Two defensive touchdowns were the difference for York, as the Cougars dropped South Pointe from the narrowing ranks of the unbeaten with a 31-17 loss Friday night.
Lee Wright had a pair of interceptions for York (8-2 overall, 4-2 in Region 3), including one that he returned for a touchdown, and the Cougars were able to snap a two-game losing streak, giving coach Bobby Carroll a win against the school whose program he built South Pointe (9-1, 5-1).
They knew we could play with them, said Carroll about his squad. And if youre trying to resurrect a program thats the thing, is just confidence. And they were confident that we could play with the No. 2 team in the state and the defending state champions.
York knows a thing about losing an undefeated season after starting 7-0 and falling the previous two weeks in close games to Nation Ford and Northwestern. But the Cougars tightened their circle Friday night at District Three South Stadium to remind the state that any Carroll-coached team is a threat.
Let me tell you something, he declared afterward, were two penalties away from being 10-0. Tonight, the penalty bug didnt bite us. We played great defense, and our offense came through when it had to. This is a good win, this is a step in the way we wanted our program to go.
Devin Pearson was making his first start at quarterback for the Stallions since breaking a bone in his left hand against Northwestern nearly a month ago, and the rust was evident. He completed 9-of-23 passes for 102 yards, but threw two costly picks, while the Cougar defense had him scrambling and scurrying in the South Pointe backfield for the majority of the contest. York quarterback Spencer Carroll wasnt exempt from the pressure either; Zeek Rodney sacked him three times part of South Pointes seven sacks but the junior QB was still able to come up with the goods, completing 26-of-38 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps most importantly in a game involving two of the states best defenses, Carroll didnt turn the ball over, and the Cougars kept their heads when the game intensity ratcheted up in the second half.
The two games we lost, a lot of it was down to discipline and bad penalties, said York safety Chad Hill. Weve been focusing on that the last two weeks, trying not to talk as much as we do. We accomplished that tonight, and it really showed.
York won the game in the second half, outscoring the home team 17-3, including 14 points in the fourth quarter. A punt and a penalty stuck South Pointe at its own 4-yard line with 9:32 left, and when Pearson came under assault in the end zone, he tried to flip the ball to a nearby receiver. Wright was lying in wait, and he stepped into the balls path, jogging it three yards to the end zone for a 24-14 lead.
The Stallions then put together their best drive of the game, picking up four first downs but sputtering at the York 10-yard line. Logan Ards field goal made it 24-17 with about four minutes left, but South Pointes onside kick, recovered by the Stallions, didnt travel the full 10 yards, giving York possession near midfield. On 3rd and 8, Carroll dumped off a short pass to Hunter Nunn, and the senior receiver ducked a tackle before galloping 48 yards down the sideline for the dagger score that sent Yorks large and vocal traveling support into raptures.
You cant give them touchdowns where they dont have to put the offense on the field, said South Pointe coach Strait Herron after speaking with his team. We werent ready today. Not having school today hurt us, and we had some guys that didnt do what they were supposed to do. We just hadnt been into it all day.
South Pointe held York to negative-17 total yards on the ground, but the Cougars passing game stepped up, spurred by Carrolls calm in the pocket and Markel Castles gluey hands. Castle finished with nine catches for 104 yards, including three grabs for 50 yards on Yorks impressive opening drive. They marched 67 yards in just over three minutes, Josh McCoys catch over the middle giving the visitors a 7-0 lead, after several big catches by Castle.
The whole team saw we could move the ball like that and score, said the younger Carroll. It gave us huge momentum.
South Pointe actually took a 14-7 lead after the opening shock, Josh Brice scoring on a 1-yard run, then zipping through a yawning left side hole for a 60-yard scoring run on the next possession. But York reacted positively, tying the score before halftime on South Pointes first offensive gaffe of the night. A 55-yard punt by Jerome Pettiway pinned the Stallions deep, and when Brice coughed up the rock, Dario Brown only had to fall on it to score a touchdown and tie the game with 4:24 left in the first.
York 31, South Pointe 17
YHS -- Josh McCoy 9 pass from Spencer Carroll (Buddy Anderson kick)
SPHS -- Josh Brice 1 run (Logan Ard kick)
SPHS -- Brice 60 run (Ard kick)
YHS -- Dario Brown 2 fumble return (Anderson kick)
YHS -- Anderson 27 field goal
YHS -- Lee Wright 3 interception return (Anderson kick)
SPHS -- Ard 27 field goal
YHS -- Hunter Nunn 48 pass from Carroll (Anderson kick)
RUSHING YHS: Ryan Moore 24-50; Spencer Carroll 7- -63; Tay McConnell 1-4; Markel Castle 1- -8. SPHS: Josh Brice 8-108; Devin Pearson 20-61; C.J. Pendergrass 11-46.
PASSING YHS: Carroll 26-38-0-2; Castle 0-1. SPHS: Pearson 9-23-2-0.
RECEIVING YHS: Castle 9-104; Tay Neely 2-10; Josh McCoy 2-19; Kyron Schrouder 2-16; Hunter Nunn 3-67; Lamin Yansaneh 2-30; Moore 5-46. SPHS: DeShawn Davis 4-75; P.J. Heat 1-11; Anthony Hall 1-7. Kyle Brandt 2-8; Brice 1-2.
RECORDS YHS 8-2, 4-2; SPHS 9-1, 5-1