YORK -- Don't look now, but the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets look to be one of the more dangerous teams in the area, as they throttled York 28-7, spoiling homecoming for the Cougars.
The victory was the Jackets' fifth in a row, and, more importantly, put them at 1-0 in Region 3-AAAA.
Opportunistic Fort Mill took advantage of nearly every York error in the first half, jumping ahead 28-0 behind quality play from quarterback Bryan Wright. Wright, making just his second start of the season, completed 9-of-12 attempts for 106 yards in the half before the Jackets opted to use a ball-control running game to preserve the lead.
Fort Mill took the opening drive of the game 72 yards for the first touchdown. Wright found Chris Billingslea for a 4-yard score.
York's Adriane Kirkpatrick nearly returned the ensuing kickoff the distance, before Fort Mill kicker Chris Larsen came up with a shoestring tackle at the Yellow Jacket 46-yard line. The Cougars responded with their longest drive of the game, but failed to score when Mack Wells and James Hollingsworth tackled Kirkpatrick a yard short of the first-down marker on fourth down inside the 10.
York's defense forced Fort Mill to punt after just one first down, but the Cougars muffed the kick and turned the ball back over to the Jackets. Fort Mill scored five plays later on Travis Nims' 4-yard scamper.
The rest of the half belonged to Fort Mill's Jared Shaw, who did just about everything for the Yellow Jackets in the second quarter. Shaw took a punt from York's Matt Guempel and went untouched 62 yard for the score.
Shaw then switched to the defensive side of the ball, where he picked off a Cougar pass and took it 19 yards.
Facing a second-and-goal, the York defense forced Wright out of the pocket. It looked like Wright would have to take the sack, but Shaw came back to the ball to make a diving touchdown grab.
The Cougars' lone bright spot came in the third period, as Akeem Mobley got the Cougars on the scoreboard with a 48-yard punt return. The York offense was non-existent, collecting just 65 yards on the night.
Jeffery White and Quan Patterson each picked up sacks against the speedy Cougars, pacing the Yellow Jacket defense. Konrad Broussard added an interception.
"We are playing good football right now," said Fort Mill coach Ed Susi. "The next few weeks we go through the meat grinder part of our schedule. Next week against Northwestern, our offense will have to control the ball and keep their offense off the field. We did a good job of that in the second half tonight. Hopefully, we'll keep playing hard and keep winning football games.
The mood was obviously different on the other side of the field, as the Cougars dropped to 3-3.
"We were embarrassed by the way we played tonight in the first half," York coach John Barrett said. "We played hard in the second half, but give Fort Mill all the credit; they played a good game. We have been in this position before. I am confident our kids will show some character and bounce back."
Current professional athletes and former York Comprehensive stars Ivory Latta and Josh Davis attended the homecoming loss.
York heads back to the drawing board as they face another tough challenge next week with the Gaffney Indians visit Pratt Field, while the Yellow Jackets return home after two weeks on the road to host Northwestern.
York 0 0 7 0 -- 0
Fort Mill 7 21 0 0 -- 0