BELMONT, N.C. — Friday night was proof that two schools can play the same offense with coaches from the same family tree and be as different as night and day.
South Point of Belmont hammered Clover 63-0 in the season opener for both teams, spoiling a homecoming for new Blue Eagles coach John Devine.
The fact he had a successful 15-year run at South Point - and had worked with many of the current Red Raiders' coaching staff members - was little consolation to him in his new job, making him wonder how he'd be received when he went back to his new home.
"If I was them people in Clover, I'd be raising hell right now," Devine said, shaking his head. "There are better days ahead. They better come soon."
Devine got no hospitality, as South Point stuck it to the visitors from the start. The Red Raiders went for the onsides kick to open the game (recovered it), did it again in the second quarter (recovered that one too) and grabbed another field position advantage when Clover's LaDarius Adams couldn't handle a pooch kick (which could have been a flag).
"That's my fault," Devine said. "We weren't surprised, we just couldn't hang onto it."
Coupled with a powerful triple-option rushing attack that racked up 285 yards in the first half, the Red Raiders rolled to a 42-0 halftime lead.
South Point senior running back Troy Leeper had 139 of those yards on 11 carries, three of them for touchdowns (of 29, 42 and 1 yards) before the break. But testament to the way the night went, he wasn't even South Point's leading rusher. That was backup Tyler Bray, who had 169 yards on 13 carries, including touchdowns of 75 and 32 yards.
When Clover did have the ball (not often), the Blue Eagles weren't able to do much with it.
South Point outgained Clover 451-51 on the night, with most of the damage coming early.
In the second half, South Point coach Mickey Lineberger was content to run the ball up the middle and bleed the clock.
It was a complete effort for the Red Raiders, but Devine couldn't get past the complete breakdown by his side.
"We didn't block," Devine began when asked to assess the damage. "We didn't tackle. We didn't hang onto the ball. We didn't run with it. We didn't catch it. We lined up offsides.
"Every which way we could find to put it on the ground, we did (six fumbles, four lost)."
It got no better in the second half, when South Point's Ramon Foster took the opening kickoff 90 yards to set up Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Horne's third touchdown (two rushing, one passing) just over a minute into the third quarter. At that point, with a 49-0 lead, South Point cleared the benches. It was a generous gesture, but didn't change much, as the Red Raiders continued to run up and down the field.
The loss snapped a 15-game winning streak against Gaston County, N.C., teams for the Blue Eagles, dating back to 2004.
SOUTH POINT 63
SP -- Troy Leeper 29 run (Dayton Rogers kick).
SP -- Patrick Horne 15 run (Rogers kick).
SP -- Tyler Bray 75 run (Rogers kick).
SP -- Troy Leeper 42 run (Rogers kick).
SP -- Troy Leeper 1 run (Rogers kick).
SP -- Patrick Horne 17 pass to Ramon Costner (Rogers kick).
SP -- Patrick Horne 8 run (Rogers kick).
SP -- Tyler Bray 32 run (Rogers kick).
SP -- Devan Robbins 16 run (Rogers kick).
RUSHING -- South Point: Troy Leeper 12-139, Devan Robbins 3-23, Patrick Horne 15-75, Tyler Bray 13-169, Chase Hannifin 3-5, Dereck Perry 2-2. Clover: Ryan Moore 13-41, Zavian Sherer 3-(-11), LaDarius Adams 2-6, Ta Long 10-7.
PASSING -- South Point: Horne 2-2-0, 38 yards; Perry 0-1-0. Clover: Ta Long 1-4-0, 8 yards.
RECEIVING -- South Point: Devan Robbins 1-27, Ramon Costner 1-17. Clover: Justin Cates 1-8.
RECORDS: South Point 1-0, Clover 0-1.
Darin Gantt 326-4312