YORK — Buddy Anderson, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 140-pound placekicker for the York Comprehensive High School football team, split the uprights from 52 yards during pregame warm-ups on the Boiling Springs turf.
Anderson, whose boyish demeanor bears a likeness to Tobey Maguire of “Spider-Man” fame, informed head coach Bobby Carroll of his successful boot from 50-plus yards as he trotted off the field.
“That’s OK, but you didn’t have players in your face in a pressure situation,” said Carroll.
Later in the evening, with host Boiling Springs clinging to a 45-43 lead and three ticks left on the scoreboard clock, Anderson was called on to attempt a 32-yard field goal that would decide the outcome once and for all.
Just as Anderson lined up for the field goal attempt, Boiling Springs head coach Rick Tate called a timeout as a means of icing the kicker.
Anderson ignored the pressure tactic, booming the kick through the uprights with distance to spare for the game winner in a 46-45 thriller.
“It was indescribable,” Anderson said of the postgame exuberance. “I wanted to make sure I had the distance, he said.
“I couldn’t breathe under the pile,” added the YCHS kicker with a wide grin.
He made a believer out of his head coach.
“It was a great kick,” Carroll said after the game. “He had ice in his veins. They tried to ice him with a timeout and he drilled it.”
Boiling Springs scored a touchdown with 1:46 left in the game, staking the home team to a 45-43 lead.
The Cougars responded to the challenge, mounting a 62-yard drive, culminating with Anderson’s winning kick.
Starting quarterback DeShaw Andrews went down with a leg cramp and was replaced by senior signal-caller Jerome Pettiway, who kept the drive alive with the game on the line.
Andrews and Pettiway have been rotating at quarterback, each supportive of the other.
“I went up to Jerome after the game and said, ‘thank you,’” said Andrews.
Carroll said the mutual respect between the two quarterbacks has a positive impact on the team.
“Coach Moore spoke of service over selfishness prior to our Thursday meal prepared by members of the York Touchdown Club,” he said. “DeShaw and Jerome are prime examples of what coach Moore talked about. They each want what’s best for the team. Our offensive coordinator, Knox Baggett, teaches that.”
With 26.3 seconds left in the game and the ball at the Boiling Springs 32, Kyron Schrouder hauled in a pass reception from Pettiway and weaved his way through would-be tacklers to the 20, setting the table for Anderson’s heroics.
Trailing 26-13 at the half, the Cougars responded in a huge way, with Ryan Moore penetrating the end zone from inside the five. Andrews’ pass to Antonio Davidson was good for the two-point conversion, slicing the lead to 26-21 .
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Cougars moved down the field swiftly, with wide receiver Daurice Simpson leading the way.
Andrews’ 54-yard touchdown toss to the elusive wideout was a thing of beauty. Simpson made a leaping catch with a Boiling Springs defender in his face and outran the coverage for the score.
The junior wide receiver made another acrobatic catch for the two-point conversion, pushing the Cougars ahead for the first time at 29-26.
“I have confidence I can make the catch in a crowd,” Simpson said after the game. “We never gave up. That was the key.”
With Boiling Springs quarterback Daniel Thompson having a big game, the Bulldogs regained the lead.
Senior running back Ryan Moore was elated with the outcome. “Buddy made a great kick for the win,” he said.
Moore said the Cougars’ explosive offense is a difference-maker. “We have so many weapons, teams can’t stop us,” he said. “The only thing that can stop us is ourselves.”
Carroll lauded the Cougars for the big road win.
“I want our fans to know that giving up 45 points is not York football,” he said. “We have a lot of inexperience on defense, but I am proud of our kids. They responded with the game on the line.”