Riding the momentum of a win against Pickens, the Clover Blue Eagles will travel to Anderson on Friday to play Westside at 7:30 p.m. in the season-opener.
The Blue Eagles were clicking on all cylinders in the Aug. 16 Pickens Jamboree, prevailing 28-0 in one half.
While saying the jamboree was only a scrimmage, head coach Chad Smith said the Blue Eagles gave a solid performance.
“We were pleased that the execution was better than a previous scrimmage at Broome,” said Smith. “Scoring 28 points against Pickens was a confidence-builder.”
Preseason success aside, Smith said, the Blue Eagles will face a real challenge in Friday’s regular-season showdown at Westside.
The highlight of the Rams’ 2013 football season was a 38-14 thrashing of Mann; however, there were a few setbacks along the way, including a gut-wrenching 28-27 loss to Laurens and a 7-6 down-to-the-wire loss to Airport.
“Westside is very athletic,” Smith said.
The Rams, determined to avenge last year’s losses, raised more than a few eyebrows when they defeated perennial powerhouse Gaffney by two touchdowns in jamboree action last week.
Smith said he expects Westside to bring its “A” game when Clover enters the Westside stadium Friday.
Smith said he is a firm believer in the ground-oriented double-wing attack and its potential to dominate possession time. Asked if the Blue Eagles’ double-wing offensive could run the clock for an entire quarter and score, Smith said, “That’s what the double-wing was built to do.”
The Blue Eagles kept eventual state-champion Northwestern’s offense off the field for seemingly an eternity in last year’s game.
If the Blue Eagles are to succeed in Region 3-AAAA this season, quarterback Noah Lindsay and center Gavin Jenkins will have a lot to do with it.
Lindsay, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound junior signal-caller, and Jenkins, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound lineman, both said the quarterback-center exchange of the football is vital to the success of the double-wing alignment.
Jenkins said a bad snap can be costly in a close game, saying he’s had a lot of practice time with his longtime teammate.
“I’ve been snapping for Noah since the seventh grade,” he said. “We have a smooth center-quarterback exchange.”
“Gavin’s center snap has a good feel,” Lindsay said. “We know the exchange has to be smooth to execute the double-wing.”
In addition to concerns about the center-quarterback exchange, Jenkins said, he has to carry out the blocking assignments; however, “It’s not a problem,” he said. “Coach Smith makes sure everything is in order.”
Lindsay said he knows what it takes to make the offense click: “The line-blocking and the running backs making the reads are vital to the success of the offense,” he said.
Smith, who cut his teeth on the wing-T and has since embraced the double-wing, maintains play-calling responsibilities as offensive coordinator.
“I want to be in the middle of what’s going on,” he said. “I can’t believe I gave up my offensive-line responsibilities.”
Smith said the key to success Friday at Westside, and in every game this season, is crisp execution of the double-wing.
“We’ve got to improve every practice, every game,” said Smith. “It’s all about offensive execution, beginning Friday night.
“We need to take the field Friday night and punch them in the mouth,” Lindsay said.