YORK — Blue Ridge quarterback senior Caleb Rowe is committed to play at Maryland next year.
The York Cougars tried to knock him all the way to his next destination Friday. York sacked Rowe nine times, including a second-quarter sequence that featured five sacks in five plays.
That effort helped the Cougars to a 44-34 win against the Tigers in Class AAA first-round playoff action. York (8-3) won its first postseason game since 2006 and advances to face Wade Hampton (9-2) next Friday.
"We're 8-3 and we got to keep rolling," York coach Bobby Carroll said. "We need to be firing on all eight cylinders - on all 75 cylinders - next week.
"I'm proud of our kids, proud of our coaches and proud of our fans. That's one of the most explosive offenses we've seen."
The Cougars did their part in stopping Blue Ridge (8-3) early. York recovered two fumbles, took advantage of two bad punt snaps and added an interception to build a 25-13 half-time lead. Of course, that included seven first-half sacks.
"It was a team effort," defensive tackle Andre Foulks said. "We were able to get pressure from the inside and from the outside and get sacks."
Foulks recovered one fumble and caused another on a strip sack. Lee Wright capitalized with a pair of short touchdown runs. Wright finished with 38 carries for a game-high 202 yards.
The Tigers' adventures in punting led to a safety, and York quarterback Spencer Carroll connected with Josh McCoy for a 25-yard TD on the ensuing possession. Blue Ridge shanked another punt, which Matt Bostic parlayed into a 30-yard field goal with 7:04 left in the half.
The Tigers cut the lead to 25-13 before intermission courtesy of a 62-yard interception return by Brandon Bowen.
York opened the second half with a 10-play, 80-yard drive which Wright finished with a 27-yard TD. Rowe answered with a 27-yard TD pass to Tyshawn Richardson.
Foulks and Corey Dover combined for York's second safety with 3:03 left in the third to push the margin back to 34-20, and Dover added a 26-yard TD run in the final minute of the third period.
Rowe guided two TD drives to the lead to 41-34 with 6:43 left.
Blue Ridge had the ball with a chance to tie, but York forced a three-and-out. Matt Bostic clinched the win with a 37-yard field goal with 1:44 left.
"We have to work on closing games at the end," Dover said.
YORK 44, BLUE RIDGE 34
Y-Lee Wright 2 run (Matt Bostic kick)
BR-Tyshawn Richardson 2 run (Kick failed)
Y-Spencer Carroll 25 pass to Josh McCoy (Bostic kick)
Y-Wright 1 run (Kick failed)
Y-Bostic 29 field goal
BR-Brandon Bowen 52 interception return (Nathan Greene kick)
Y-Wright 27 run (Bostic kick)
BR-Caleb Rowe 27 pass to Richardson (Greene kick)
Y-Corey Dover 26 run (Bostic kick)
BR-Richardson 1 run (Greene kick)
BR-Rowe 36 pass to Bryton Griffin (Greene kick)
Y-Bostic 37 field goal
RUSHING -- BLUE RIDGE: Mikal Robinson 7-34, Richardson 8-23, Rowe 13-4, Team 1-(-39). YORK: Wright 38-202, C.J. Pendergrass 2-19, Dover 2-37, Carroll 8-36, Mark Mobley 4-14.
PASSING -- BLUE RIDGE: Rowe 18-35-1, 216 yards. YORK: Carroll 14-22-1, 123 yards.
RECEIVING -- BLUE RIDGE: Bryton Griffin 7-93, Jake Lancaster 1-22, Rud Yearick 1-8, Brennen Griffin 3-13, Martin Harbin 4-38. YORK: Wright 1-15, Reggie McClain 6-61, McCoy 3-44, Rodrik Simpson 2-(-3), Markel Castle 1-1, Qua Moore 1-5.
RECORDS: Blue Ridge 8-3, York 8-3.