YORK — Folks might have thought Bobby Carroll was crazy when he left South Pointe High School to become the head football coach at York Comprehensive before the 2011 season.
But Carroll found family at York, literally and figuratively. His son, quarterback Spencer Carroll, is at the school, as are a number of assistant coaches who played for Carroll, offering a familial environment.
Carroll silenced his doubters by producing the same kind of lengthy playoff run that he was accustomed to at South Pointe, the kind thatd nearly been forgotten at York.
Success has followed Carroll like a faithful dog throughout his coaching career. Last year, he inherited a Cougars squad that had fallen on hard times, going 13-31 from 2007 to 2010. He turned that around instantly, helping York to a 10-4 record and a spot in the Upper State championship game. Carrolls former South Pointe club defeated York 38-15, but 2011 was still the Cougars first winning season since 2006 under athletic director Steve Boyd.
It sounds simple, but having a plan was essential to Carrolls instant turnaround. Thats something he learned from coach Jimmy Wallace, who Carroll assisted for 18 years at Northwestern.
One thing about him, he always had a plan and it was well structured, Carroll said about his mentor. The big thing is we have a plan on what we want to do and where we want to go.
We cant recruit players and we cant go out and hocus pocus a Jadeveon Clowney or a Jonathan Worley or a Chris Hope. But you just take the cards youre dealt and work them as hard as you can. I think the difference is we have a plan, a good strong plan, he said.
York returns plenty of talent and varsity lettermen from last years team.
Spencer Carroll will be a senior quarterback and should prove a calming force in crucial offensive moments.
The Cougars boast a talented and aggressive linebacking corps Lee Wright, Ty Currence and Rominique Mobley that should be one of the squads real strong points. Wright doubles as a running back, while Mobley, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound tackling torpedo, is drawing recruiting attention from East Carolina and a host of ACC schools, Clemson among them.
Wright said theres no way teams will run against the Cougars front seven. Beau Nunn is an ox up front (on both sides of the ball).
Ryan Moore and Chad Hill should add depth to the Cougars secondary.
York has 27 seniors. Many have been starting since they were sophomores. That makes for an experienced group eager to prove last season was no stroke of luck.
Last year was last year. This year were definitely ready to go farther. said Wright. We all know what losing feels like, and no one likes to lose.
Many schools might have been intimidated at moving up to Class AAAA and a stacked Region 3. The Cougars played six of their seven region opponents last season Lancaster the exception and went 3-4.
A, AA, AAA, AAAA, its just an a; its no big deal, Carroll said.
All four of Yorks losses last year came to Rock Hill schools, two to South Pointe.
Not only do the Cougars have a tougher region slate this year, theyve also got a difficult non-region schedule. York opens up on the road against Chester and hosts Boiling Springs, 10-4 last year, a week later, before a see-what-youve-got matchup at Gaffney, 14-1 and a nationally ranked ball club last year.
The Cougars begin region play against Rock Hill High Sept. 21. Games against Northwestern and South Pointe in consecutive weeks in October should reveal how well Carrolls Cougars stuck to the plan.
Bret McCormick 803-329-4032