CLOVER — Undaunted by Friday’s 40-6 season opening loss to the South Florence Bruins, the Clover High School football team shifts its focus to visitors from north of the border Friday.
The Blue Eagles will host Forestview at Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
The offensive-minded Jaguars will seek to rebound from last week’s topsy-turvy game against Nation Ford in which they scored 56 points, and lost. Nation Ford converted a two-point conversion with 20.3 seconds left on the clock, prevailing 57-56.
First-year Blue Eagle head football coach Chad Smith knows the Jaguars come with an abundance of offensive firepower.
“They have athletes that can make things happen on offense,” Smith said.
But the Blue Eagles will prepare the same, regardless of the opponent, Smith said.
“We want to move the chains and take time off the clock,” Smith said after the team’s grinding Monday evening practice.
Smith said the final score in Clover’s loss to South Florence last week did not tell the whole story.
“Our kids played better than the final score indicated,” he said. “We actually played better than the previous Friday.”
The Blue Eagles had 270 yards rushing but still has room to improve.
“We need to learn to finish and the defense has to make the stop on third down,” he said.
The Blue Eagles had plenty of offensive punch on the game’s first possession, moving the ball from their own 23 to the South Florence 25 before the drive stalled.
Key plays in the drive included Chase Galant’s first-down scamper the Blue Eagle 40.
“It felt good getting into space and making the run,” Galant said. “I had good blocking. Our offense was moving the ball on that first series.”
Moments after Galant advanced the pigskin the Clover 40, R. J. Moore bolted 23 yards to the South Florence 27.
Clover moved the chains on its next possession, highlighted by quarterback Scott Jackson’s first-down aerial to Jacob Morrison.
Smith was glad to see the Blue Eagle offense get on the board in the fourth quarter when South Florence still had its first-team defense on the field.
It was sophomore Cody Payne who found the end zone from six yards out.
“It felt great scoring the touchdown,” said Payne. “It was a good confidence-builder for me and the team.”
Smith said he was appreciative of the large turnout for the season opener.
“Clover fans are really something,” he said. “My father said he sat in the stands and no one bad-mouthed the coach. The fans understand our situation.”
After Friday’s clash with Forestview, the Blue Eagles hit the road Sept. 6 at Spring Valley.
Next will be two home games, beginning Sept. 13 against Boiling Springs. After an open date, the CHS football team will begin Region 3-AAAA play by hosting pass-happy Nation Ford Sept. 27.
All of the Blue Eagle games this season have 7:30 p.m. starting times.