After defeating Clover 35-3 in both teams’ regular-season finale, the York Comprehensive High School football team awaits the naming of a playoff opponent.
The S.C High School League is expected to announce brackets for the Nov. 20 opening-round games Nov. 14, when the Cougars will learn who they will play in the Division II 4A playoffs.
The Cougars defeated the Blue Eagles before a huge crowd at Memorial Stadium, defending Clover’s double-wing more efficiently than the previous two years.
“That’s an emotional game,” said YCHS head football coach Bobby Carroll said. “I know the Clover kids want to play hard and play to win and the York kids want to play extremely hard. They want to win.”
Added Carroll: “Clover’s down. I really admire those kids. To have the record they’ve had the last three, four, five years, whatever it’s been, and to continue to play hard. That’s a compliment to their coaches and players.”
While he lauded the Blue Eagles for their commitment, Carroll said he doesn’t understand the double-wing theory in today’s game.
“To me, that’s not modern day football they’re doing up there,” he said. “It may work for them one day. It’s just totally uncharacteristic of football now. This is the spread offense era. You don’t see that enough in South Carolina to play a team like that.”
He added: “I am proud of our players for maintaining their composure after the three personal fouls in the first quarter.”
The Blue Eagles moved the ball to open the game until a fumble gave the Cougars the pigskin at the York 43.
After the Clover defense forced a three-and-out, the Blue Eagles set sail on a 73-yard drive, culminating with San Edmunds’ 23-yard field goal that gave Clover a 3-0 lead with 18.9 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Cougars answered in the early moments of the second quarter, starting at their own 39-yard line.
Key plays in the drive included junior quarterback Wally Wilmore’s 15-yard toss to Paul Moore on the Clover side of the 50 and Tyquan McCray’s nifty run for first down yardage.
Wilmore’s 12-yard touchdown run pushed the Cougars ahead, 7-3.
After forcing the Blue Eagles to punt, the Cougars mounted a 71-yard drive, with Wilmore penetrating the end zone from four yards out with 7:39 on the scoreboard clock.
Once again, the Cougar defense turned the ball over to the offense after forcing a three-and-out.
The Cougars wasted little time dotting the scoreboard on a 37-yard touchdown toss from Wilmore to Moore midway through the second quarter.
The Cougars expanded the lead in the early moments of the second half when McCray rambled 64 yards to pay dirt with 11:17 showing in the third quarter.
McCray, a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder, had a big night for the Cougars with 130 yards rushing on eight carries.
Senior running back Brandon Garvin, a key contributor to last year’s state championship appearance, closed out the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:38 left in the game.
“Clover came to play and played hard,” said senior Deivonne Chalk. “We settled down and got away from those personal fouls. We look forward to the playoffs and finding out who our next opponent will be.”
Wilmore is hoping for another playoff run for the Cougars.
“The key to success as we get ready for the playoffs is the same it’s been all season,” he said. “We have to work hard and be mentally prepared. We have to prepare like we always do.”