“Saturday Night Live” is coming to York, much to the delight of Cougars football fans.
The seventh annual Bank of York Preseason Scrimmage, held Friday nights in the past, has shifted gears for this year’s event.
The preseason scrimmage including four 12-minute quarters will be 7 p.m. Saturday at the York Comprehensive High School stadium. The gates will open at 5:15 p.m.
YCHS head football coach Bobby Carroll said that changing the annual fan favorite from Friday to Saturday was to accommodate this year’s visiting Spartanburg Vikings.
“Spartanburg has a previous commitment Thursday,” said Carroll. “It suited the Vikings better to compete in the Bank of York event Saturday, which allows them an extra day to prepare to face our team.”
Carroll said the Cougars need a game-type scrimmage before beginning regular-season play at home Aug. 22 against the Sumter Gamecocks.
“Spartanburg will be a big test for us,” Carroll said. “They have a proud football tradition and have won state championships. The Vikings have one of the best running backs in the state.”
Spartanburg was in a reloading mode last season, finishing 6-6 after a demanding schedule. The Vikings averaged 34.6 points per game last year and raised more than a few eyebrows when they defeated perennial power South Pointe 20-9.
Spartanburg won games with other tradition-rich teams, including Greenwood 37-20 and Laurens 19-12.
The Vikings steamrolled Union County 51-21 and Wade Hampton 54-8 before shutting down Riverside 48-0.
Among Spartanburg’s toughest opponents this season are the Byrnes Rebels, Boiling Springs and Eastern Christian Academy of Elkton, Md.
The Vikings play in a strong region familiar to Cougars fans. In addition to Spartanburg, the teams include Boiling Springs, Wade Hampton, Byrnes, Dorman, Mann, Mauldin and Riverside.
Carroll thanked Bank of York for its sponsorship. “We appreciate the Bank of York’s support of Cougar football,” he said.
YCHS Athletic Director Steve Boyd said that “The Bank of York has supported York football and the athletic department for many years.”
Grier Sandifer, Bank of York’s vice-president/commercial relationship manager, said he feels good about the Saturday night matchup. “We think it will work out well, and look for another big crowd,” said Sandifer. “Playing on Saturday will give us an extra day to prepare.”
“It should be a good game,” he said. “York has another good team and Spartanburg has some Division 1 players.”
Sandifer said Bank of York has “had a lot of fun through the years, supporting the football team and the athletic department.”
“We take pride in being a hometown bank that reaches out to the community.”
Carroll said he looks forward to Saturday’s game experience. “We’ve been pleased with the commitment the Cougar players have shown throughout the offseason and preseason,” he said. “All we ask for is effort. We know every kid doesn’t have the same skill level.”
Carroll said the Cougars will end morning practices Aug. 20, coinciding with the first day of the 2014-15 school year.
“We will begin practices at 4 p.m. once schools reopen,” he said.
The Cougars begin regular-season play Aug. 22, hosting Sumter 7 p.m. Next will be a trip to Irmo, followed by another marquee game at home against the South Pointe Stallions.
After a trip to Chester to battle a longtime rival, it’s back home Sept. 19 to face another formidable opponent, the Boiling Springs Bulldogs.
The Cougars will begin Region 3-AAAA play Sept. 26 at Rock Hill’s District Three Stadium, where the Bearcats will be the host.
The York team closes out the regular season Nov. 7 by hosting Clover.
All games are scheduled to begin 7:30 p.m.