With three consecutive 10-win seasons and frequent appearances in the state 4A top-10 polls, the York Comprehensive High School football team is in reload mode as preseason practice shifts into full swing.
“Our kids had an active summer and were ready to go today,” head coach Bobby Carroll said after the team’s initial preseason practice Friday at the YCHS stadium.
“They spent five days a week in the weight room for eight weeks during the summer,” Carroll said. “This was in addition to the 7-on-7 competition.
“The kids have been lifting and running and are ready for the preseason challenge.”
Carroll said he likes what he hears in the community as the season draws near.
“There’s a buzz going around the community about York football,” he said. “We’ve had success the last three years.
“Our goal every year is to compete for a championship.”
Carroll said preseason scrimmages will challenge the Cougars, including the annual Bank of York Scrimmage slated for 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 at the YCHS stadium.
“Spartanburg is supposed to have the best running back in the state,” he said.
Previous scrimmages on the road include Saturday, Aug. 9 at Laurens and Tuesday, Aug. 12 at Ridge View, both slated for 10 a.m.
Senior quarterback DeShaw Andrews said all of the Cougar players are upbeat about the coming season.
“Our defense is improving,” said DeShaw, who is expected to compete for region honors this season.
“Buddy Anderson is a weapon with his placekicking,” Andrews said. “He’s booting the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs.”
Andrews said players are looking for an exciting season.
“It’s a matter of everything (offense, defense, kicking game) coming together to meet our goals,” he said.
Travis White, the team’s left guard along the offensive front and backup center, looks for the Cougars to be strong in the trenches.
“We have five guys show up everyday ready to play,” White said of the Cougars’ offensive front. “We want to protect our quarterback every play of every game.”
The day before the Aug. 1 opening practice session, Carroll addressed several hundred assembled in the YCHS cafeteria for the Players/Parents Cookout.
He issued a special thank you to York Touchdown Club members for their contributions to the Cougar football program and encouraged those in attendance to support the touchdown club and the YCHS Athletic Booster Club.
Carroll’s advice to the parents of Cougar football players was, “Tell your son to drink plenty of water everyday. We’ve got to keep the players hydrated day and night.”
Emphasizing the mindset required to reach the team’s ultimate goal, Carroll said the recurring theme visible in large letters in the main hallway of the field house is “Do your job.”
He reminded parents that football practices are never canceled.
“We practice regardless of weather conditions,” he said. “We will go indoors, if necessary, and study film.”
He also told the players to refrain from sharing information about the Cougar football program through social media.
The team will practice from 9 to 11:30 a.m., shifting to 4 p.m. after the Aug. 12 scrimmage at Ridge View.
The Cougars open the 2014 season Friday, Aug. 22 at home against the Sumter Gamecocks, then travel to Irmo Aug. 29. A Sept. 5 home game with South Pointe is next.
Following a road game at Chester Sept. 12 and home game against Boiling Springs Sept. 19, the Cougars open Region 3-AAAA play at Rock Hill Sept. 26.
All games start at 7:30 p.m.