Next up in the Showdown Countdown: a juicy-looking encounter in Week One between Rock Hill and York.
The Bearcats dropped the Cougars 49-34 at District Three Stadium last year, scoring 35 of their points in the second and third quarters. There is absolutely no question that Bobby Carroll and company will be eager to return the favor in York on Aug. 25.
Last year’s Rock Hill game couldn’t have landed on the schedule at a worst time for York. The Bearcats already had a game under their belt while the Cougars were playing their season opener. Two key players left York for different schools just before the Bank of York scrimmage the previous week, leaving an especially gaping hole at quarterback. Carroll and his coaches were left to scramble ahead of a game against a Rock Hill team that was annoyed at itself for letting a late lead slip against Blythewood in a Week Zero loss.
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Expect a more congealed, polished York team this August. The Cougars have starting QB Ethan Mitchell coming back - they played with wide receiver Shandon Cobb as an emergency QB against Rock Hill last year (and still scored 34 points) - and return some play-makers at receiver, including Ladarius Allison. York is still a bit of an unknown quantity at this point, but what better time to let South Carolina high school football know what’s coming than a big outing against Rock Hill in late August?
Highlights from the two schools’ 2016 meeting:
Rock Hill got relatively cleaned out by graduation so it’s a bonus for the Bearcats that - like last year - this is their second game of the 2017 regular season, and York’s first.
Bubba Pittman’s crew has some emerging young talents - receiver Antonio Barber, defensive back Anthony Jackson are two that look promising - but its inexperience will be the chief concern ahead of a juggernaut schedule that includes some of the Upstate’s best high school football programs.
The Bearcats were inconsistent last year and August’s Blythewood and York games will give their fans a big clue as to whether this team - even as young as it will be - can produce winning performances on a more regular basis.
The two schools have split 12 games since 2005, with a few close ones and a few blowouts stirred in the mix.
Rock Hill’s 2016 win snapped a four-game winning streak in the series for York. It was also York’s first season-opening defeat under Carroll.
Showdown Countdown so far:
Editor’s note: The Herald is counting down to the 2017 high school football season by revealing the 10 most interesting games in York, Chester and Lancaster counties this coming fall. Games will be organized by date and revealed in Monday, Wednesday and Friday newspapers.