To say it was all Cougars Friday night at York Comprehensive High School Stadium would be an understatement.
York dominated in its win over Richland Northeast, 45-0, on senior night to improve to 4-5 on the season and 2-2 in Region 3-4A.
Despite the score, York head coach Dean Boyd thought the team could’ve played better.
“To be honest with you, we didn’t play our best game, especially early,” Boyd told The Herald after the game. “But our kids have worked really hard to get better each and every week, and I’m proud of them because they’ve actually come out every day and worked hard, and it’s hard to do that when you’re 3-5 and struggling against great teams.”
The win, along with Lancaster’s loss on Friday night, earned York a playoff berth.
“It should get us in...” Boyd said. “And for this team, and for where we’ve come from to where we are now, that’s a great accomplishment. Our backs were against the wall; we had to play this as a playoff game tonight, and I thought our kids came out and did that and I’m super proud of them.”
Richland-Northeast fell to 0-10 overall and 0-4 in region play.
York junior wide receiver Deshaun Brown started the game off with a bang when he returned the opening kickoff 97 yards to the house. However, York botched the extra point attempt to leave the score at 6-0 17 seconds into the contest.
After Richland-Northeast turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on a fourth-and-one, York senior quarterback Colby Clayton connected with Brown twice for 19 and 35 yards, respectively, to set the Cougars up at the Cavalier five-yard-line.
Senior running back Jeremiah King got the Cougars down to the one-yard-line after a four yard run, but he would lose four yards on his next carry and the Cavalier defense would get a sack on the subsequent play, forcing York to settle for a field goal try.
Senior kicker Max Haynes’ kick was true from 17 yards out to put York up 9-0 with 7:02 to go in the opening quarter.
After another Cavalier punt, York gave the ball right back when Clayton was picked off by senior defensive back Jared Moore to set Richland-Northeast up at its own 16-yard-line.
However, the Cavaliers would do nothing with it once again and were forced to punt — and a shanked punt gave the Cougars great field position, setting them up at the Cavalier 35-yard-line.
York squandered the gift it was given when sophomore wide receiver Dee Roseboro fumbled, giving the ball back to the Cavaliers with 15 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The York defense forced the Cavaliers to punt once again, and this time York took advantage.
Clayton hit Brown for a 51-yard strike, and to plays later sophomore running back Frank Thompson Jr. plowed through the defense to score a 22-yard touchdown. Senior tight end Khalil Ellis ran in the two-point conversion to put York up 17-0 with 6:44 to go in the half.
After yet another Cavalier punt, York continued to make the visitors pay through the air.
Clayton hit junior wide receiver Aladrion Davis twice on the drive, first for 23 yards, followed by a 25-yard touchdown pass. Haynes’ PAT was good to put the Cougars up 24-0 with 47 seconds to go before the half.
The Cavaliers seemed to be putting a nice drive together after a 50-yard pass from junior quarter back Terrance Purdie to junior wide receiver James McCann. Purdie threw a touchdown pass a couple plays later, but it was called back due to a penalty.
The Cavaliers were then forced to settle for a 41-yard field goal, but senior kicker Selvin Recinos-Tejada’s kick was blocked, and the Cavaliers came up empty.
York wasted no time on its next drive; Clayton hit Davis for a 43-yard pass and later hit Ellis for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 7:25 to go in the third. Haynes’ PAT was true to give York a commanding 31-0 lead.
The Cougars continued their dominance in the fourth quarter when Davis ran in a 4-yard score six seconds into the final frame. Haynes’ extra point put York up 38-0.
After the Cavaliers turned the ball over on downs, York scored again, this time a 15-yard touchdown scamper by King. Senior placekicker Beck Johnston’s PAT split the uprights to put York up 45-0 with 5:17 to go in the game.
The Cougars have a tough task ahead of them when they travel to Rock Hill to take on undefeated South Pointe next week.
“We got a different beast next week in South Pointe,” Boyd said. “They are a good football team and have won all those games, so we’re just gonna try to put a game plan together that we can stay in the ball game with.”