Not “Dashaw,” “Deshawn,” or any of the other myriad misspellings that Deshaw Andrews’ name suffers. Correct spelling is important because Andrews’ is a name to remember.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound York junior quarterback has thrown for 11 touchdowns and just one interception in three games since he took control as the Cougars’ starting quarterback. Andrews grappled with Jerome Pettiway for the starting role in the offseason, but with the help of a solid offensive line and considerable talent at the skill positions, the junior has thrived as Bobby Carroll’s primary quarterback.
“I think if he would’ve known the offense a little better last year he would’ve got more reps with the varsity,” Carroll said. “Deshaw understands that now. He’s really come on and made some good plays. I think he’d be the first to tell you there is plenty of room for improvement but we’re proud of him and proud of the way he’s played.”
Andrews’ emergence has been critical for a 4-0 York team that’s ranked No. 9 in the state’s Class AAAA. Last year’s starter, Spencer Carroll, graduated, but it was the graduation of nine defensive starters, six of whom now play college, that really decimated the squad. Bobby Carroll said his 2012 team fed off the defense, which shut out four opponents and held 11 of 13 to 20 points or less. The Cougars won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
But they’ve already given up 96 points through four games this fall, a threshold they didn’t reach until the ninth game of the 2012 season. York had to find a new way to eat. A lit firecracker of an offense has compensated so far in 2013, with Andrews steadying any struggles that might have developed out of Spencer Carroll’s graduation, and a third new offensive coordinator in as many years.
“We’ve got a mobile quarterback now that can throw on the run,” said senior receiver Markel Castle. “It really gives more opportunities for everybody. It’s opened up the offense and the playbook for us.”
Andrews has three veteran receiving targets – Josh McCoy, Daurice Simpson and Castle – each with over 21 catches through four games, while senior running back Ryan Moore is the third leading rusher in The Herald’s coverage area with 384 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 87 carries. Only Simpson is a junior; the rest are seniors.
“I think we were kind of underrated last year,” Castle said. “Nobody really paid attention to us because of the defense, but we have four guys that can catch and score any time. It’s hard to cover us, I’d say.”
It also doesn’t hurt to have two offensive linemen the size of oak bookshelves you might find in an Ivy League library. Tackles Josh Moss and Shuler Littleton both measure right around 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, and have made Andrews’ gig easier.
“We’ve got a good offensive line,” said Andrews. “I talk to them every game and tell them it starts with them, and I’m just gonna follow behind them.”
He’s done that to good effect this season. Andrews’ size has given the Cougars an extra dimension, especially in short yardage and goal line situations. He’s scored three rushing TDs this season and when combined with Moore, gives York strength between the tackles to go with the dynamism on the edge.
Andrews said people have told him his whole life how big he is, and he’s just now starting to get used to it. That size helped him on the basketball court where he was an all-area honorable mention performer for the Cougars last winter. Hooping has improved his ability to move on the gridiron.
“Some people think he’s not that fast, but he’s real fast,” McCoy said. “He can make space and plays with the speed he’s got.”
The big junior isn’t ready to focus on one sport or the other, saying, “I ain’t gonna make my mind up yet until it’s time for me to graduate.” That decision will likely have to be made. York’s coach thinks Andrews has a college future on the football field, if he’s interested.
“There’s no doubt about it, as long as he’s got the academics,” Carroll said. “They’ll like him because of his height, his athleticism and the things that he can do with the football. He’s already got colleges, there’s several that call and ask about him all the time.”
Schools will also be interested in a prospect that’s still in a raw state.
“I lobbed it, and he just read it and made a good play on the ball,” Andrews said.
But as Carroll points out, “Think about it, he’s only played four varsity football games.”
Carroll said Andrews and most quarterbacks work on throwing and footwork mechanics from December to May, while the rest of the year is spent focusing on mental sharpening and actual execution. The execution has been pretty good thus far this fall; with Andrews solely at the helm, York is averaging 46 points per game, a boon to a team still hardening defensively.
“We knew coming into this thing that we’d be able to count on our offense early and hopefully our defense is gonna get better and better,” Carroll said.
A defense without Lee Wright, Rominique Mobley and Beau Nunn will keep working to catch up with an offense that produces.
Andrews – reminder, it’s D-E-S-H-A-W – said the team’s mantra is “We work Monday through Thursday and get money on Friday.” A 4-0 start has been York’s payoff so far.
Bret McCormick • 329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T