Spartanburg and York met in a scrimmage to begin the season, in a move carefully planned by Cougars coach Bobby Carroll. York took that first meeting, but Spartanburg gotthe payback to close the season.
Running back Tavien Feaster scored three touchdowns and quarterback Austin Scott passed for 320 yards as Spartanburg won the Class 4A Division II state championship, 49-28, over York at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
“I love it for everybody that’s worked so hard to get to this point. It’s just unbelievable,” said Spartanburg coach Chris Miller. “You go through a lifetime to try to get to this place. I’ve been blessed to be here.”
York (12-3) converted two long drives in the first quarter: eight plays and 60 yards, and 13 plays and 80 yards. Both drives ended with Deshaw Andrews touchdown plunges. Andrews first scored from eight, then punched in a one-yard run.
Between the two York scores, Spartanburg (12-3) scored on a two-play, 70-yard drive, the highlight, a 69-yard touchdown toss from Scott to Feaster down the right sideline.
A wild 58-yard touchdown throw from Scott to Cedarius Rookard that was twice tipped brought the Vikings to within one.
York answered almost immediately, going three plays in 80 yards over 43 seconds with a 65-yard throw from Andrews to Shandon Cobb extending the Cougars lead to 21-13.
After a York punt, Spartanburg needed just one play as Scott connected with Tavaris Scott. A Tiger Jeter two-point conversion tied the game at 21-21.
Feaster capped a seven-play, 73-yard drive with a two-yard score to give Spartanburg the halftime advantage.
Austin Scott’s one-yard plunge ended another quick Viking drive, giving his team a 35-21 lead with 4:42 to play in the third quarter. Though York controlled the tempo through much of the first 16 minutes of the game, Spartanburg took away much of that momentum, limiting York’s big-play offense through much of the second half.
“I just felt like they didn’t change, they’re a good football team, they were going to do what they do,” said Miller of York. “I think we were a little excited and weren’t doing the things that we had taught them all week long. We just calmed them down and talked about some different things. We changed some coverages and did some things up front, and I thought that worked.”
“They hit us on some big plays and they got us. That’s just the game of football,” said York’s Bobby Carroll. “They’re a big-play offense and that’s what they did to us. We just couldn’t stop the tailback (Feaster), couldn’t stop those passes. We’ve had that problem all year long.”
Another Feaster run punctuated a 10-play, 84-yard drive that took 4:29 off the clock, giving the Vikings a 42-21 lead with 9:26 remaining.
York’s Brandon Garvin found pay dirt from three yards away, ending a York scoreless drought of more than 25 minutes of game time. That cut the lead to 12 points, 42-28, but York could never answer after that touchdown with seven minutes to play.
“We just had to light that fire and say we can’t have a bad game offensively anymore,” said Feaster.
Reserve Eli Jackson scored the final Vikings touchdown as the game neared its close.
“My hat’s off to Spartanburg. They’ve got a great football team,” said Carroll. “We’ll go back and work hard this offseason and try to get here again.”