Seeking to rebound from a 41-36 loss to White Knoll in a two-hour-plus lightning-delayed game, the Clover High School football team shifts its focus to Blythewood.
The Blue Eagle team, down but not out of the region mix, faces the Columbia-based Bengals Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Blythewood football stadium.
Blythewood operates out of the spread formation, led by seasoned quarterback David Isreal. Defensive standouts include linebacker Hasson Belton and defensive back Dominique Lemon.
The Bengals of coach Dan Morgan are coming off an open date.
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“They are athletic,” CHS head coach Chad Smith said of Friday’s opponent. “They have talented players on both sides of the ball.”
In the narrow loss to White Knoll, the Blue Eagles had a difficult time keeping Timberwolves quarterback Caley Grubbs in the pocket. The fleet-footed signal-caller broke containment, finding his way to the end zone on several runs.
Speaking from his office Monday afternoon, Smith said changes are being made on the defensive side of the ball this week.
“We are evaluating personnel to help stop the run,” he said.
Though the Blue Eagles lost, Smith saw positives from which to build.
“The effort was fantastic,” said Smith. “I know our fans had to leave because of the lightning. I wish they could’ve seen the whole game.”
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Blue Eagles had a couple of defensive gems early in the second quarter.
It started when senior middle linebacker Taylor Foster nailed a White Knoll ball carrier for a sizable loss.
“We had some big plays tonight,” Foster said after the game. “I take pride in playing defense and love being involved in the defensive effort.
With White Knoll in punt formation in the shadow of its goal-line, senior defensive stalwart Rivington Lambert blocked and recovered the punt.
Lambert scored a touchdown from 4 yards out. Nate Morrison scored the two-point conversion, pushing the Blue Eagles ahead 8-7.
“I saw I had a chance to block the punt and was able to recover the ball and score,” said Lambert. “It felt great.”
With Clover trailing 21-8 in the third quarter, junior running back Colton Barnes scored a TD that sliced the lead to single digits.
After the Timberwolves expanded the lead to double digits on a quarterback keeper, Coby Hamblen found the end zone with 4:02 left in the game and Clover was down by six.
Once again, Grubbs answered, this time on an 80-yard TD scamper.
Barnes scored the final touchdown of the game from close range with 1:45 left. Sam Edwards added the point after and the Blue Eagles left the field five points shy.
Blue Eagle quarterback Noah Lindsay had 101 yards rushing on 13 carries and 68 yards passing.