YORK — Riding the momentum of an unbeaten non-region slate of games, including Friday’s 57-12 conquest of Keenan, the York Comprehensive High School football team is ready for the season that really counts.
The Cougars — who are ranked in the Top 10 in at least one South Carolina high school poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press Writers’ Poll — step into Region 3-AAAA play when the Rock Hill Bearcats visit the YCHS stadium Friday night.
Kickoff time is set for 7:30 p.m. for the renewal of the county rivalry.
“Region play represents a new season,” said head football coach Bobby Carroll. “It’s also a new season for the Rock Hill Bearcats — a much-improved team that will be ready to play Friday night. The region opener is big for both teams.”
While the Cougars were defeating Kennan, the Bearcats extended highly-regarded Boiling Springs to the fourth quarter, with the Bulldogs hanging on for a 28-13 win.
Though he is pleased with the Cougars’ win over Keenan, Carroll was less pleased with the team’s mindset in the early stages of the game.
“I could tell in the pregame we weren’t mentally ready,” he said. “Keenan is a small 2A school, but they have good players. Keenan marched down the field on its first possession, taking a lot of time off the clock, but our defense kept them out of the end zone.”
While Carroll wasn’t expecting Kennan to sustain a long drive on its first possession, he lauded the Cougars for answering the call. “Our kids responded after Kennan’s first drive and we got the offense going,” he said. “Our defense played better. They gave up two big plays.”
With the offense clicking on all cylinders and a solid kicking game in place, Carroll is glad to see the defense making strides.
Senior defensive end Lawrence Adams has been a huge presence on the defensive side of the ball, including the Kennan game.
“Pressuring the quarterback is what a defensive end is supposed to do,” said Adams. “Tackling the quarterback for a loss is an awesome feeling. With region play here, we have to be ready to meet the challenge every week.”
Carroll spoke in glowing terms of the play of quarterback DeShaw Andrews and running back Ryan Moore.
Andrews captivated the spectators, completing 11 of 18 passes for 273 yards and six touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Moore had another productive game at running back, but it was a short pass from Andrews that he turned into a highlight reel.
After gathering in the reception amid multiple Keenan defenders, Moore eluded would-be tacklers and outran the secondary 79 yards to pay dirt.
Moore also had a 40-yard touchdown sprint from scrimmage.
“We have a great offense led by DeShaw at quarterback and quality receivers,” Moore said. “Our passing game and offensive line play open up the run.”
Moore is aware there are always things to fix on both sides of the ball. He also believes the Cougars are in a position to make a memorable run in the region and playoffs.
“It’s all about having the proper mindset and team unity every week,” he said.
Rounding out the scoring for the Cougars in the Keenan game, Andrews had two scoring tosses to Kyron Schrouder, one for 23 yards and the other an eight-yarder.
The junior quarterback also had two scoring completions to Markel Castle, including a 49-yard touchdown toss to Castle following a Tawaun Neely interception.
Mitchell Trotter had a 25-yard interception return for the Cougars.