High School Football

Will York begin anew in region play? Who else to watch? Here’s your Week 6 preview.

The York football team is looking to define its season by how well the team does in region play.

At 2-3 on the year, the Cougars didn’t start the season the way they wanted to. That said, first year head coach Dean Boyd is only focused on the future — and that starts with the opening of Region 3-4A play against the Ridge View Blazers at home.

“We are all 0-0,” Boyd said. “We have played a very tough non-region schedule, and we play that because I think we have the toughest region in the state. Playing a tough non-region schedule like that helps us to get ready for what we are about to face.”

Stopping Ridge View won’t be easy, and Boyd knows it. The Blazers, much like York, struggled at the start of their season because of a tough non-region schedule; they come into the game 2-3 as well.

“It is really important for us to get off to a good start,” Boyd said. “The games that we have won, we have gotten off to a good start. The ones we have lost, we have gotten off to a bad start. Ridge View is so fast, athletic and physical, we have to get off to a good start.”

Boyd came from Marlboro County, and while the name is not unfamiliar in the York area, the system he is trying to install is.

At least, it is for those on the field.

“It’s a brand-new system, a new coach and a new defensive system,” he said. “The kids are trying to learn everything (without) having large numbers, and they are learning two new systems on both sides of the ball. That has a lot to do with it.”

York also had eight players transfer from the school before Boyd even got the job, once former coach Bobby Carroll stepped down. Seven of those would have been starters for the Cougars this season — including Clover standouts Gabe Carroll (quarterback) and Jaylon Ballard (defensive lineman).

“Take all of that into consideration, it has been a tough transition for us,” Boyd said.

One of the biggest challenges for York against Ridge View is keeping the ball out of the offense’s hands. On the season, York has allowed eight more first downs than its earned (45-53); that said, York is pretty level with its opponents in total offensive yards (1268-1379).

Boyd said the team has also been largely inconsistent. They’ll execute for three or four series, he said, but then regress mid-game.

“We have been so inconsistent,” he said. “(Ridge View) is a big, fast, physical team.

“We have to be on our best game and play with some consistency, which we haven’t been doing.”

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Fort Mill’s Avery Wilcox intercepts a York pass in the first quarter. Andy Burriss Special to The Herald

Friday’s full football schedule

All Friday night kickoffs are set for 7:30 p.m. Great Falls’ matchup with Camden Military Academy was originally scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m., but it was canceled Wednesday afternoon, per Great Falls athletic director Jimmy Duncan.

Rock Hill (4-2) at Fort Mill (1-5)

This will be the first region game for both teams, and for that reason, it’s very important. The winner gets a leg up in both the race for the region title and a playoff berth. The loser will not be eliminated from either, but it’ll have to play well the rest of the way.

Rock Hill, after losing its first two, has won its last four.

Listen: FM 100.1/AM 1340

Nation Ford (3-2) at Clover (6-0)

This matchup will also be the first region contest for both teams, and that makes it very important. Both teams are improved from a year ago: The Falcons are coming off a bye — giving them an extra week to prepare for Clover, a team that has established itself as “the real deal” in its win last week against Irmo.

Clover hasn’t lost all season.

Listen: FM 107.1

Ridge View (2-3) at York (2-4)

Listen: FM 94.3

Lancaster (1-4) at Richland Northeast (0-5)

Lancaster has been up and down thus far this season. A win in the first region game is crucial for them; a loss will not eliminate them from the playoff race or the region title competition.

Listen: Comporium Cable 103

South Pointe (5-0) at Westwood (4-1)

South Pointe has been clicking on all cylinders so far this season. The opening region game is important because a victory gives them a one-game advantage on three other teams, and it also would keep the Stallions’ perfect record intact.

A loss likely won’t damage their playoff possibilities.

Listen: FM 104.1

Chester (5-1) at Indian Land (3-4)

It is the first region game of the year for both teams. The two teams have become rivals in the past few years since they were placed in the same region. The team that wins this game will be in the early lead for the region title.

Last year — amid Chester’s undefeated, state-championship-winning season — the Cyclones barely edged out the Warriors, 12-9.

Listen: WRBK 90.3 FM

Catawba Ridge (2-3) at Charlotte Country Day (5-1)

Catawba Ridge is not in a region for football. However, this game is important for them for two reasons: One, the Copperheads want to get back on the general track of winning, and two, every tough team from Charlotte they play this year will prepare them for next year — a year when head coach Zac Lendyak will return all his starters.

Listen: WRHI.com

Buford (3-3) at Lewisville (2-3)

The Lions dropped their region opener last week. That makes this game more important than usual. A win this week keeps them in good position in the race for the playoffs and keeps them alive for the region title.

Buford, however, is coming off its most impressive win of the year to date against Andrew Jackson — a team that was previously undefeated.

Legion Collegiate (1-2) at Charleston Math and Science (0-3)

Legion Collegiate has shown improvement with each game this fall. This contest will be important as it will provide a measuring stick to see exactly how far the first year program has progressed as the season has unfolded — one that’s been riddled with scheduling conflicts.