YORK -- Northwestern's Trojans scored 35 points during the first and third quarters, propelling them to a 42-20 victory over the Cougars in a Region 3-AAAA football game Saturday afternoon at Pratt Field.
Despite the scores, both teams looked sluggish as their routines were interrupted by the postponement of the game due to rain on Friday.
The Trojans (8-1, 3-0 Region 3-AAAA ) could not have scripted a better opening two minutes. York received the opening kickoff and gained 1 yard on its opening play from scrimmage. A Northwestern defender stripped the ball from York's Adrion Crawford and returned it 21 yards to York's 11.
With York prepared for the famed "Air Raid" attack by the Trojans' offense, Northwestern opted for a draw play to Jarett Neely. The draw worked to perfection, as Neely ran untouched for a quick 11-yard touchdown.
The Cougars' ensuing possession lasted one play longer, but the results were the same. York coughed up the ball to Northwestern for its second turnover in as many drives. Neely again capitalized on the error as his 1-yard score gave the Trojans a 14-0 lead just 3:20 into the game.
York (3-6, 1-2) finally gave up a long drive to Northwestern's offense after an outstanding punt by Cougar kicker Logan Bass.
The Trojans used a 73-yard touchdown drive capped by Cordarrelle Patterson's 14-yard touchdown reception from Justin Worley. Patterson's score gave the Trojans a 21-0 lead with time still remaining in the first quarter, and all signs pointed to a blowout.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard with a Crawford's 11-yard run in the second quarter, and drove into Trojan territory late in the first half. Northwestern's Chris Long picked off a Crawford pass, killing the scoring opportunity for York.
Northwestern mirrored its opening two minutes of the game with a quick start in the second half. Worley found Neely for an 8-yard pass on the Trojans' first drive of the second half for a 28-7 lead.
Again, the Trojan defense stepped up when Jerel Miller picked up a fumble and scampered 22 yards to give Northwestern a 35-7 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the third period.
Despite the deficit, the Cougars never quit and battled Northwestern until the final whistle.
York eventually settled down and, when the errors halted, played toe-to-toe against one of the elite teams in South Carolina. The four turnovers were too much for the Cougars to overcome, despite another solid game from Quastin Walker. Walker finished with 17 carries for 98 yards.
Worley had another outstanding performance, throwing for 217 yards and two scores.
"I was extremely pleased with the way we came out in the first quarter," Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace said. "We were a little complacent for the second period, but the opening drive of the second half turned the corner. I'll take any win we can get, especially playing on the road."
Despite the loss, York has some positive momentum as it makes a run toward the playoffs heading into the season's final two weeks.
"We killed ourselves with those four turnovers," Cougar receiver Bryce Dudley said. "If we can eliminate our mistakes, we know we have a chance to win our last two games and get in the playoffs. But we know that everyone will be fighting for those final spots in the postseason."
The Cougars travel to Nation Ford next week before hosting the regular-season finale against archrival Clover. Northwestern controls its destiny in regards to the region title as it hosts Fort Mill and Gaffney in the last two weeks.