High School Sports

Crawford, Kirkpatrick more than filling shoes

Adriane Kirkpatrick, left, and Adrion Crawford have taken over for former York standouts Chris McCoy and Tyrone Love.
Adriane Kirkpatrick, left, and Adrion Crawford have taken over for former York standouts Chris McCoy and Tyrone Love.

YORK -- Tyrone who? Chris who?

That would be quarterback Tyrone Love and tailback Chris McCoy, who started as seniors last year for York and helped lead the Cougars to an 8-5 record and second place in Region 3-AAAA.

And all kidding aside, Cougars' fans will be talking about those two for years to come -- especially Love, who was a playmaker with his feet, arm and head.

"It was no secret that how Tyrone did, that's what York would do in games,'' said Adrion Crawford, this year's quarterback. "He did everything well and I knew I'd have big shoes to fill. I worked all summer to improve, worked on my passing, worked on drop steps and took snaps.

"I started on defense last year but backed up Tyrone. I played maybe three minutes of offense, but had a 15-yard run and completed two passes. I looked up to Tyrone. He was a positive leader and I learned a lot from him.''

York's biggest concern going into the season was not who would replace Love and McCoy, but if they could be replaced.

Crawford and Adriane Kirkpatrick, this year's tailback, have been outstanding in their new roles. Crawford has passed for 846 yards and six touchdowns. Kirkpatrick has run for 505 yards and two touchdowns and has eight receptions for 170 yards and two more TDs.

"Both of those guys are playing impressive football,'' said Joey Moore, who along with Chris Black, coordinates the Cougars' offense. "Adrion was our backup quarterback last year, but we saw he had the tools to be good.

"He's the fastest player on the team. He breaks off big runs and does a good job catching the football out of the backfield. So far, they have filled the shoes we asked them to fill.''

York hosts Fort Mill at 7:30 tonight in another key Region 3-AAAA match. The game will be the region opener for Fort Mill, which beat Boiling Springs last Friday. York can go to 2-0 in the region with a win after knocking off Lancaster last week.

Fort Mill will see a lot of York's new dynamic duo, especially Kirkpatrick.

They were starters in York's secondary last year, but were overshadowed by Wayne Johnson. Crawford is strictly offense this year. Kirkpatrick plays both ways and is on every kicking team except field goals.

"I counted on Wayne for leadership and have a lot of respect for him,'' Kirkpatrick said. "I'm small like Wayne. I'm 5-7, 148. He's 5-5, 145, so we have a lot in common. He had experience and knew what he was doing."

Crawford (6-1, 200) is a gifted athlete and won the battle with Ryan Dennis for quarterback. It was a friendly battle. When it began in preseason, they were told one would start at quarterback and the other in the defensive backfield.

With that battle decided, Crawford said the Cougars are fighting another. York was hit hard by graduation, losing all of its offensive skill players. The emergence of Crawford, Kirkpatrick and wide receiver Charlie Mobley (17 catches for 272 yards and five TDs) has not gone unnoticed.

But Kirkpatrick said the Cougars are not getting the attention they deserve.

"A lot of people said we were going to be last in the region,'' he said. "Maybe it's because we graduated so many players or that we are not that big ... never have been big at York.

"But we play hard -- our trademark -- and never give up. The coaches game-plan us well and get us ready. Never count us out.''

And count on one more thing. Fort Mill has allowed only 27 points in five games and does a good job against the run. At some point tonight, York will run what Crawford and Kirkpatrick call their favorite play.

"The middle screen,'' Crawford said with a big grin.

"It's my play,'' Kirkpatrick said. "If I get the ball out in the open on it, I'm going for the touchdown. We've run it three times and I've scored on it twice. I'm sure Fort Mill has seen it on video.''

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