It’s called the Turkey Bowl, but the York Cougars didn’t have turkey, as much as they had Eagle to eat as they defensively stalled Greenwood for a 21-6 victory, punching their ticket to the 4A Division II state championship game next week against Spartanburg, which crushed South Florence.
Looking to get to the state title game for the first time in nearly three decades, York came into Greenwood High with its hands full against the Eagles at J.W. Babb Stadium.
Two years removed from a state title, Greenwood was looking to get back to the finals.
Last season, York came to Greenwood and beat the Eagles 42-3 in the first round of the playoffs. Last year, Greenwood had a different coach and ran a different offensive system.
While the offense was doing its job in scoring, it was the defense that made key stops all game, allowing nine first downs for Greenwood holding it to two field goals.
“We planned on blitzing a lot,” said York’s defensive coordinator David Prince. “We just wanted our guys to keep moving. We had a good week of practice. We were ready.”
Senior quarterback Deshaw Andrews led York on offense going 21-27 for 190 yards. Andrews was involved with all three of the Cougars scores.
“We gave up a play here and there, but our players were focused all week,” said York head coach Bobby Carroll. “We are thankful for each other. This is special. To do this with this crowd where there is no big superstar, they played hard.”
The Cougars tried to milk the clock early in the fourth quarter with a 21-6 lead by running the ball. York faked a punt on a fourth down for the Cougars 14th first down of the game to move the chains.
Greenwood got a good start as running back Malik Carter rattled off a 30-yard run to advance the Eagles near the red zone. The Cougars defense regrouped, forcing Greenwood to go for a 38-yard field goal.
York came right back when Andrews connected with receiver Wally Wilmore for a 21-yard gain, who would cross midfield. Andrews scrambled for 43 yards to get to the five-yard line. Andrews was intercepted in the end zone giving the Eagles some life.
Greenwood rode quarterback Roshun Jackson and Carter, who moved the ball past midfield, but York linebacker Luc Greene recovered the Eagles’ second fumble.
Greenwood had three first downs in the first half and 40yards of offense.
Andrews hit receiver Kyron Schrouder for a 29-yard pick up as the first quarter expired to get the Cougars into the red zone.
York couldn’t move the ball from there, and relied on a 37-yard field goal attempt by Buddy Anderson, which fell short.
Greenwood fumbled at the 10-yard line, deep in its own territory which was recovered by the Cougars’ Tyquan McCray. Andrews hit receiver Daurice Simpson three plays later to put York ahead by two scores.
York again forced the Eagles to punt and Simpson carried the ball cross midfield to give the Cougars good starting position
Andrews found running back Brandon Garvin, and advanced the ball to the 14, with a penalty helping them get inside the 10-yard line. Andrews faked a sweep a couple plays later to score from four-yards out.
Andrews’ only mistake in the first half came was an interception into double coverage which was returned to the 21. Greenwood made a 35-yard field goal to get on the board.
Greenwood took the ball to open the game in the first quarter, but York’s defense held strong forcing the Eagles to punt.
Andrews picked up the first down of the game with a 15-yard run. He hit Simpson on a screen pass for 20-yards to get York to midfield.
Andrews again hit Simpson for an 18-yard pass, before Andrews took off on a 22-yard run to get to the five yard line. Andrews hit Wilmore for a three-yard touchdown for York.
Greenwood fumbled on its next series for a nine-yard loss as the Cougars defense pushed the Eagles back and again force them to punt.