Members of the York Comprehensive High School football team will make the 150-mile trek to Sumter Friday to open the 2015 season.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. against the Fighting Gamecocks, a quality Big 16 team for decades.
“They’re an outstanding football team with a new coach this year,” said Cougar head football coach Bobby Carroll after Friday’s game-type Bank of York Scrimmage against Ridge View. The coach is Mark Barnes.
“He’s won a bunch of state championships and he won it last year at Crest in North Carolina,” said Carroll. “He’s moved to South Carolina and will instill toughness in those kids. I’m sure Sumter will be a lot better than they were last year.”
Carroll recalls the Cougars’ come-from-behind win at home over Sumter last season.
“They looked as good as anybody out there when we played them last year,” he said. “They’re a good football team with good athletes. I’m sure their new coach will straighten them out.”
In addition to its proud football tradition, Carroll pointed out that Sumter is a big school with the third largest enrollment in the state.
“We’ve got to play in 4A classification this year,” he said. “We’ll get tested to see how good we are or how bad we are and how hard we worked.”
Though Carroll said last week’s action against Ridge View was more or less a glorified scrimmage, he was not happy to see the Cougars outscored by the visitors.
The Cougars suffered a 28-6 loss to Ridge View in the Bank of York scrimmage.
“We played a bunch of people,” he said. “But the bottom line, that might be the worst football we’ve played in the five seasons I’ve been here.
“We gave up two fumbles and an interception and couldn’t move the ball on offense,” he said. “The defense got put in a hole a bunch.”
Carroll added: “That’s why we scrimmage and want it to be game-type, so we can play up the speed of the game. We try to give all of the kids a look so we can evaluate them and decide who’s gonna play against Sumter.
“We’ll find out who can play and who can’t play right now. “Hopefully, we’ll eliminate our mistakes.”
Carroll plans to turn up the intensity level a notch or two in practice. “We’ve got to practice harder,” he said. “We ain’t practiced hard the last couple days.”
A bright spot in the scrimmage with Ridge View was junior punter Myles Prosser’s booming punts with adequate hang time.
“If Myles can be a little more consistent on his drop, he can punt the ball as well as anybody,” said Carroll. “We’re a little bit behind in special teams. We’ll get caught up next week.”
Prosser, who also handles the placekicking chores, said he devoted much time to improving his punting in the offseason. “I’m looking for good hang time and distance; that’s what I want,” said Prosser.
With a solid background in soccer since childhood, Prosser has become a long-range placekicker. “I feel confident from 50 yards and in,” he said. “I’ve hit a 60-yarder before.”
Senior running back Brandon Garvin echoes his coach’s sentiments as the Cougars prepare for Sumter.
“We need better practices to get things right for Sumter,” he said. “We’ve definitely got the players to win. We’ve just got to get it together.”