With a nickname like L.A., Ladarius Adams needs to be good.
In his first game of the season Friday night, Adams was certainly that for the Clover Blue Eagles, rushing for more than 200 yards on 20 carries and reaching the end zone twice. The still winless Blue Eagles fell 48-21 to Boiling Springs, but it was their highest point total of the campaign and most encouraging effort yet under new head coach Chad Smith. Adams, the senior who missed the first three games of the season with a concussion, was a big reason why.
“Against some of the teams we played earlier in the season, we don’t only score six points if Ledarius is in the game,” Smith said. “Not only does he bring something blocking and running, but I think our other kids really feed off of him.”
Adams had runs of 52 and 35 yards, the longest runs of the season for Clover thus far. A mix of speed and power, Adams’ best athletic trait might be his field vision.
“He’s a very talented runner. He sees stuff well,” Smith said Wednesday. “He’s a great blocker too.”
Smith maintained that more important than Adams’ running is his confidence, which seems to translate to his teammates.
“Ladarius is probably our team leader and Ladarius makes things happen when he’s on the field, whether he’s blocking, tackling, thinking, whatever it is, he goes as hard as he can.”
Adams suffered a concussion during a scrimmage against North Gaston the week before the regular season commenced. By the time the Blue Eagles faced state-ranked Spring Valley in Week Two, they were down seven injured starters, Adams included. Several of those players returned last week, and all of them should be ready to go next week in the Region 3 opener against Nation Ford, thanks to a well-timed bye week.
“As long as nothing stupid happens in practice, we’ll be healthy going into Nation Ford,” Smith said. “To be 100 percent healthy going into conference, which we haven’t been all year, is huge.”
Still rutted in a 22-game losing streak, the Blue Eagles can draw from the strength of their opening four opponents, who are a combined 12-2, and from the bottomless belief of their first-year head coach.
“Honestly, I don’t know of a dang 0-4 team that would be as good as us right now,” Smith said, his L.A.-inspired confidence shining through.
Five questions with Rock Hill’s Deshaun McFadden
We’ll try to get this interview done before they put the music on. That’s a new thing they’re doing here this year, playing music during practice. How have the guys taken to that?
They play the music to try and keep us focused, to make sure we pay attention. That’s why they play it loud.
What’s it do to the mood?
It usually depends on what kind of music it is. If it’s music that will get us hype, then everybody’s ready, everybody goes hard. Everybody does their assignments.
What do you think about the music on coach (Bubba) Pittman’s iPhone or iPod?
The music? Well, it’s not my type of music ...
What kind of music is it?
It’s more of R&B, some slow jams.
Like mood music?
Yeah, something you could dance to in a ballroom.
Say you had one song on you iPhone or iPod that you could listen to, what’s your go-to jam?
“Ooh Kill ‘Em” by Terio.
Here’s my segue: There’s going to be some offensive music on the field Friday night when you guys play Boiling Springs. We’re not gambling on this game, but if the over/under were 60 between these two good offensive teams, do you think it will be over 60 points combined, or under?
I would say under. They’re both good offenses, but we’re both good defenses. I think it’s probably gonna be a good game Friday.
See the full video interview with Deshaun McFadden below.
Led by locals, N. Greenville beats VMI
The North Greenville Crusaders beat Virginia Military 37-24 last week, the Division II program’s first win over an FCS opponent since 2010. Jeff Carrington’s Crusaders held VMI to just 22 yards rushing, and locals were in on the defensive stinginess. Freshman Tony Godbolt (Fort Mill HS) recorded a career-high seven tackles, as did redshirt-freshman Reubyn Walker (Northwestern HS), who also notched seven stops, including a tackle-for-loss and a half sack. North Greenville (2-0) hosts Tusculum Saturday in a South Atlantic Conference contest.
McClure top tackler in Coastal’s victory
Former Rock Hill Bearcat Mike McClure led the No. 20 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (3-0) with 10 tackles in their 51-32 win over No. 25 Eastern Kentucky last Saturday.
McClure is second on the team behind fellow linebacker and preseason FCS All-American Quin Backus with 31 tackles, and he’s also pitched in 1.5 tackles-for-loss. McClure’s average of 10.3 stops per game is third best in the Big South Conference. The Chanticleers host Hampton Saturday.
Northwestern up to No. 11 in USA Today
After beating South Carolina’s No. 1 team Byrnes, Northwestern assumed that mantle. The Trojans have bypassed the Rebels nationally too.
Kyle Richardson’s 4-0 team moved up to No. 17 in USA Today’s Super 25, while Byrnes (2-1) dropped to 20th. Northwestern is also in the top-25 in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 (No. 12), the Freeman Computer Ratings (No. 12), and the Rivals100 (No. 11).
Undefeated York (3-0) joined the Trojans in the Rivals poll, appearing at No. 85.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T