GREENWOOD -- If Clover coach Jet Turner were saving those back-page-of-the-playbook trick calls for special occasions, the second round of the playoffs was a definite reason to break one out.
He pulled a beauty out of his sleeve Friday and turned the Blue Eagles into a formidable contender for the state title.
"We've had (that play) all year," said Turner, after the Blue Eagles used Chris Lindsay's fake field goal touchdown pass to Brooks McCarter just before the half to set up a 21-9 upset over defending state champ Greenwood. "We never ran it until now.
"I felt like we had the right time for it."
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Clover (11-2) scored a touchdown with 55 seconds before the half after stuffing Greenwood (11-2) on a fourth-and-short. Trying to get his team in position for points before the buzzer, Greenwood quarterback Christian Powell came out after the Blue Eagles' TD and thought he spied an open man in the left flat.
The only person there was Clover's Ricky Moore, who intercepted at Greenwood's 25-yard line.
The Blue Eagles tried to punch it in but were whistled for holding on third-and-9. Backed up on Greenwood's 28 with only 7.1 seconds to go, Turner called timeout.
To the casual eye, he bled the clock before sending place-kicker Matt Patterson out for a 45-yard field goal. What he really did was prepare to yank Greenwood's pants down.
Patterson set up, stepping forward once the snap came in. Lindsay, in at blocker, stepped off the line and ran behind holder Will Hall.
Hall pitched the ball to Lindsay, and Lindsay sprinted right until he saw what he was supposed to see. There was McCarter, burning his man toward the end zone.
The ball was in the air before Greenwood realized what was going on. As the Clover crowd began screaming and the Greenwood fans began covering their mouths, Lindsay's slow spiral careened toward McCarter, who gathered it for a touchdown as the half ended.
"No doubt," grinned Lindsay. "He was wide open."
The score was only 14-0, and there was a full half to play. It might as well have been 50-0 -- Greenwood never got over the shock, and although it scored nine points in the second half, the game was salted with little trouble.
Greenwood notched a field goal on its first possession of the second half and forced a punt, but the Blue Eagles returned the favor. Turner shelved the tricks and went back to his bread-and-butter -- the Wing-T rushing attack, as predictable as it is punishing.
Clover chewed up 85 yards in 18 plays, kept alive by the bullish Tyron Douglas breaking through tackles for drive-saving downs. Steven Sanders and Montae Monroe couldn't break any of the big runs they had in the first half but kept piling into the line for short gains, keeping the clock running and the chains moving.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Matt Endicott handed off to Moore at the 2, and Moore was stood up behind the line. The junior kept churning, kept driving and pushed his way across the goal line.
"That defense ..." Moore said, shaking his head, "it's a stone wall. You know what we're going to do -- we're going to run it. You just got to stop it."
Greenwood notched a touchdown with 4:42 to go, but once the Blue Eagles got the ball back, they posted one more big play. Facing fourth-and-4 from Greenwood's 42, still time for a comeback, Endicott barked a hard count, watched Greenwood jump for a first-down-producing penalty and pumped his fist.
All Turner had to do was wait for the final clock and join the party.
"It was huge," Turner said of the fake. "For us to be able to get those points, we were able to give us a little bit of momentum."
Clover advanced to the lower bracket championship next week and will travel to Ridge View. Some have already said Greenwood was the biggest hurdle for Clover, which sets up a nice situation.
"Defending state champs, it was big," Moore said. "We've just got to step it up."
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