When Bobby Carroll returned to his hometown four years ago to lead the York Comprehensive High School football program, he didn’t mince words in describing his desire for success.
“Our goal every year will be to win the state championship,” Carroll repeatedly said.
After three consecutive 10-win seasons, the Cougars have reached the mountaintop: the Class AAAA Division 11 state-championship game.
The Cougars, 12-2 and ranked No. 1 in the state for two weeks during the regular season, will play Spartanburg, 11-3 and ranked in the top 10 for much of the season.
The game will begin at noon Dec. 6 at one of the top venues in college football, the University of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium.
Carroll was all smiles after the Cougars’ 21-6 dismantling of Greenwood for the upper state championship last week.
“It’s a great win for our seniors with four years in the program,” said Carroll. “They have reached the pinnacle.”
Carroll said he is familiar with the Spartanburg Vikings’ abilities. “Spartanburg is a great team,” he said. “They have the best running back in the state.”
That back is the Vikings’ Tavien Feaster, who played a big role in Spartanburg’s 63-30 romp against South Florence last week.
The South Florence defense had no answer for the fleet-footed Feaster, who rushed for 202 yards, caught two passes for 66 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Feaster was nursing an injury when the Cougars bested Spartanburg in the Bank of York Scrimmage in August.
As if Feaster wasn’t enough, Spartanburg quarterback Austin Scott passed for 334 yards and six touchdowns. The Vikings, coming off a 51-point effort in the state quarterfinals against Stratford, amassed 568 total yards against South Florence.
“Chris Miller is doing a great job as head coach of the Vikings,” said Carroll. “They’ve had a lot of tradition, especially when Doc Davis had his elite teams.
“We started the season against Spartanburg and will end the season against them.”
The Cougars come into the title game with a road win at Greenwood, in which York limited Greenwood to two field goals.
“We had great defensive effort pressuring their quarterback,” said Carroll. “Our game plan was to score early, which we accomplished. I am proud of our kids.”
With York’s defense holding Greenwood at bay most of the game and the offense scoring 21 first-half points, the Cougars were content to consume the clock against a Greenwood defense that was inspired in the second half.
York senior quarterback Deshaw Andrews completed 21 of 27 passes for 190 yards and played a role in all three touchdowns.
Andrews had touchdown passes of three yards to Wally Wilmore and seven yards to Daurice Simpson, who hauled in the ball despite Greenwood defenders flooding the end zone.
Andrews also had a four-yard touchdown run.
“We were ready to play,” Andrews said. “The offense got things going in the first half and our defense played really well.”
“We’re excited about the state finals. We know it’s been 28 years since York’s been there,” he said.
Senior defensive stalwarts Luc Greene and Ethan Whitesides also made their presence felt.
“We practiced all week on getting defensive penetration,” said Greene, who recovered a fumble. “We need to stay focused and practice even harder for the state-championship game.”
Whitesides knew the defense was ready but “we still have work to do” before the state title game, he said. “We haven’t won it yet.”