CLOVER — The Clover High School football team defeated Lancaster Friday for the team’s first win of the season.
The team won 42-21.
After the game, Blue Eagle players leaped with joy and Clover fans roared in approval. First-year head coach Chad Smith embraced the moment.
School principal Mark Hopkins and athletic director Carroll Hester extended the glad hand to anyone within reach.
Blue Eagle loyalist Bubba Boyd, whose crafty game-filming is a vital part of the team’s weekly preparations, put it into perspective.
“This is the second biggest win ever for the Clover football team,” Boyd said.
Smith’s flamboyant demeanor and tenacity brought the Easley program from rags to riches. He saw the big picture when he accepted the title of head football coach in Blue Eagle Country.
“Clover is a big school, a one-school community with a fantastic support base,” Smith said at the time. “There’s a passion for football in this community.”
Smith lauded the team’s gritty effort. “You’ve got to win one before you can win two,” Smith said. “We haven’t dwelled on the losing streak.”
Smith has emphasized ball control, a power game within the double-wing offensive scheme designed to methodically move the chains and milk seconds off the clock.
“That’s who we are,” he said.
Blue Eagle quarterback Scott Jackson opened the game with a 66-yard scoring pass to teammate Elijah Plummer.
Smith said he thought the element of surprise might work. “It was well executed,” he said.
Clover amassed 300-plus yards and 21 first downs to Lancaster’s eight.
With the Jackson-to-Plummer aerial setting the pace and the double-wing attack in full force, the “pass-happy” kids from Clover were anything but one-dimensional.
There was Ladarius Adams’ 10-yard TD reception from teammate Coby Hamblen and Jackson’s 28-yard scoring toss to Landon Harkey.
The Blue Eagles found the end zone in more conventional style, with Adams and Tanner Whitley scoring from 5 yards out and Chase Galant plunging through from the 1-yard line.
“This win feels great,” Adams said, surrounded by jubilant teammates and fans. “It’s been more than two years and we got the win. It’s really special, especially for the seniors. It’s a big night.”
Wade Bradley, a senior offensive lineman, echoed Adams’ sentiments. “Our offensive line was ready for the challenge. A win like this builds confidence,” he said.
Harkey, a 6-foot, 4-inch junior tight end, talked about his touchdown reception. “What a game!” Harkey said. “I scored my first touchdown against Lancaster last year and found the end zone tonight. It really felt good finding the end zone.”
This week the Blue Eagles will face perennial title-contending South Pointe.
“South Pointe is extremely talented and can play with anybody,” Smith said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up playing for a championship.”
Smith said he will have the Blue Eagles ready. “It’s another big game. We play good teams all the time,” he said.