York’s football team lost a pair of expected contributors over the weekend, two weeks before the team’s season opener against Rock Hill.
Quarterback Brayden Hawkins and receiver Wally Wilmore have withdrawn from the school.
“Those are two fine young men that have left this program and we wish them the very best in all that they do,” said York coach Bobby Carroll.
Hawkins said in a Twitter message that he’s enrolling at Dillon High School. The Wildcats have won four straight state titles in the 2A classification, and the quarterback for all four - Avery McCall - has graduated. Hawkins said all of his dad’s general contracting business is in Florence right now, but he declined to expound on his reasons for leaving York.
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Carroll said Wilmore’s parents never told him why their son would be leaving the school.
Wilmore told a reporter from The Herald in a Twitter message that he’s enrolled at Northwestern.
“I wish the Cougars the best this season,” he said. “Those guys have been my teammates for the past three seasons and I love them all and wish them the best.”
The Cougars host Laurens Friday night in the Bank of York scrimmage, before opening the season on Aug. 26 at Rock Hill High.
Wilmore was an All-Area pick each of the last two seasons, helping the Cougars to the 4A Division II state final in 2014 as a top receiver, before quarterbacking the team for most of last season. He has scholarship offers from Furman, Army, Navy and The Citadel, as well as a few others.
Many had high hopes for the York offense this season with Hawkins - a true pocket passer - at the helm. In his stead, senior Shandon Cobb, a three-year varsity player that’s lined up as a wide receiver the last two years, will take the offensive reins.
“He’s doing absolutely wonderful,” said Carroll.
York’s coach said that 10th-grader Ethan Mitchell will get some looks, too.
Cobb is a slithery and quick runner with a pretty good arm - he’s an outfielder for the York baseball team in the spring - and he took snaps at QB all summer long in anticipation of being the team’s emergency backup quarterback. Cobb was this senior class’ quarterback in middle school and has a chance to be the main guy for the Cougars after two years spent in the shadows of other players.
“The chemistry of a football team is huge,” Carroll said. “Sometimes kids that aren’t from the hometown in which you play, that chemistry never actually gets together. Well, the team that we have out there right now is kids that have been playing together for a long, long time.”
Carroll called Monday’s practice the best the Cougars have had this year.
“They’ve got each others’ backs,” said Carroll. “I don’t know how many games we’ll win but to see a group of kids rally around like that is unbelievable.”