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Having disposed of tradition-rich Laurens in impressive fashion, the York Comprehensive High School football team shifts its focus to defending state champion South Pointe.
Seeking to build momentum from last week’s 56-0 conquest of Laurens, the Cougars make the short trek to South Pointe Friday in a marquee second-round playoff attraction slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
It’ll be York’s fourth consecutive game against South Pointe played at South Pointe, with the Stallions prevailing in the regular season game as well as the upper state championship showdown last season.
The Cougars were victorious three weeks ago with a 31-17 win in Stallion Country.
They have a great defensive front led by one of the top prospects in the state,” Cougar head coach Bobby Carroll said in describing South Pointe’s personnel.
“We played them three weeks ago. We know what they do. South Pointe is an outstanding football team but we have to control what we do, take what the defense gives us and play Cougar football.”
Carroll said the return of senior tight end Hunter Nunn has impacted the program.
Nunn suffered a back ailment and has been in physical therapy since last summer.
“Hunter’s return has been a blessing for us,” assured the YCHS coach. “He plays tight end and we use him in the backfield and at wide receiver.”
South Pointe built a 35-7 halftime lead and breezed past Cane Bay in its opening round playoff game, prevailing 45-7 at home.
The Cougars were dominant on both sides of the ball in building a 28-0 first-half lead at Laurens.
Defensive stalwart Rominique Mobley and his teammates set the tone early with defensive penetration from all directions.
Laurens’ run-oriented offensive scheme was stymied by the Cougars’ defensive onslaught.
The home-standing Raiders’ initial first down came with 1:35 left in the second quarter.
“We take pride in playing great defense,” commented Mobley. “I play hard every play. It’s all about mindset and football IQ.”
Said Carroll after the game, “It was a sweet win. The defense played lights out and Spencer was able to spread it around tonight.”
Carroll lauded the Cougar defensive coaches for having the stop troops ready to perform.
“Our defense is geared to stopping passing teams out of the spread formation,” noted the YCHS coach. “Tonight, they had a shutout against a team that relies on the run.”
The Ryan Express was more than the Raiders could handle in the first half, with junior running back Ryan Moore gaining huge chunks of yardage.
“Ryan’s rushing yards in the first half opened up the passing game,” observed Carroll.
Senior quarterback Spencer Carroll, a three-year starter and son of the head coach, made Laurens pay with touchdown passes to four receivers.
Carroll had TD tosses to Tay Neely (from 10 yards), Josh McCoy (46 yards), Markel Castle (27 yards) and Daurice Simpson (4 yards).
Moore scored on a 54-yard run with 7:19 left in the first quarter to put the Cougars ahead to stay.
He also had TD runs of 11 and 3 yards and a two-point conversion.
Mobley scored on a 56-yard interception return and Buddy Anderson made six consecutive PATs after misfiring on the first one.
Quarterback Carroll talked about the emergence of Nunn at tight end.
“Hunter’s worked hard in rehab,” noted Carroll. “He can catch the ball, run with it and pass block. He’s making a difference in the playoffs.”
Nunn admitted to paying the price in rehab since last summer.
“It feels great to be able to contribute to the offense,” he said. “I’m playing with confidence.”
Nunn said the key at South Pointe Friday night is to balance the run and throw.
“If we can combine the passing game with Ryan’s rushing yards, we’ll be OK,” he said.
Carroll said focus is the key word at practice this week.
“We’ll work hard at practice and be ready to go Friday night,” he said.
Coach Carroll said Friday’s York-South Pointe showdown is what high school football is all about.
“The team that makes the fewest mistakes probably will win,” he said. “The cream rises to the top in a big game like this.”