Sheets of rain may have dampened York’s homecoming game Friday night, but the Cougars’ defense made sure Rock Hill didn’t.
The visiting Bearcats led 12-10 at the half and had the chance to grow the lead with the first possession of the second half. But York got a three-and-out and a punt, then scored 21 unanswered points to blow open a game played in soggy conditions.
“Turnovers and penalties, man, I don’t care what level of football you’re on or who you’re playing, it’s not good,” said York coach Bobby Carroll, standing under a tent as the rain barreled down. “We had eight or nine penalties there early, fumbled that punt, fumbled that big play up their sideline... but I’m proud of our kids. The defense played lights out tonight.”
After the rare first half with a pair of 2-point safeties, including one on Rock Hill’s first offensive play of the game, York took over. Wally Wilmore slipped through a crease for a 12-yard touchdown, fired an 11-yard touchdown to Ke’trael Lytle, then hit Paul Moore on a wheel route for a 31-yard scoring hook-up to make it 31-12.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter and when the precipitation that fell most of the day returned late in the game, it became a race to see which side could get off the field fastest.
York stopping Rock Hill on the first drive of the second half flipped the field, and the game. The Bearcats punted 13 yards, giving the hosts cushy field position that they seized upon. Wilmore’s touchdown capped a short drive and the momentum pendulum lurched in the Cougars’ direction for good.
York’s defense shut out the Bearcats in the second half.
“Our defensive coaches work really hard,” said Carroll. “They played great tonight, they really did.”
Rock Hill’s passing game really struggled, the Bearcats completing just 7-of-30 throws on the night. Rock Hill threw 14 straight incompletions at one point during the third quarter, with passes thrown too hard and receivers dropping easy ones in equal number. That issue was exacerbated when Rock Hill fell behind and needed to throw the ball to try and catch up, even more difficult to do in soaked conditions.
Wilmore was outstanding for the Cougars, who rode their star in the decisive third period. He carried the ball 10 times on the drive that put York in front 24-12. After almost single-handedly marching his team down the field - with the help of good blocking of course - Wilmore fired a dart to Lytle for the touchdown that really squashed the Bearcats’ spirit. A week after scoring four rushing TDs, Wilmore finished with 173 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while completing 12-of-20 passes for 113 yards and two more scores.
Defensive lineman Alan Salgado was a beast for Rock Hill, especially in the first half when the Bearcats out-played the Cougars slightly. Salgado finished - unofficially - with a couple sacks and teamed with Khari Hunter to tackle Paul Moore for a safety that put Rock Hill up 12-10 late in the second period.
“I know we play Northwestern next week and they’ve got all those high-powered... (Kyle) Richardson, I think he’s up for an NFL job,” said Carroll, laughing. “I tell him that all the time.”
York hosts Northwestern in a matchup of top-10 4A teams; Rock Hill hosts Gaffney for the first time since 2011.
York 31, Rock Hill 12
Rock Hill;3;9;0;0- 12
YCHS - safety, 9:16
RHHS - Zhenya Deller 22 yard field goal, 0:39
YCHS - Wally Wilmore 49 run (2-point pass to Shandon Cobb), 11:41
RHHS - John McCullough 20 pass from Dre Robinson (Hudson Gray kick), 7:57
RHHS - safety, 3:35
YCHS - Wilmore 12 run (Myles Prosser kick), 10:02
YCHS - Ke’trael Lytle 11 pass from Wilmore (Prosser kick), 3:41
YCHS - Paul Moore 31 pass from Wilmore (Prosser kick), 1:25
RUSHING Rock Hill: Tim Sherer 1-(-1); Dre Robinson 6-(-6); Kadarrius Baxter 21-96; JoJo Robinson 5-46; Thailand Adams 1(-5). York: Wally Wilmore 23-173; Brandon Garvin 10-32; Paul Moore 4-3; Tyquan McCray 9-54.
PASSING Rock Hill: Robinson 7-30-0-1, 100 yards. York: Wilmore: 12-20-0-2, 113 yards.
RECEIVING Rock Hill: Sherer 2-59; John McCullough 2-36; Baxter 2-4; Adams 1-1. York: Antonio Hardy 1-8; Ke’trael Lytle 4-26; Preston Robinson 3-25; Shandon Cobb 3-23; Paul Moore 1-31.
RECORDS Rock Hill 1-5; York 5-1