Mouse-click after mouse-click, Boiling Springs football coach Rick Tate scrolls through York’s special teams film on Hudl and sees the Cougars’ kicker blasting kickoffs into the end zone.
Tate, who coaches the Bulldogs’ special teams, didn’t need to watch the digital film on loop to know who Buddy Anderson is. Anderson, a senior, hit a 35-yard field goal with three seconds left to give York a 46-45 win when the teams met last year.
No. 2 York (4-0) hosts No. 10 Boiling Springs (2-1) on Friday. Cougars coach Bobby Carroll knows his kicker who has improved greatly in the last three years will play a huge part. Carroll believes the game-winner against Boiling Springs last year kicked up Anderson’s confidence.
“It was a huge boost to know I could perform under pressure, without a doubt,” Anderson said Wednesday before practice.
It’s his work in the weight room, though, that’s produced the biggest benefit: a mortar for a right leg. Anderson, who shares his nickname with his grandfather, has booted 26 of his 28 kickoffs for touchbacks so far this fall. He’s also plunked five of his 13 punts inside the 20-yard line. Even with rounded-off math that amounts to poor starting field position for the opposition offense.
“I’m not so sure that York couldn’t just send him out on their kickoff team if they wanted to, and not even send the other 10 out there,” said Tate, before adding, “We remember him well from last year.”
Wherever Boiling Springs starts its first drive from Friday night, there will be a different number than usual running the Bulldogs offense. Not only did the state’s No. 1 4A team, Dutch Fork, thump Boiling Springs 60-24 on Friday, but Bulldogs quarterback Daniel Thompson was lost too for at least four weeks. Thompson told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal on Sunday that he has a clean break in his nonthrowing left arm. Drew Johnson will start in Thompson’s place.
“As far as what we do, we’re not gonna change that any,” said Tate. “We feel that Drew can do all the things that Daniel can do. If you’re gonna be a good team, you’ve got to move on past these kinds of injuries.”
Thompson, committed to play at Elon University, was 63-for-99 passing for 938 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions thus far. Johnson completed three of his 12 pass attempts with two interceptions against Dutch Fork after Thompson was injured. The 6-foot-2 junior has rushed for 108 yards on 14 carries, an average of 7.7 yards per try.
Quarterback play at York has been no sweat. Senior Deshaw Andrews has yet to be intercepted after 130 pass attempts, and he’s developed a cozy relationship with senior receiver Kyron Schrouder. Schrouder is second in the area with 40 catches and is showing why York coaches felt confident enough to channel play-maker Daurice Simpson to primarily defensive and return game duties.
Toss in the emergence of Brandon Garvin, the linebacker-come-running back who’s rushed for close to 200 yards and three scores the last two weeks and the Cougar offense is clicking. The defense appears to be getting better, especially at forcing turnovers and feeding York’s scoring unit, and it’s getting the added benefit of opposing offenses generally starting at their 20, thanks to Anderson’s strengthened right peg.
Consider Anderson is one of the best legs in the Upstate and all three phases are looking good for York. It’s no surprise the Cougars have achieved the school’s highest-ever 4A state ranking, and if they need a late three points again Friday, their kicker is ready to oblige.
“It’s always good to beat them fairly good, that’d be fun,’ said Anderson. “But if it comes down to a game-winner, I’m ready for whatever.”