YORK — Riding the momentum of a 42-3 conquest of defending Division II state champ Greenwood, the York Comprehensive High School football team travels to No. 1 ranked Northwestern Friday.
The second-round playoff showdown starts at 7:30 p.m. at Rock Hill’s 10,0000-seat District Three Stadium.
The Trojans prevailed 45-15 against the Cougars in the regular season.
“Coach Moose Wallace built the tradition at Northwestern, and I coached there 22 years,” said YCHS head football coach Bobby Carroll. “Northwestern continues to roll. They never have a bad team. Coach Kyle Richardson is doing an outstanding job.”
Northwestern won 52-22 Friday against No. 15 seed West Florence at District Three.
In so doing, the Trojans recorded playoff win No. 12 in succession at home, a streak that dates to 2007.
While the Trojans were eliminating West Florence, the Cougars were shellacking the team that defeated Northwestern in last year’s state title game.
Running back Ryan Moore, a North-South All-Star selection this season, got things started with an eight-yard touchdown run in the early moments of the second quarter.
Moore, who carried the pigskin 20 times for 135 yards, outmaneuvered several defenders before penetrating the end zone.
The Cougars struck again with Moore finding the end zone with 2:21 left in the quarter. Key plays in the drive included two first-down Deshaw Andrews aerials to Kyron Schrouder and another to wideout Josh McCoy.
Moore’s 29-yard TD scamper put the Cougars ahead 14-3.
“We got the offense going again,” Moore said after the game. “When we combine the run and pass and have a balanced offense, we are difficult to stop. Our defense played great.”
Later, senior stalwart Chance Kelly, who was a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball for much of the game, forced a Greenwood punt with 54.6 seconds left in the second quarter.
With the Cougars in possession at their own 30, Andrews released the ball to senior wide receiver Markel Castle, whose touchdown toss to Daurice Simpson covered 70 yards and sent the Cougars to the locker room with a 21-3 advantage and plenty of momentum.
“I knew Daurice was open and laid the ball out there,” Castle said. “I have confidence making that throw.”
Simpson, who dazzled the rain-soaked crowd with nifty punt returns, including a 54-yard scoring jaunt, said Castle’s scoring bomb was on the money.
“He made a great throw,” said the fleet-footed junior.
Regarding his game-changing punt returns, Simpson said he paused to see the blocking develop, then picked a lane. “You have to go with your instincts,” he said.
Rounding out the scoring for the Cougars was a six-yard TD run by Moore and backup quarterback Jerome Pettiway’s 34-yard TD toss to Schrouder.
With the ground game clicking, the Cougars amassed 237 passing yards.
“The Clover game helped us prepare for Greenwood,” Carroll said.
Carroll was pleased with an offensive unit that balanced the run and pass, and lauded the defensive effort.
Moore’s take on Friday’s challenge: “We need to ride the momentum of a big win over Greenwood and have the right mindset. Northwestern is a great team, but they are not unbeatable.”