Fort Mill High School won a crucial Region IV-AAA game against the York Comprehensive High Cougars 28-20 Friday night.
York just picked up its second win of the year recently, because of the Rock Hill High forfeit due to an ineligible player used by the Bearcats. York’s only other win of the season came against Lewisville High School.
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However, that second win didn’t give them much momentum coming into Bob Jones Stadium, where it was Senior Night for the Jackets.
“We are getting there,” said Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi. “It’s a far cry from where we are at. It’s a big win for us.”
It didn’t start that well. Fort Mill drew two big penalties on its first drive and was forced to punt.
York took its first drive and moved the ball going 87 yards on seven plays to score. Things went well for York on that first drive as they recovered their own fumble at Fort Mill’s 24-yard line and senior Tony Thomasson ran it in to put the Cougars up.
Fort Mill’s offense struggle early as it was forced to punt again on the second possession of the game. The Jackets’ defense did better the second time around, though, forcing York to punt and giving Fort Mill the ball near the 50-yard line.
The Jackets were finally able to put things together on a nine-play, 48-yard drive on which junior quarterback Preston Fry found senior Tyler Klipa for the 13-yard touchdown to tie the game.
The Jackets’ defense struggled stopping the pass on York’s next series as sophomore quarterback Spencer Carroll looked like Tom Brady at times, completing pass after pass for three straight first downs. Carroll completed six of seven passes on an 11-play scoring drive in the second quarter. Sophomore CJ Pendergrass ran the ball in from 36-yards out to put York back on top.
Offensively, Fort Mill didn’t look as crisp as it has in the past this season. Still, the Jackets were able to chip away at the York defense to score after taking advantage of some costly Cougar penalties.
Fort Mill moved the ball down the field on a 10-play, 76-yard drive to pick up five first downs and take off time from the clock. Fry hit senior Trent Butler over the middle on an 18-yard touchdown pass.
York made a big effort to score before the end of the first half as it went 80-yards and was stopped a yard short of the end zone as time expired.
The Cougars took the opening kickoff in the second half and rushed the ball down the field on an 11-play drive, all running, before sophomore Lee Wright ran the ball in from three-yards out. York missed the extra point, which proved costly later on. Wright had a big 34-yard run to get in the red zone, as Fort Mill continued to struggle tackling on defense.
“Sometimes we don’t put ourselves in a good position to tackle,” Susi said. “We don’t finish.”
Like they had all game, the Jackets came back down the field to tie the game and take the lead on a nine-yard run by senior Asa Kryst. The score was set up by a 27-yard pass from Fry to Butler, which put the Jackets into scoring position.
Fort Mill’s defense, which was on a roller coaster ride all game with up and down struggles, forced the Cougars to punt.
The stop didn’t help Fort Mill as Fry was picked off by Pendergrass around the York 15-yard line.
York had one more true shot to score in the fourth quarter with about 6:30 left in the game. Fort Mill once again stopped York on defense and got the ball back with about 2:30 left.
Fort Mill sealed the win with Gregory’s interception return with about 16 seconds left in the game.