room at York High School wasn’t a real popular place when Glen Snodgrass arrived in 2011 to coach football.
The Dukes had lost 20 consecutive games. Actually, the weight room was kind of an afterthought.
“Most of the coaches in their sports were just doing it on their own,” Snodgrass said. “Now, to have it under one roof and all of sports getting the same terminology has been huge.
“Everybody has bought in. The coaches, the players and the parents.”
What has it meant for his football program? Five straight playoff appearances. A trip to the 2013 state finals. Consider, York had been to the playoffs just eight times in school history prior to his arrival.
The weight room, now, where the Dukes partnered with NOVA FItness Equipment from Omaha, is a staple of the success in the Duke program.
“For us, the weight room is the biggest thing we do in the summer,” said returning all-state player Simon Otte. “Everyone is in there working hard, lifting hard and doing things to get stronger and faster.”
York’s relationship with NOVA was a by-product of Snodgrass working with Dave King during his time in Overton where he turned the Eagles into an 8-man power. King and NOVA partner with nearly 160 high schools in Nebraska.
King said he’ll work with Snodgrass, who oversees the school’s eight weight training classes and strength and conditioning program, at least twice a year to maximize the Dukes space.
“I remember when Coach got the job, he called me and said, ‘We need a functional cable crossover machine,’” King said. “We had got them one in Overton and set them up in York and it’s been a good partnership ever since.”
Recently, the partnership has yielded new lifting platforms, a turf run in the Dukes wrestling room and a Woodway treadmill for speed development.
“The Woodway treadmill is really used for developing speed,” King said. “It’s next level equipment for a school like York. It’s being used right now in nearly 75% of NCAA Division I weight rooms.”
It’s a partnership that Snodgrass hopes will help the Dukes continue their success in 2017 as they return seven defensive and six offensive starters from a 7-3 team that lost twice to Aurora and to state champion Elkhorn South.
At the top of his list of senior returners are Otte, a dynamic two-way player who rushed for over 1,200 yards and had 120 tackles last year, and Nebraska commit Masry Mapieu.
Their coach gushes about the possibilities.
“Simon is probably one of the top players in the class both ways,” his coach said. “And Masry can really be a dominant two gap player for us in our 3-4. He’s in great shape and has dropped 10-15 pounds.”
In addition, Tyler Cast (led Class B in interceptions in 2016), and two-way starters Garrett Snodgrass (the coach’s son) and Brady Danielson return for the Dukes.
“A lot of people want to talk about Masry and Simon and Garrett, I think,” the coach said, “but Tyler and Brady are just as good as any of them. They both have potential to play at the next level.”
But in York this year, as in the past, the weight room will have been the center of any success on the field. And, maybe more importantly, for team building.
“We are in there five days a week all year long,” Garrett Snodgrass said. “It’s great to be in there with your buddies and it’s getting you physically better.
“But want people don’t realize is when you are working hard with your brothers in the weight room, it makes it that much harder to give up when you are on the field together.”