York has turned to sophomore Ethan Mitchell to quarterback the team’s offense.
The Cougars are 0-3 and weren’t progressing on offense with senior Shandon Cobb under center. Cobb is the team’s best receiver and will help the Cougars more on the perimeter, as his performance last Friday - seven catches for 52 yards and a touchdown - indicated. Like Cobb, Mitchell hadn’t played quarterback in high school football before this season.
“We said, ‘look, we’ll put Ethan in there to play quarterback.’ He’s got a good strong arm and I think he’s the future of York football, as far as the quarterback’s concerned,” said Cougars coach Bobby Carroll.
Cobb had no trouble moving the ball with his legs, and also completed 75 percent of his passes in the first two games. But York only moved 8.1 yards per completion; the Cougars struggled to stretch the field, which cramped running room.
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The SCHSL’s rejigging of the playoff system rendered non-region games almost pointless. With the points system ditched, every team in the state, including York, just has to win in region play.
Mitchell was 17-for-37 during the Cougars’ loss to Nation Ford last week, with a touchdown and interception each. He averaged about 8.4 yards per completion in his first start.
His efforts to guide the team’s offense should be aided by Cobb’s return to receiver, while Carroll also plans to use talented defensive back Jae’vion Matthews and extremely athletic linebacker Ke’Trael Lytle more on offense, too.
York won 50 games combined in Carroll’s first five seasons at his alma mater, and the Cougars hadn’t experienced a three-game losing skid under their current coach, until now.
Asked how his kids are handling the adverse start to 2016, Carroll said, “They’re all right. It’s no fun being 0-3 but we’ve just had a lot of deals happen to us, injuries, behavior problems and the ball just hasn’t bounced our way. We’re just trying to get better and better every week. Thank goodness we’re not on the point system anymore.”
Carroll talked about facing Friday’s opponent, Fort Mill, and how his kids are dealing with the team’s winless start in this video:
Ronnie Hughes is “balling out” as the kids say
Fort Mill senior Ronnie Hughes is playing at a very high level right now. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound running back/defensive back had 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns and also made a sticky one-handed grab during the Yellow Jackets’ 41-7 blowout of Orangeburg-Wilkinson last Friday.
Hughes’ quick feet were on display throughout the game; he successfully negotiated the line between dancing around too much, and making potential tacklers whiff. This was especially true when the Yellow Jackets’ play-calling put him in one-on-one situations at the edges of the offensive backfield.
Hughes - his full first name is Ron’Tavious - is also one of the tops in the area in interceptions, with three in four games.
Check out this infographic that compares Hughes and some of the other top running backs in the area, and also take a look at his highlights from the Orangeburg-Wilkinson game:
Big plays spur Northwestern
A good sign for Northwestern’s offense: the Trojans scored 34 points on the road against Byrnes last Friday despite only entering the Rebels’ red zone once.
Northwestern had touchdown passes of 36, 53, 33 and 73 yards - the last of those caught by Jamario Holley, who was returning from an injured collarbone. Another good sign: two of those TDs came from transfer Wally Wilmore, who already looks fully integrated into what Northwestern is doing offensively and is leading the area in receiving yardage.
David Pierce’s team had eight plays in all against Byrnes that went for 20 or more yards, a stat to keep in mind as the Trojans welcome Spartanburg to town on Friday. The Vikings are allowing just 13.8 points per game and only 4.8 yards per play, and will be another great test for the hosts.
Check out the speed Holley showed on his long touchdown catch last Friday:
Tri-County Coaches’ Association players of the week from Week Three
4A, 5A schools
Offensive player of the week: Gage Moloney, Northwestern- senior QB was 29-of-39 passing for 443 yds, four TDs and an interception, and also scored a rushing touchdown as well.
Defensive player: Dantavis Bowser, Northwestern- senior made 20 tackles (10 assists) with two for a loss during the Trojans’ win at Byrnes.
Offensive lineman: Clint Jenkins, Clover- senior graded out 96 percent grade with six knockdowns during the Blue Eagles’ win over South Point (N.C.).
Defensive lineman: DaQuan Brown, South Pointe- senior made nine tackles, including one for a loss, against St. Frances Academy (Md.).
Special teams: Nick Sciba, Clover- kicker hit 3-of-4 kickoffs for touchbacks, punted three times for a 34.7-yard average, and hit both extra points and a 32-yard field goal.
1A, 2A, 3A schools
Offensive player of the week: Trey Keels, Lewisville- after missing two weeks with an ankle injury, the senior QB was 16-of-21 passing for 273 yards and four touchdowns during the Lions’ 62-8 win over Whitmire.
Defensive player: Robbie Csuhta, Indian Land- sophomore linebacker made 11 tackles (eight solo) and a tackle-for-loss against Broome.
Offensive lineman: Wesley Williamson, Lewisville- graded 80 percent with three knockdowns, three highlight blocks and a pancake during Lewisville’s win over Whitmire.
Co-defensive linemen: William Makowski, Indian Land and Jene Thompson, Lewisville- Makowski made six tackles (five solo efforts), a tackle-for-loss, a sack and a fumble recovery during the Warriors’ loss to Broome; Thompson also made six tackles with two sacks during the Lions’ win over Whitmire.
Special teams: John Erby, Chester- junior was 3-for-3 on extra point attempts and also hit the game-winning 28-yard field goal with 12 seconds left against Lancaster.
State rankings headed into Week Four
South Pointe’s road loss in Maryland dropped the Stallions to No. 2 in the 4A state rankings released Tuesday evening. Myrtle Beach ascended into the top spot in that classification, while Northwestern stayed at No. 3 in 5A. Undefeated Clover, which beat South Point (N.C.) last Friday, is still receiving at least one vote.
Lancaster’s loss to Chester dropped the Bruins to No. 8 in 4A, and earned Chester at least one vote in the 3A poll. Lewisville moved up to No. 3 in 1A after McBee lost to Central and dropped a spot to fourth.
1. Dutch Fork; 2. Westside; 3. Northwestern; 4. Fort Dorchester; 5 Gaffney; 6. Boiling Springs; 7. Spartanburg; 8. Dorman; 9. Greenwood; 10. Sumter
Others receiving votes: Mauldin, Blythewood, Byrnes, Clover, T.L. Hanna, Lexington
1. Myrtle Beach; 2. South Pointe; 3. Hartsville; 4. Ridge View; 5. Belton-Honea Path; 6. Cane Bay; 7. North Myrtle Beach; 8. Lancaster; T9. Union County; T9. North Augusta
Others receiving votes: Greer, Daniel, Greenville, Hilton Head Island, South Aiken, Chapin, Dreher
1. Dillon; 2. Bluffton; 3. Brookland-Cayce; 4. Strom Thurmond; 5. Woodruff; 6. Newberry; 7. Fairfield Central; 8. Bishop England; 9. Chapman; 10. Gilbert
Others receiving votes: Camden, Lake City, Palmetto, Chester, Georgetown, Powdersville, Broome
1. Abbeville; 2. Southside Christian; 3. Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 4. Calhoun County; 5. Cheraw; T6. Batesburg-Leesville; T6. Barnwell; 8. Andrews; 9. Allendale-Fairfax; 10. Chesterfield
Others receiving votes: Carvers Bay, Liberty, Silver Bluff, Saluda, Lee Central
1. Lamar; 2. Lake View; 3. Lewisville; 4. McBee; 5. Wagener-Salley; 6. Cross; 7. C.E. Murray; 8. Baptist Hill; 9. Hemingway; 10. Hunter-Kinard-Tyler
Others receiving votes: Ridge Spring-Monetta, Williston-Elko, Blackville-Hilda, Bethune-Bowman
The S.C. Prep Media Football Poll is conducted by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal with voting from Michael Christopher, Greenwood Index Journal; Bob Castello, Greenville News; Chris Clark, Orangeburg Times and Democrat; Chris Dearing, The State; Joe Hughes, Myrtle Beach Sun News; Kevin Melton, Spartanburg Herald Journal; Lou Bezjak, The State; Lake Morris, Anderson Independent Mail; David Shelton, Charleston Post and Courier; Bret McCormick, The Herald (Rock Hill); Scott Chancey, Florence Morning News and Eric Russell, Aiken Standard.