CLOVER — Clover and York will play the 101st game of the team’s storied rivalry when the Cougars enter Clover’s Memorial Stadium Friday night.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. before an anticipated crowd of 8,000 to 9,000.
First-year Blue Eagle head coach Chad Smith wasn’t aware of the York-Clover game’s longevity.
“That’s really something,” Smith said of one of the oldest rivalries in the Carolinas. “It means Clover and York have been playing football since the early 1900s.”
Smith understands the Blue Eagles are playing a talent-laden team, coached by Bobby Carroll.
“Playing a good team like York in a rivalry game is exciting,” he said. “Bobby’s team is well-coached. You look at their linebackers on film. They have been taught how to play the game.”
Blue Eagle senior mainstays Jakob Morrison and Ladarius Adams look forward to the game.
Playing York in the final game of the season means everything to Morrison, a defensive end who stands 6 feet tall and tips the scales at 180 pounds.
“I want to beat York; that’s all that matters,” said Morrison. “It’s our big rivalry game. I never want to lose to York.”
Morrison said the key for the Blue Eagles defensively against the Cougars is to stop the run and defend the pass.
Adams, a premier running back in Region 3-AAAA, who is referred to by teammates and coaches as “LA,” was ready at Monday’s practice.
To say the 5-foot-10, 185-pound bruiser has a burning desire to beat the Cougars.
“The key is to control the ball with our double-wing offense,” he said. “If we can keep the ball for 35 minutes, we will win.”
Though Adams and Morrison would rather beat York than any team on the schedule, both said they like ending the season with a big rivalry game.
Last week, the Blue Eagles lead Fort Mill 21-7 late in the first half. But the Yellow Jackets rallied, extending the lead in the second half, prevailing 35-21.
Fort Mill had no answer for Adams, who gouged the Jacket defense for 235 rushing yards, including touchdown runs of 45 and 52 yards.
R.J. Moore closed out the scoring for Clover with a 13-yard touchdown run. Senior placekicker Adam Edmunds was true on three extra point attempts.
“Our offense was fine against Fort Mill,” said Smith. “We had a first-and-goal inside their 10 and the ref called a personal foul for finishing the block. Our offense was moving the ball. We needed to get them off the field.”
Mindful of the Blue Eagles’ gallant effort against Fort Mill, Smith said he is pleased with the double-wing production at this stage of the season.