The York football team enters the season looking to strengthen a rush defense that saw its share of challenges last season.
Another challenge awaited Bobby Carroll’s squad on Saturday, in the form of Tavien Feaster, Spartanburg’s star running back. The results may not always have been perfect, but that test was mostly passed.
Carroll’s Cougars held Feaster mostly in check, emerging with a 41-35 victory at York Comprehensive High School in a Saturday night scrimmage.
“He’s a great tailback, and they’ve got a great football team,” said Carroll of Feaster and the Vikings. “We just didn’t tackle well. We had three early turnovers, and that first quarter was real sloppy, really, on both sides of the ball.”
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The teams played a back-and-forth first half that saw 35 total points light up the scoreboard. Spartanburg and York traded scores on the opening three possessions, before York tied the game at 14 on a Spartanburg punt that was blocked by Patch Edwards and returned by Deivonne Chalk for the score.
A lost fumble by Feaster on the next Spartanburg possession was quickly followed by a 27-yard touchdown score from Deshaw Andrews to Daurice Simpson to put York in the lead 21-14 with 3:57 to play in the quarter.
Andrews connected on another trip to the end zone in the second quarter, this one a 74-yard completion to Kyron Schrouder, to give the Cougars a 27-14 lead after the extra point attempt was not converted.
Spartanburg’s Austin Scott found Tavaris Scott through the air for 43 yards to cut the Cougar lead to 27-21 with 26 seconds to play in the half.
The second-half pace was a bit slower. After the Cougars forced another fumble by Feaster, Andrews again found Simpson through the air for a 78-yard score to give York a 33-21 lead with 7:46 to play in the third after another failed two-point try. Tyquan McCray then rumbled in from three yards out for York a couple of minutes later. Andrews kept the ball to convert the two-point attempt and give York a 41-21 lead.
“Andrews is gonna make the plays,” said Carroll.
The Vikings’ next drive went just over one minute, with Scott finding Kezmon Gilliam on a 60-yard touchdown completion. The converted extra point reduced the York advantage to 41-28 with 4:23 to play in the third.
The fourth quarter saw a lot of substitutions by both teams, allowing players to get valuable game experience going into the first week of the season. Spartanburg added a late tally to cut the York margin to six, but the Cougars ran out the clock and ended the contest.
The Cougars open the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday against visiting Sumter. Carroll candidly spoke of what his team needed to do to be ready.
“We’ve kind of fine-tuned our tackling and just the basics of football,” he said. “We’ll go back and study, and you can’t turn that ball over, man. You turn it over one time and your chances of winning drop to 85 percent. We turned it over three times. We’re just lucky they turned it over also.”