CLOVER — Corey Dover's played a lot of football against Clover. But Friday night, the York Comprehensive High senior did something he's never done before -- win.
Dover made timely plays on both sides of the ball in a short span of time, sparking the Cougars to a 15-0 win over their neighbors and snapping a five-game losing streak to the Blue Eagles.
Dover's interception on the first play of the second quarter helped establish momentum, and after a 44-yard run by Rominique Mobley, Dover finished it himself, flipping into the end zone after a 6-yard touchdown run.
Going both ways represents a new role for Dover, who was once York's starting quarterback. But the lanky senior was all smiles, and didn't care as long as he didn't have to suffer another loss to the Blue Eagles.
"I will do whatever I have to do to win this game," Dover said. "It doesn't bother me about not playing quarterback, because we're here to win. We've got another good quarterback here now (Spencer Carroll), so I don't mind at all.
"I haven't been able to enjoy one like this, so I'll do anything to help."
The win improved York to 3-2, but perhaps most importantly, was the first in the series since 2005.
"It's time to restore order to this county," first-year York coach Bobby Carroll said. "At least to our little part of it over here."
The game was short on highlights and artistry, but the Cougars played stingy defense.
Clover gained just 150 yards on the night, and 121 of them came on 31 hard-earned carries by fullback Ryan Moore. The York defense tightened considerably in the second half, allowing just 43 yards after the break. And to be honest, neither side did much with the ball all night.
Clover gained 107 yards in the first half, but 52 of them came on one run by Moore. The burly fullback had 18 carries for 58 yards at halftime otherwise. Likewise, 44 of York's 99 yards in the first half came on Mobley's dash.
So it's a good thing York played so tight on the stop-side, since they muffed three punts they were fortunate to recover, and committed 105 yards worth of penalties, some ill-timed to keep Clover (2-3) close.
Clover's one substantial drive of the third quarter was assisted by a third-down facemask penalty on York, but Moore's fumble at the 11 was scooped up by Mobley. Coupled with a blocked field goal earlier in the game, Clover coach John Devine rued the missed chances, knowing his side didn't have much margin for error.
"Our kids are disappointed in the results, but as coaches, we're not disappointed at all with the effort with which we played," Devine said. "Execution, yes. But the effort was there.
"We got the ball down there a couple of times, but when you get close and can't punch it in it really takes the momentum away.
York padded their lead in the third quarter when Spencer Carroll hit Reggie McClain for a touchdown pass, and then ran in the two-point conversion himself.
That was plenty of points for Carroll, who praised his defensive coaches for their preparations for Clover's option attack.
"To win a rivalry game like this, my hat's off to our defense," Bobby Carroll said. "Football's undergone a tremendous change the last couple of years. It used to be, you lined up with two or three running backs and went at it. Now everybody's in the spread, and that's all you see. So to come in here and play the way we did against a good Clover team, our coaches and kids just did an incredible job."
Clover junior Erick Seslar was knocked out in the first quarter, suffering an apparent concussion. That caused a 15-minute delay while trainers and first responders attended to him. He was carried off the field on a stretcher, but Clover coaches said he had full movement in his arms and legs and was conscious moments later.
Devine said Seslar was taken to the hospital for X-rays, but the initial prognosis was good.
Darin Gantt 803-326-4312