YORK — For the second consecutive week, the York Comprehensive High School football team faced a Class AAA powerhouse. And for the second straight Friday night, the Cougars were equal to the challenge, defeating highly-regarded teams on the school’s NFL-like turf.
In Friday’s game with No. 5-rated Chester Cyclones, the Cougars built an early lead and held on down the stretch for a 19-7 win.
A week earlier, facing a Union County team riding the momentum of a state championship appearance in 2012, the Cougars prevailed 36-27 in the Aug. 16 annual Bank of York Preseason Scrimmage.
Though pleased with the first win, head coach Bobby Carroll said he saw room for improvement. “We did some things really well against Union County,” he said. “I also thought both teams played sloppy at times.”
While Carroll is still looking for improvement, he was pleased with the Chester game.
“Chester ran 78 plays and we held them to seven points,” he said of the Cougars’ gritty defensive effort. “That’s pretty good.”
The Cougars scored twice in the second quarter, expanding the lead to 13-0.
After a partially blocked punt, the Cougars marched down the field in five running plays, culminating with quarterback Jerome Pettiway’s 1-yard sneak.
The Cougars regained possession after an interception by junior defensive back Patch Edwards.
Later, on fourth down, the Cougars went for it and wide receiver Daurice Simpson hauled in Pettiway’s 16-yard toss to put the YCHS team up 13-0.
The Cyclones answered with a 13-play drive off the power alignment as Lorenzo White penetrated the end zone from nine yards out for Chester’s lone score.
A 35-yard punt return by Simpson put the Cougars at the Chester 17.
From there, bullish running back Ryan Moore, carried players with him to the 2-yard-line. Moore found the end zone on third down for the final score of the game.
The dynamic Cougar ball carrier, running behind a stout offensive line, pounded the Cyclone defense for 128 rushing yards.
The Cougars are continuing an offensive ploy of rotating quarterbacks to move the chains.
“We have reliable backups at several positions — quarterback, running back, offensive line,” Carroll said after the game. “We’ll go with who has the hot hand.”
Pettiway, a senior who is gaining confidence, said he feels good about the quarterback rotation with junior signal-caller DeShaw Andrews.
“I feel honored to step up and quarterback the team after a three-year starter,” Pettiway said of former quarterback Spencer Carroll, who is preparing for a quarterback role at Limestone College.
“We can both get the job done,” Pettiway said. “We both have strong arms. As a team, we need we need to keep working to improve and to do away with the penalties.”
Simpson feels the Cougars will continue to surprise teams this year. “We seem to be the underdogs and will continue to work hard to prove others wrong,” he said.
Carroll is looking for the Cougars to eliminate penalties and would prefer more success in the red zone. “With the receivers and skill players we have, we need better results in the red zone,” he said.
Looking ahead, Carroll hopes the Cougars can reap the benefits of Friday’s open date. “We’ll have an extra week to devote to the phases of the game that need improvement,” he said. “It’s all about the fundamentals of the game.”
York will travel to Boiling Springs Sept. 6 for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs have advanced to the playoffs in recent years.
The Cougars begin a four-game home stand Sept. 13 when the defending state champion Gaffney Indians come to town.
The next three home opponents will include Keenan on Sept. 20, the Rock Hill Bearcats on Sept. 27 and Fort Mill in an Oct. 4 homecoming clash.