South Pointe High School, ranked No. 2 in the state 3A football poll, will play 4A No. 3 York Comprehensive High School on Friday.
The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the YCHS stadium.
Though South Pointe dropped to 3A classification based on enrollment this school year, the Stallions remain a force in any classification.
While the Cougars were defeating Irmo 27-6 on the road Aug. 29, the Stallions held off Rock Hill, 28-20.
York head football coach Bobby Carroll built the South Pointe program from scratch when the school opened, before returning to his hometown to lead the Cougars.
“South Pointe is a great football team,” Carroll said. “I hired Straight Herron when I was the head coach there. He is a quality coach.”
“South Pointe always has great athletes, and this year is no exception,” Carroll said.
The Stallions bolted to a 21-0 lead in the first half Aug. 29 against the hometown rival Bearcats, beginning with Voshon St. Hill’s fumble recovery on the opening kickoff and junior quarterback Greg Ruff’s six-yard touchdown pass to Shaheem Sanders.
After Marveon Mobley’s timely pass interception, Ruff found teammate Lorenzo Wells open for a 44-yard TD completion and a 14-0 lead.
Frankie Martinez then got into the end zone from five yards out, staking South Pointe to a 21-0 lead.
To their credit, the Bearcats sliced the lead to seven at 21-14 at halftime; but South Pointe held on in the second half, with Ruff’s 19-yard TD pass to Quay Brown sealing the win.
The Cougars ran into an inspired Irmo team on the road; York clung to a 7-6 lead in the first half.
The Cougars’ second-quarter score was the result of a 23-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Deshaw Andrews to wide receiver Kyron Schrouder with 2:51 remaining in the first half.
After a third-quarter blocked punt by junior defensive lineman Deivonne Chalk, the Cougars started a drive at the Irmo 27.
On third down at the Yellow Jackets 14, Andrews heaved the ball to the left corner of the end zone, where Schrouder made the catch to put the Cougars up 14-6 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
“When I see the ball in the air, I go after it,” said Schrouder, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior wide receiver. “I feel like the ball belongs to me. I like being a go-to receiver.”
The acrobatic catch didn’t go unnoticed by Carroll.
“It was a great catch,” Carroll said. “I didn’t think he had a chance to catch a ball that was overthrown.”
The Cougars defense turned back Irmo on its next possession, highlighted by a tackle for a loss on consecutive plays by senior linebacker Luc Greene.
“It felt great getting to our opponent on both plays,” Greene said after the game. “Coach told me to look for the play the first time I got into their backfield.”
“You have to see the play develop and know when to react,” Greene said.
Senior running back Antonio Davidson muscled into the end zone from two yards out to push the Cougars ahead 20-6.
YCHS junior linebacker Jamar Griffin, a 5-foot-8, 180-pounder, gathered in a loose ball and rambled 75 yards for a touchdown to close out the scoring with 1:35 left in the game.
Though Carroll said he was looking for more intensity in the early stages, he praised the Cougars for defeating a good team away from home.
“I don’t know that our kids were ready to play when they took the field tonight,” said Carroll. “I’ll take the blame for that.”
Carroll said the team needs to play with maximum effort every game.
“We’re ranked high in the state and have a target on our back,” he said. “Teams are coming after us.”
Carroll said the Cougars so far have met the challenge of a demanding schedule.
“We’ve played three quality opponents: Spartanburg in the Bank of York Scrimmage, Sumter and Irmo,” he said.
After Friday’s home game against South Pointe, the Cougars will travel to play Chester. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.