Were you surprised by Clover’s offensive outburst in its season-opening 56-26 win over Ashbrook?
Blue Eagles coach Brian Lane was not.
“You get in there, you do what you do, you don’t really worry what everybody else thinks or says,” Lane said Tuesday after the Tri-County Coaches Association gathering in Fort Mill. “You know that you’ve been in there preparing and the kids have been preparing, and that’s all you can do.”
Lane’s quarterback, Garrett Miller, was just picked the 4A, 5A classification’s offensive player of the week by the group of coaches about 30 minutes before Lane’s chat with a reporter. Miller completed 86 percent of his passes for nearly 400 yards and three scores against Ashbrook and Lane gushed about him after the game to the Gaston Gazette: “He’s a natural, he was meant for this what we’re doing. He’s a smart kid, a team captain. I’m just blessed he’s on the team. I wish he was a junior.”
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Miller quarterbacked the Blue Eagles in the Wing-T last year but has navigated the offensive transition smoothly. Clover had 547 yards of total offense against the Green Wave, including 160 yards on the ground and an almost Wing-T-like 5.3-yard per carry average. And naturally, a certain sports reporter based in Rock Hill picked Clover to finish last in Region 4-5A this season. (Sigh.)
Lane, the former Byrnes and Woodruff coach, also had plenty of praise for Clover receivers Zion Robbins and Heze Massey, who only played basketball before Lane’s arrival. Both had exciting debuts last Friday in Gastonia.
Massey caught two touchdown passes and Lane said he should have had a third, only for a flag that Clover’s sideline didn’t agree with to fly through the air and negate the score. Robbins caught a 68-yard touchdown pass and led the Blue Eagles with 138 yards receiving.
“That’s made a little bit of difference in the atmosphere of the school right now,” Lane said about the team’s newcomers.
Clover out-scored Ashbrook 28-6 in the second half, a dramatic shift Lane credited partly to adjustments made by his defensive coaches during the intermission, and the fast pace with which his team played, that eventually wore down the Green Wave. That will be part of the game plan again on Friday, though whether it works as well against Forestview, an athletic spread offensive team that somewhat mirrors Clover, remains to be seen.
Despite Clover’s season-opening success, Lane isn’t choosy when it comes to results.
“I don’t care if we win by one point; a win is a win,” he said. “That’s what we try to do, win and make Clover proud.”