ROCK HILL — Herald correspondent
The No. 1 Northwestern Trojans controlled the football for less than three minutes in the first half of Fridays Class 4A-Region 3 contest against the Clover Blue Eagles.
The Trojans, however, had no trouble controlling the scoreboard. Mason Rudolph threw four second-quarter touchdown passes to Quadariuous Fair to break open a 49-6 victory, but it wasnt without a few tense moments early.
When you are playing Clover and that style you know your possessions are going to be limited, Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said. We had just 13 offensive snaps in the first quarter. Thats the thing you fear as an offense when you get lulled to sleep standing on the sideline, but our offense did a great job.
Clover (0-7, 0-3) received a well-deserved ovation from its fans after the first quarter. The Blue Eagles ran 7:47 off the clock on its opening drive. Clover ran 17 plays for 61 yards, led by Ladarius Adams eight carries for 40 yards. Northwestern (7-0, 3-0) had the ball for just 34 seconds.
The reality of the records set in for the second quarter. Adams left with an injury. The Trojans had short fields set up by an interception by Jaquavious Mackey, a blocked punt by Brayon McCoy and an electrifying 58-yard punt return by Dupree Hart.
The thing is losing Adams didnt do us any favors but at the same time we made too many mistakes, Clover coach Chad Smith said. Our offensive line did a great job all night, especially on that first drive, but then we get two false starts and have to punt. We just made too many mistakes.
Those miscues resulted in four touchdown passes from Rudolph to Fair and a 28-0 halftime lead. Northwestern had 2:45 of time of possession in the first half.
On three of those scores (Quadariuous) was the third or fourth read, Richardson said. He just happened to be open. He did a good job of catching the ball with his hands and getting north to score.
The Trojans put the game away with back-to-back touchdowns from Hart to start the second half one on a 20-yard run and the other on a 29-yard screen pass sprung with a block from Fair. Clover broke the shutout with a 43-yard interception return by Chase Galant with 10:44 remaining. T.J. Robinson capped the scoring for Northwestern with a 21-yard score.
NORTHWESTERN 49, CLOVER 6
NW-Mason Rudolph 38 pass to Quadariuous Fair (Sully Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 20 pass to Fair (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 5 pass to Fair (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 13 pass to Fair (Foy kick)
NW-Dupree Hart 20 run (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 29 pass to Hart (Foy kick)
C-Chase Galant 43 interception return (Kick failed)
NW-T.J. Robinson 21 run (Foy kick)
RUSHING CLOVER: Ladarius Adams 9-42, Zach Conrad 7-17, R.J. Moore 13-5, Tanner Whitley 5-15, Galant 7-20, Keyshawn Pressley 4-11, Morrison 5-20, Scott Jackson 5-14, Noah Lindsay 1-6, Rivington Lambert 1-4. NORTHWESTERN: T.J. Robinson 4-36, Hart 1-20, Rudolph 2-8, Julian Shockley 1-8, Chris Bowler 1-0, Quinton Bracey 1-1.
PASSING CLOVER: Jackson 3-6-1, 28 yards, Lindsay 0-1-0, 0 yards. NORTHWESTERN: Rudolph 14-16-0, 215 yards; Matthew Worley 0-1-0, 0 yards. Harper Woods 0-1-1, 0 yards.
RECEIVING CLOVER: Galant 2-20, Ben Forbes 1-8. NORTHWESTERN: Fair 6-97, Dupree Hart 4-93, Davion Blake 2-16, Jaquavious Mackey 1-2, Logan Rudolph 1-7.
RECORDS Clover 0-7 (0-3), Northwestern 7-0 (3-0).