It was a story of two quarterbacks for both teams, but it was the York Cougars who came out on top over the Nation Ford Falcons 21-17.
Both teams went with a two quarterback systems. For York (2-1) it was planned, for Nation Ford (0-3) not so much. Nation Ford started Dawaun McCullum in the game, but went to Ben Tuipulotu in the third quarter after McCullum threw two interceptions and got banged up, according to head coach Michael Allen.
York went with a new quarterback in its second series of the game in Tanner McKinney over started Ethan Mitchell. The two York quarterbacks rotated throughout the game. McKinney led York down the field and used Stephen Oglesby to do the majority of work to get him into the red zone. Nation Ford penalties also aided the Cougars before McKinney ran in from 10-yards out to open the scoring in the game. Then with about 22 seconds left in the game, McKinney hit Ladarius Allison for a 25-yard score putting York in front for good.
“It’s a good win,” said York head coach Bobby Carroll. “Every position we have is competitive. We are just trying to find 11 players.”
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Nation Ford could move the ball on the ground with McCullum and G’hari Page running the ball, but struggled with the pass early on. York on the other hand did nearly all its work on the ground. Nation Ford found a rhythm with Ben Tuipulotu under center. Tuipulotu started two series for the Falcons and led them down the field for two scores.
Tuipulotu led Nation Ford down the field hitting McCullum for a 51-yard pass setting up a six-yard touchdown run from Page in the third quarter. But Nation Ford lost hold of that momentum, York producing one final drive to win the game late.
York’s offensive line did a good job blocking as the Cougars consistently gobbled up yards against the Nation Ford defense. Even good field position wasn’t enough for the Falcons because penalties kept backing them up. Nation Ford was penalized 10 times in the first half for 75 yards unofficially. .
“We lost the game on penalties,” Allen said. “We shot ourself in the football.”
Tuipulotu played in his first game of the season after tearing his ACL in the Falcons playoff game last season and faced a nine-month rehab process. He was 4-10 passing with 74 yards and a touchdown run. He also made two catches for 23 yards and rushed the ball for 22 yards. For York, Oglesby rushed for 82 yards and Allison scored twice for the Cougars.
Nation Ford heads to Lancaster to face the Bruins, and York plays Fort Mill at home.
York 21, Nation Ford 17
Nation Ford 3;0;7;7;-17
Y - Tanner McKinney 10-yard run (Josh Austin kick), 6:38
NF - Skyler DeLong 35-yard field goal, 2:35
Y - Ladarius Allison six-yard run (Austin kick), 11:55
NF - G’hari Page six-yard run (DeLong kick), 2:00
NF- Ben Tuipulotu five-yard run (Carter Richardson kick), 7:47
Y - Allison 25-yard reception from McKinney (Austin kick), 22.3
First downs 13;13
Passing yards 95;204
Fumbles/lost 1-1; 0-0
RUSHING York: Joe Wade 9-45, Stephen Oglesby 19-82, Tanner McKinney 2-10, JT Sanders 1-4, Ladarius Allison 2-2, Ethan Mitchell 4-(-8). Nation Ford: Dawaun McCullum 9-47, G’hari Page 12-24, Ben Tuipulotu 7-22, Nathan Mahaffey 2-3.
PASSING York: Ethan Mitchell 5-13-1 51, Tanner McKinney 6-9-1 44. Nation Ford: Dawaun McCullum 8-23-2 130, Ben Tuipulotu 4-10-1 74.
RECEIVING York: Joe Wade 1-3, Shaq Harris 3-14, Stephen Oglesby 1-25, Ladarius Allison 2-33, Kalil Ellis 1-10, Zaye Robbins. 1-(-3), Zion Walker 2-13. Nation Ford: Nathan Lovette 3-46, Ben Tuipulotu 2-23, G’hari Page 2-16, Harrison Cohen 2-62, Dawaun McCullum 1-51, Petey Tuipulotu 2-6.
RECORDS York 2-1; Nation Ford 0-3.