YORK -- Many questioned how York would defend a potent Chester Cyclone offense, especially having yielded 69 points to Hartsville the previous week.
The Cougars' defensive answer was an effective ball-control offense, which kept the sticks moving with 17 first downs and 326 total yards in a 27-12 victory Friday night.
An effective ground game and high-percentage passing to running backs and tight ends resulted in lengthy drives which ate up the clock and kept Chester's explosive offense on the sidelines.
"We had to get drives to eat up the clock," York coach John Barrett said. "We were able to get that with our running backs running the ball well and our offensive line doing an excellent job up front.
"Chester is an excellent team that could score in the blink of an eye; we saw that."
York countered the Cyclones' explosiveness with tailback Adriene Kirkpatrick, who was the workhorse with 18 carries for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
Kirkpatrick and the Cougars' offense set the tone early by taking the opening kickoff and marching 68 yards on nine plays. The Cougar senior rushed five times for 46 yards, including a 12-yard run into the end zone, for the 6-0 lead with 8:50 remaining in the opening quarter.
Chester answered later in the quarter when defensive back Terrell Springs intercepted a pass at the Cougars' 23-yard-line. Following a McCaskill completion to the Joseph Reed at the 11, the Cyclones reached paydirt on Dennis Dixon's 11-yard run with 11:25 remaining in the second quarter.
With the score tied at 6, York continued with the ball-control gameplan. Fielding a punt at the Cyclones' 27, York used a 31-yard completion from quarterback Adrion Crawford to Kirkpatrick to the 18. A personal foul penalty against Chester moved the ball to the 9. Four plays later, Crawford converted a fourth-and-one with a 1-yard sneak.
Leading 14-6 at intermission, York saw the Cyclones' offense explode with McCaskill connecting with Whitlock on a 71-yard bomb on the second play of the third quarter. With the missed Cyclone conversion, the Cougars still led, 14-12.
But York had a quick response. Kirkpatrick broke a tackle and raced 44 yards for a touchdown and a 21-12 lead. The Cougars added the clinching score with Kirkpatrick running 8 yards for the touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter.
"They outplayed us; we did not execute," Chester coach Victor Floyd said. "We had a lot of drops and didn't play well defensively. We made too many mistakes, but most of those are correctable."