A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the last time Fort Mill won a home football game. It has been corrected in the story.
The York Comprehensive High Cougars (2-3) got five touchdowns from five players in a comfortable 34-17 win over the visiting Fort Mill Yellow Jackets (1-5) Friday night at York Comprehensive High.
Junior Isaiah Burris ran a punt return back 40 yards to open the scoring late in the opening quarter to tally York’s first touchdown at home this year. Junior Dae Dae Smith-Perry bulldozed in for a 4-yard score on the next Cougars possession, and senior quarterback Colby Clayton found junior wideout Deshaun Brown for a 63-yard touchdown just seconds before the halftime horn blew.
York coach Dean Boyd said he was mostly happy with his team’s performance, especially looking ahead to the start of region play at home next week.
“We’re starting everybody 0-0,” Boyd said. “Our plan was to be 1-0 after this week. We have a chance to be in the playoffs, but this game next week against Ridge View won’t be easy for us. It’s gonna be a tough challenge for us. Hopefully the kids will come out and fight and try to get better.”
Fort Mill lost its starting quarterback in the tough road defeat. Senior Dylan Helms appeared to slide on a 7-yard sneak with 2:34 left in the first half, and collapsed on the York Comprehensive 12-yard line. Coaches and sideline officials immediately signaled for a stretcher, and medical professionals quickly treated Helms and fit a cast on his left leg before carting him off the field.
Fort Mill coach Rob McNeely said he hadn’t heard any update on Helms following the game.
“He just gives this team so much, so much heart, so much leadership, so much want-to,” he said. “We’ve go to rally around the team and rally around each other going forward.”
Fort Mill senior kicker Ben Rich knocked home a 32-yard field goal to finish the Yellow Jackets drive following Helms’ injury. It was the Yellow Jackets’ lone offensive score of the half.
York’s Jordan Burris and Weston Hance (4-for-9, 1 TD, 79 passing yards) ran for 40-yard and 28-yard rushing touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, while Fort Mill put up a fight in the second half through T Reaves (4-yard rushing score) and Keyan Mims (53-yard receiving TD).
York outpaced Fort Mill with 411 total yards to 189.
The Cougars gave up two fumbles and two interceptions in Friday’s matchup. York coach Dean Boyd said his team needed to improve on consistency to become a more well-rounded squad.
“I think early, we played well,” he said. “We moved the football, ran the football, but we got sloppy as the game went on. That’s what we’ve been fighting on all year long with consistency. We’ve got to overcome that. If we’re going to be a good football team, we have to learn how to be consistent.”
McNeely said his team knew they needed to keep the pressure on, despite losing its starting QB.
“We gave them things in the first half, but we gave them too many big plays in the second half…” McNeely said. “We don’t need a tragedy like that to get us pumped up.”
KEY TURNING POINT: Deshaun Brown (2 catches for 71 yards) made magic happen on his second-quarter touchdown to keep the York Cougars firmly in the lead.
York quarterback Colby Clayton’s pass found Brown in the flat near the left sideline. Brown sensed too much pressure, reversed field quickly, and was able to outstrip any would-be Yellow Jacket tackler on his way for a long touchdown to give York a 21-3 lead with 8.1 seconds left to play in the half.
KEY PERFORMERS: Connor Rasmussen filled in for Helms under center for Fort Mill, but felt constant pressure from York’s defensive line. Still, he finished with 109 yards and a passing TD to Keyan Mims (2 catches for 72 yards).
Jordan Burris (13 carries for 147 yards) and Jeremiah King (11 carries for 63 yards) combined for more than 200 yards on their own, giving the Cougars a 1-2 punch that Fort Mill couldn’t handle.
NEXT GAME: Fort Mill returns home to face Rock Hill High on Oct. 4. Fort Mill won its last home game on Sept. 6.