With the York Comprehensive High School football team in the playoff hunt, the Cougars’ primary focus is to fine-tune things during a bye week and to prepare for the game with rival Clover.
The YCHS team defeated Fort Mill 42-28 Friday before a large crowd at home.
Head coach Bobby Carroll shifted his thoughts to a late-season bye, as well as the showdown with neighboring Clover on Nov. 6 in Blue Eagle Country.
“Clover runs an extremely difficult offense to simulate,” said Carroll. “Also, it’s hard to stop when you’ve seen these spread teams for 10 weeks. I’m sure coach Chad Smith will have their kids motivated.”
Carroll looks for the Blue Eagles to bring their A game for the rivalry.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us going to Clover and that new stadium they’ve got,” he said, referring to renovations and artificial turf at Clover’s Memorial Stadium.
“We’re gonna have to play flawless football,” he said. “We can’t get these penalties and allow our emotions to get involved with the game.”
Carroll said of the rivalry: “It’s bragging rights. It’s buddies against buddies. It’s kids that have played little league, pony league, basketball and football against each other in rec leagues. It’s York and Clover, probably one of the oldest rivalries in this country.”
Carroll said the bye week has its advantages.
“It gives us the chance to heal up a little bit,” he said. “We’ve got a couple guys banged up. We’ll catch our breath and be ready to go.”
Though he is pleased with the win against Fort Mill team, Carroll pointed to penalties as a source of concern.
A 97-yard kickoff return by Jamar Griffin “was huge, and Wally made some fantastic runs,” he said. “We made a couple fourth down stops. But we lost our composure and got those penalties.”
Carroll said the untimely penalties kept Fort Mill within striking distance.
“You just can’t get those types of penalties against a good team like Fort Mill,” he said. “They’re so well coached. We were fortunate to pull that thing out.”
Added Carroll: “We’ve got to learn that when you accelerate and step on that gas, you’ve got to continue to accelerate. You can’t decelerate and end up letting the game get close. Penalties really affected the outcome of a game that could’ve been a blowout.
“When you pin them back to the one and you give up a 99-yard bomb, that’s on me, Bobby Carroll. You ain’t prepared the guts well enough to play. We’re gonna work on it.”
Despite penalties, Carroll said the Cougars had their moments.
“Give it to Fort Mill,” he said. “Those guys were 6-3, now they’re 6-4. They’ve got a good running back and a really established quarterback. But we won and that’s what’s important. I’m proud of our kids.”
New transfer Brayden Hawkins from Union County, N.C., relieved Wilmore at quarterback on a couple series.
“He was here and his grandparents got sick and he had to move away,” Carroll said. “Now he’s moved back. That way, we can utilize Wally in some other places.”
Carroll said the sophomore signal-caller played well, but threw a pick six. “He just doesn’t understand the offense yet,” he said. “When he does, he’s gonna help out.”
Wilmore scoredon runs of 1 and 10 yards and delivered a 73-yard heave to Shandon Cobb as the Cougars stormed to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
After Fort Mill pulled to within a touchdown on a 97-yard touchdown pass from Rogan Wells to Ryan Deluca, Griffin electrified the home crowd with a 97-yard kickoff return.
Said Wilmore: “Sometimes I see an opening when I’m not even supposed to keep the ball, so I take it.”