Coming off last week’s two-point home loss to Westwood, members of the Blue Eagles football team are determined to win Friday night.
They’ll get their chance to avenge last week’s 17-15 loss when White Knoll visits Memorial Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
“We were in a position to win,” head coach Chad Smith said of the loss to the Red Hawks. “We were unable to convert a fourth-and-two at Westwood’s 11, and missed a field goal.”
Smith said he is looking for the Blue Eagles to get over the hump. “We need that first win,” he said. “There’s nothing like a win to turn a season around.”
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With both teams featuring run-oriented offenses, Smith said, every possession counts. “It’ll be a quick game,” he said.
The Timberwolves operate out of the run-friendly “I” formation, and the Blue Eagles’ double-wing attack is all about the run as well.
“The run game is their bread and butter, and ours, too,” said Smith.
The Timberwolves opened the season with a 49-21 loss to an unbeaten Fort Mill team and were beaten 45-13 by Wando.
“The Wando game was 13-13 in the third quarter,” said Smith. “I don’t know what happened. Dean Howell is a fantastic coach.”
Leading the Timberwolves’ offense is junior quarterback Calev Grubbs, who stands 5-foot-10 and 162 pounds.
The ground-oriented attack features senior running backs E’Mond Brown (5-11, 189 pounds) and Rashard Jones (5-7, 176).
Defensively, White Knoll is led a by outside linebacker Phillip Brown (5-6, 174) and linebacker Caleb Brian (5-9, 182).
Senior nose guard Chris Miller, who stands 6-2 and tips the scales at 257 pounds, makes his presence felt in the Timberwolves’ defensive scheme.
White Knoll plays in a realigned Midlands region that includes South Aiken, Irmo, North Augusta, Lexington and River Bluff.
The Timberwolves won their share of games last season, including victories against Flora 14-8, Aiken 35-20, Airport 21-17, Lugoff-Elgin 24-20, Carolina Forest 55-34 and Mid-Carolina 43-13.
Playing at home, the Blue Eagles grabbed a 7-0 lead in dramatic fashion last week against Westwood.
Senior Coby Hamblen forced a fumble, then recovered. The defensive play set the stage for senior running back R.J. Moore’s eight-yard touchdown run.
Westwoood scored in the second quarter to tie the game at seven entering halftime.
The Red Hawks scored 10 points in the second half to go up 17-7.
The Blue Eagles sliced the lead to two after junior running back Colton Barnes scored on a nine-yard touchdown run, and Moore got into the end zone for the two-point conversion.
The Blue Eagles attempted an onside kick but were unable to recover, allowing Westwood to run out the clock.
“Our kids played hard,” said Smith. “Westwood is the best team we’ve played this year.”
Smith said the Blue Eagles’ first home game of the season had a lively atmosphere.
“The band, the cheerleaders, a big home crowd – I knew about Clover’s great support base when I accepted the job as head coach here,” he said.
Smith said he also likes what he sees in this year’s Blue Eagles team.
“Looking at the film, our kids are coming together,” he said. “We need to get that first win and go from there. I believe we can beat any team we play.”