Max Elliott stole the show Friday night in Clover's home-opening 39-6 win over Ashbrook at Memorial Stadium.
The Blue Eagles were without the services of tailback Tyron Douglas, but it didn't matter, as Elliott, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior fullback, picked up where he left off a week ago. Last week against South Point (N.C.), he found the end zone three times. On Friday, he outdid himself against the Green Wave with five touchdowns.
Elliott did much of the work on the ground, collecting 80 yards on 10 carries, including three rushing scores. His final touchdown came with 3:46 left in the game. Aaron Miller floated a pass into the end zone that only Elliott could get. He hauled in the 15-yard toss.
“Max is a heck of a football player and people need to take notice of him because he's a dadgum player” said Clover coach Jet Turner. “He's all over the place, and he's always been a heck of a football player. He's a big-time player.”
It didn't take long for the Blue Eagles to strike as Elliott took a handoff on the third play of the game straight up the middle for a 44-yard score.
Clover (2-0) led 27-0 before the Green Wave made the necessary adjustments to get on the board. Had the Blue Eagles not muffed a punt in the second quarter, the Green Wave would have been held scoreless.
Ashbrook quarterback Austin Scott connected on a 34-yard pass on his first attempt of the game but struggled to evade the Blue Eagles defense. Clover immediately picked up its pressure and forced the Green Wave into a three-and-out on the next series.
On the second three-and-out, Clover's special teams came up huge. A helmet-popping block by Tra Latta freed up Elliott for a 47-yard punt return with 3:10 to go in the first quarter.
Clover appeared to have forced Ashbrook (0-2) into a three-and-out, but a mishandled punt recovery extended the Green Wave drive. Six plays later, Jordan Toomer forced his way into the end zone from 4 yards out, giving his team its only points.
“We had a couple miscues on PATs and then we let the ball hit us, but our kids are good at fighting through adversity,” Turner said. “We've had a good number of adverse situations the first couple of weeks but we just keep plugging along and try to get better.”
The Blue Eagles will need to continue plugging along if they are to make a run for the state championship. Clover last won the title in 2007.
Miller, the Blue Eagles' 5-11 junior quarterback, continues to experiment with a passing attack. The new wrinkle in the Clover offense still needs some tweaking, but has great potential when Miller begins to hook up with his receivers. He completed just two of six passes for 20 yards.
“I was a little disappointed in that we had some chances for big plays,” he said, “but you know we'll get there. (Ashbrook) was getting a lot of pressure on us so we'll get better.”
Clover concludes its three-game swing against North Carolina opponents next week when the Forestview Jaguars roll into to town for a 7:30 p.m. game.
CLOVER 39, ASHBROOK 6
C — Max Elliot 44 run (Jonathan Faile kick)
C — Elliott 47 punt return (Faile kick)
C — Carothers 21 run (kick failed)
C — Elliot 8 run (Faile kick)
A — Jordan Toomer 4 run (kick failed)
C — Elliott 3 run (Faile kick)
C — Aaron Miller 15 pass to Elliott (kick failed)
RUSHING—Clover: Miller 6-28, Elliott 10-80, Carothers 12-58, BJ Hinton 3-27, Trey Childress 3-19, Garrett Duke 1-1, Taylor Whitley 1-(-2), Quontavious Kennedy 1-5, Desmond Wright 1-2. Ashbrook: Preston Watts 12-77, Austin Scott 1-(-11), Justin Shempert 1-(-4), Angelo Crawford 7-20, Dontrae Meeks 6-12, Jordan Toomer 6-20.
PASSING—Clover: Miller 2-6-20-0, Elliott 0-0-0-0. Ashbrook: Scott 3-19-27-1, Meeks 2-2-48-0.
RECEIVING—Clover: Childress 1-5, Elliott 1-15. Ashbrook: Shempert 1-9, Watts 2-(-11), Toomer 1-54, Darius Vercher 1-(-2).
RECORDS—Clover 2-0. Ashbrook 0-2.
CHESTERFIELD 48, FORT MILL 7 — In Fort Mill, onside kicks, reverses and a live-wire shotgun spread-option offense.
The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets showed all of the above against the two-time defending Class A champion Chesterfield Rams in the season opener for both teams Friday.
Special-teams blunders, turnovers and unsportsmanlike penalties.
That's what showed the Yellow Jackets (0-1) are still a work in progress. The visiting Rams (1-0) took advantage of a 96-yard interception return by Alex Moses to pull away.
Fort Mill coach Ed Susi said that proved to be the game-changer.
“We're going for the tie or trying to go ahead there,” Susi said. “That was huge. You can't give a team like that breaks.”
The Yellow Jackets wasted less than 90 seconds getting on the board. After Dwayne Grainger's 28-yard kick return, sophomore quarterback Preston Fry lofted a 34-yard fade to Asa Kryst to the Chesterfield 18-yard line.
Then, on third and 10, Fry zipped a slant pass to Trent Butler, who shielded his defender and sprinted 18 yards for the touchdown.
“Preston had some great reads,” Susi said. “We were kind of hoping to catch them there because their defense was getting nosey. We needed something good to happen right away.”
Susi ordered up the onside kick afterward, but Chesterfield recovered. Derrick McQueen scored on a 1-yard TD four plays later to tie the game with 9:23 left in the first quarter. The Rams then took advantage of a botched punt, which Seth Truesdale turned into a 36-yard TD pass to Jonathan Murvin.
Chesterfield missed the point after but took a 13-7 lead into the second quarter.
The Yellow Jackets threatened on the ensuing drive, marching 57 yards on seven plays to the Chesterfield 3-yard line. Kryst provided a 19-yard reception, and Butler a 10-yard reverse to keep the drive moving.
Fort Mill faced a third-and-goal, and Fry rolled out on a bootleg. His pass was tipped, however, and Moses happened to be in the right spot. Moses streaked 96 yards down the left sideline for the TD, giving the Rams a 20-7 lead.
The Yellow Jackets fumbled on their first play from scrimmage on the next drive, which Truesdale again cashed in for a 21-yard TD pass to Josh McCall. Chesterfield tacked on another score before halftime on a last-minute 31-yard connection from Truesdale to Murvin for a 34-7 halftime lead.
Truesdale had 173 passing yards and three TDs in his first start at that point. That pleased coach Steve Taneyhill, a former South Carolina quarterback from 1992 to 1995.
Sergio Johnson and McQueen scored third-quarter TDs for the game's final margin. Truesdale finished 15-of-27 for 253 yards. McQueen had 14 carries for 191 yards, and Murvin had five catches for 102 yards.
Fry finished 6-of-18 for 103 yards. Max Simons had 18 carries for 68 yards, and Kryst had three receptions for 69 yards. Simons added a sack, and Josh Peck had an interception.
CHESTERFIELD 48 FORT MILL 7
FM — Preston Fry 18 pass to Trent Butler (Jordan Keaton kick)
CF — Derrick McQueen 1 run (JT Cutchin kick)
CF — Seth Truesdale 36 pass to Jonathan Murvin (kick failed)
CF — Alex Moses 96 interception return (Cutchin kick)
CF — Truesdale 21 pass to Josh McCall (Cutchin kick)
CF — Truesdale 31 pass to Murvin (Cutchin kick)
CF — Sergio Johnson 1 run (Cutchin kick)
CF — McQueen 28 run (Cutchin kick)
RUSHING—Chesterfield: McQueen 14-191, Johnson 3-13 Truesdale 1-(-2), Tevarus Merriman 3-2. Fort Mill: Max Simons 18-68, Asa Kryst 9-6, Dwayne Grainger 1-2, Butler 1-9, Fry 7-9, Kyle Simon 1-0, Josh Peck 1-6.
PASSING—Chesterfield: Truesdale 15-27-1-253. Fort Mill: Fry 6-18-1-103
RECEIVING—Chesterfield: Murvin 5-102, Johnson 4-36, Quan Merriman 2-64, McCall 4-51. Fort Mill: Kryst 3-69, Butler 3-34.
RECORDS—Fort Mill 0-1, Chesterfield 1-0
CHESTER 49, LEWISVILLE 13 — In Chester, the Lewisville Lions proved they were a scrappy bunch, but it wasn't enough to derail the Cyclone express.
Chester displayed a perfect offensive blend with 161 rushing and 285 passing yards. Quarterback Tony McNeal connected on 20 of 32 attempts for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Bobby Kelly caught eight passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, while Deon Strong grabbed four passes for 96 yards and two scores.
The Lions scored on two long passes, including one from a fake punt formation early in the second quarter.
Lewisville, under new coach Marvin Burke, generated 210 total yards, including 189 through the air.
On the ground, Chester running back Brent Minter gained 102 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns.
However, Cyclones coach Maurice Flowers pointed to several areas that need improvement, including 12 penalties for 130 yards.
“That was one area that we wanted to improve on from last week, and we did not,” Flowers said. “We have to eliminate penalties and, defensively, we are giving up too many big plays. Overall, we have a lot of things to improve on.”
Defensively, Chester was led by linebacker Aaron McCree with seven tackles and three sacks.
“I just wanted to go hard on each play and set the tone for us defensively,” McCree said.
CHESTER 49, LEWISVILLE 13
C — Tony McNeil 26 pass to Deon Strong (Marshall Whitesides kick)
L — Jaquese Lightner 52 pass to Ken Green (kick failed)
C — Brent Minter 11 run (Whitesides kick)
C — Minter 1 run (Whitesides kick)
C — McNeal 24 pass to Bobby Kelly (Whitesides kick)
C — Minter 8 run (Whitesides kick)
C — McNeal 5 pass to Deterrio Hardin (Whitesides kick)
L — Lightner 50 pass to Brian Colvin (Logan Pemberton kick)
C — McNeal 52 pass to Strong (Whitesides kick)
RUSHING—Lewisville: Brian Colvin 2-4, Timothy McCullough 6-(-14), Lightner 11-4, Lucas Williams 2-1, Thomas 4-12, Hunter McAfee 1-0. Chester: Brent Minter 15-102, Julius Pendergrass 5-43, K.J. Dixon 3-12, Worthy 1-5.
PASSING—Lewisville: Lightner 10-19-3-178, Corey Thomas 1-1-0-11. Chester: McNeal 20-32-0-281.
RECEIVING—Lewisville: Quentin McKnight 2-11, Corey Thomas 1-41, Ken Green 1-52, Brian Colvin 3-68, Trayvon Davis 1-6, Hunter McAfee 2-11. Chester: Bobby Kelly 8-131, Minter 4-31, Strong 4-96, Hardin 3-13, Gore 1-10.
RECORDS—Lewisville 0-1; Chester 2-0.