The request came during a practice last week.

"Anthony," West York coach Ron Miller called. "Do the Munsch-walk."

Immediately, senior linebacker Anthony Franklin sprang into action. He perched up on his tip-toes and pranced forward, his knees bowed out. His feet skimmed a few inches off the ground. His arms pumped furiously in mock effort.

Miller howled. So did Franklin's teammates.

And so, too, did the object of Franklin's flattery, Karl Munscher, West York's defensive coordinator and resident emotional spark plug. The Bulldogs longtime assistant is chief architect of one of the area's top defenses. West York's senior-stocked unit has allowed 9.7 points per game this season.

But Munscher is perhaps better known among his players for his livewire intensity -- the seemingly boundless energy that sends him bouncing around the sidelines like a superball.

He's always seeking out a mistake to correct or a player to praise.

Always wearing shorts, no matter how biting the late November chill gets.

Always providing the motivational fuel for a hyper-aggressive defense that, perhaps not surprisingly, matches Munscher's demeanor.

"My belief," he said, "is you got to be intense nonstop."

In return, his players aren't beyond a little good-natured parody. Franklin started doing the Munsch-walk during the summer, in response to the coach's tendency to run after players when he wants to make a point.


Beneath the jokes lies plenty of admiration, both for Munscher's contributions as a coach and a motivator.

"His energy is 100 percent all the time," Franklin said. "On defense, he gets us pumped up. He starts going crazy.

"It's like he's one of the football players on the team."

He once was. Munscher, 43, played at West York, an undersized lineman and linebacker. "I wasn't lighting up the world with my play," Munscher said. "But I brought as much as I could."

After he graduated in 1987, Munscher went directly into the Army. After five years in the service, he came back and got into coaching.

He landed at his alma mater. This is his 25th year as a Bulldog.

Munscher's disposition in that time hasn't changed much. Miller laughed when asked about the first time the two met. He was in the parking lot of West York High School, about to be introduced as the Bulldogs coach for the first time. Munscher parked right behind him.

"He basically gave me a bearhug and said 'Let's go,' " Miller said with a laugh. "I was like 'Well, I like this guy already.' "

Munscher's players, it seems, smile immediately when asked about him.

"Sometimes we get annoyed, because he's always yelling," said West York senior linebacker/tailback Brock Snellbaker. "But in the end we love him because he's the one that keeps our energy up and keeps us going."

Munscher said this year's group has been one of his favorites to work with. At one point this season, West York's first-team defense went five games without allowing a touchdown. Eleven different Bulldogs players have a sack this season.

"Our philosophy has always been an attack-style defense," Munscher said. "It's always been we don't sit back."

That group will face one of its biggest challenges of the season tonight. Since the team's first meeting in Week 3 -- a 21-17 West York win -- Spring Grove has averaged 32.9 points per game. The Rockets also have topped 40 points in a contest four times in that span.

"The main thing is we need to look at all sides and all elements of what they're giving us," Munscher said. "Their quarterback is solid. He can throw the ball. Their line, they get off the ball into the first or second level.

"They just don't stop. They're well-balanced across the board."

@johnsclayton; 771-2045