York coach Bobby Carroll is back where he belongs.
On Friday, Carroll showed the Cougar faithful a glimpse of where the program might follow. The Gaffney Indians, a perennial Class AAAA powerhouse, beat York 28-6 in the Bank of York Scrimmage, but the Cougars hung tough for the better part of three quarters.
For Carroll, a York graduate who molded South Pointe into a championship team over the last five years, the scrimmage is one of many steps in changing his alma mater's culture. The Cougars are seeking their first winning season since 2006.
"The community is whole-heartedly behind the program and rightfully so," Carroll said. "When you're a York boy, you're a York boy for life. This is a one-school town that wants its football team to do well."
The explosive Indians are already there. Gaffney quarterback Joey Copeland engineered a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive on the opening possession, capped by C.J. Miller's four-yard scoring run.
The Indians threatened again after intercepting York quarterback Spencer Carroll's first pass, but York safety Corey Dover returned the favor with a goal-line interception of his own two plays later.
The Indians, however, picked off a tipped pass, which Copeland later parlayed into a 19-yard touchdown scramble for a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
"My assistants and I have coached against Gaffney for 30 years," Bobby Carroll said. "They are a town with a tradition, and you have to respect it. Like (former Northwestern coach Jimmy) Wallace used to say, 'the best way to get better is to play the better teams.' "
The Cougars played better -- and even -- with the Indians in a scoreless second quarter. Andre Foulks stalled a Gaffney second-quarter drive with a sack, and Dover forced a fumble on the next possession. Lee Wright helped control the clock with tough running between the tackles.
York took the momentum into the third quarter, and the Cougars needed just three plays to cut the lead to 14-6. Spencer Carroll found a wide-open Lamin Yansaneh on a corner route for a 43-yard touchdown pass.
The Cougars open regular-season action at Lewisville on Aug. 19.