Week Zero continues tonight

YORK -- The helmets are freshly painted and the uniforms pressed. Game plans have been revised and rewritten too many times. The lineup -- for now -- is on the board.

All that's left is the game.

"I think we're in pretty good shape," said York coach John Barrett, preparing for the first game of his second season tonight. "Not doing anything special as far as adjusting the game plan or anything like that.

"Hopefully we got some of the jitterbugs out of the way."

Barrett's Cougars host the only home game of the immediate area tonight, when Laurens comes to town at 7:30 p.m. It's a continuation of prep football's Week Zero, begun Thursday when Clover tangled with Wilson.

In other action, Rock Hill travels to South Aiken and Nation Ford begins its first season with a match at Forestview (N.C.) Each of the schools is playing a week earlier than normal and hopes for the same thing as Barrett -- a good start.

These same Laurens Raiders handed York a 14-6 loss last year in the season-opener, a game in which the Cougars had two touchdowns called back and had a late-game drive squashed. The Raiders finished 4-8 and York finished 8-5, perhaps leaving a bitter taste in the Cougars' mouths.

But that was last year. This year is brand-new, and York only gets one chance to begin 1-0.

"We've had a good week of practice," Barrett said. "We'd like to have one more, but that ain't going to happen."

The Cougars, like several area teams, have had scarce practice time with new legislation pushing the start of school back. Barrett's hoping the summer conditioning program will counteract the lack of game experience.

York played a half at last week's Herald Jamboree and fought off a feisty Great Falls team, 3-0. The Cougars' defense was impressive, holding the athletic Red Devils without a point, although the offense could have been better.

The Cougars kicked the winning field goal at the end of the half, though, which was good. At least the special teams got on the field, which could come in handy tonight.

Plus, it's not like Laurens has been playing all summer, either. Although Barrett credited the Raiders' speed and defense, he pointed out Laurens is in the same boat as York.

"We're both going to have to play a lot of people," Barrett said, referring to the energy-draining heat and the desire to give several players game experience. "Hopefully that will come out and help us."

Nation Ford at Forestview (N.C.), 8 p.m.

Rock Hill at South Aiken, 7:30 p.m.

Laurens at York, 7:30 p.m.