YORK – The York Cougars scored three times in the last 1:41 of the first half, including two touchdowns in the final 4.9 seconds, and cruised from there to a 49-24 home victory over the Orangeburg-Wilkinson Bruins Thursday night in the first round of the SCHSL Class 4A playoffs.
“Just proud of these boys,” York coach Bobby Carroll said. “They were 0-3 at one time, man. Contrary to popular belief, football is still a chemistry game and you’ve got to have a bond among the players. But they got it back.”
It was the first time York had played in 10 days, and the first time O-W had played in 13 days, so the two coaches decided to move the game up a night.
“We didn’t move this game because of rain,” Carroll wanted to point out. “We’d been practicing since South Pointe and wanted to go ahead and play and Coach (Butch) Crosby (O-W) agreed.”
York led 14-3 when the Bruins came up with a fourth-down end zone interception with 3:19 left in the first half. But Max Necklin returned the favor on the next play with his own interception for the Cougars. He returned the pick 39 yards to the six and York ended up with a Beck Johnston' crossbar-scraping 22-yard field goal. The Cougar defense forced a punt, and Tanner McKinney hit Jorden Evans with a 15-yard pass in the corner of the end zone to make it 23-3 with 4.9 seconds left.
The Bruins let the ensuing kickoff hit the turf and York recovered with 0.7 ticks remaining. McKinney then hit a wide open Ethan Mitchell streaking down the middle of the field for the stunning 24-yard score with no time on the clock. The Cougars led 29-3 at the half.
That final first-half flurry was important, because York had already had three red zone trips come up empty, or else they would have had an even bigger lead.
As it was, those three quick scores squelched any hope the Bruins had left. Necklin’s interception and return set it all in motion.
O-W was led by Thomas Williams with a touchdown reception, Tre'erion Thomas with a rushing touchdown, John Paul White with a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and Aaron Tinker with a PAT and an early field goal.
For York, Stephen Oglesby had 130 yards rushing at halftime and finished with 144 on 17 carries and two first-half scores. Mitchell had two touchdown catches and Evans had seven grabs for 86 yards.
“Ethan can play anywhere on that field probably, except offensive line,” Carroll said. “But if we asked him to, he’d do it.”
McKinney threw for three scores and 234 yards. Tre’Erion Thomas had 27 carries for 154 yards and a score for the Bruins. Nigel Shields hit a 30-yard field goal for the visitors as well.
York plays either Greer or Pickens next Friday. The Bruins finish the season at 4-6.
York 49 Orangeburg-Wilkinson 24
York - Stephen Oglesby 55 run (Beck Johnston kick) 6:51
OW - Aaron Tinker 30 field goal 2:49
York - Oglesby 41 run (Johnston kick) 7:56
York - Johnston 22 field goal 1:41
York - Jorden Evans 15 pass from Tanner McKinney (kick failed) 4.9
York - Ethan Mitchell 24 pass from McKinney (kick failed) 0:00
O-W - Tre-Erion Thomas 52 run (Shields kick) 10:33
York - Frank Thompson 8 run (kick failed) 8:04
O-W - John Paul White 45 fumble return (kick blocked) 5:50
York - Mitchell 10 pass from McKinney (Max Haynes kick) 27.1
York - Jeremiah King 2 run (Haynes kick) 10:03
O-W - Thomas Williams 6 pass from Jyrion George (Thomas run) 4:31
Rushing - York: Stephen Oglesby 17-144; Tanner McKinney 2-(-3); Ethan Mitchell 1-7; Frank Thompson 7-37; JQ Guinn 2-8; Jeremiah King 5-16; Dashawn Brown 1-2; Bo Roberts 1-(-2). OW: Tre’Erion Thomas 27-154.
Passing - York: McKinney 16-27-3-1, 234 yards. OW: George 7-11-1-1, 91 yards.
Receiving - York: Jorden Evans 7-86; Oglesby 2-37; Mitchell 4-87; Thompson 1-1; Brown 1-23.
Records - York: 6-4. O-W: 4-6.