Enquirer Herald

Clover’s Blue Eagles will host Fort Mill in region opener

Riding the momentum of a road win against Blythewood and reaping the benefits of an off week, the Clover High football team is primed for Friday’s Region 3-AAAA opener.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. against cross-county rival Fort Mill at Clover’s Memorial Stadium.

The atmosphere was upbeat Monday as Blue Eagles coaches, players and trainers got back into their weekly routine before game day.

“I like the open date,” said CHS head coach Chad Smith. “It allows players to get healthy and extra time spent on fundamentals and fine-tuning.”

With region play beginning this week, Smith said there are positives to an extra week of practice.

“We had intense practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and gave them Monday and Tuesday off,” said Smith. “It was like being at camp.”

Another positive was the opportunity for Smith and other coaches to scout the Northwestern-Fort Mill game at Fort Mill.

The Blue Eagles will host Fort Mill on Friday and travel to Northwestern on Oct. 17. Smith was able to scout Friday’s opponent as well as the Trojans as Northwestern survived a closely contested game, 35-28.

“Fort Mill played well,” he said. “Northwestern scored when they had to, which is what good teams do.”

Smith said the host Yellow Jackets, who had a sizzling 4-0 start, had opportunities to win.

“Their coach does a good job,” he said of Fort Mill coach Ed Susi. “Fort Mill gets the ball to their playmakers.

“They are well coached and efficient at what they do.”

With the Fort Mill-Northwestern game still open in the fourth quarter, Yellow Jackets quarterback Rogan Wells engineered a final drive. Wells completed first-down passes of 12 and 17 yards to go-to receiver Brandon Plyler.

The Yellow Jackets advanced to the 1-yard line but fumbled the ball away, wiping out their final chance to tie.

Wells had previously completed a 16-yard scoring pass to Plyler to keep Fort Mill in the game.

Clover quarterback Noah Lindsay said he is looking forward to Friday’s region opener at home.

“I am playing with confidence directing the double wing,” Lindsay said. “We are executing the offense and have to stay with it.”

Lindsay downplayed his role as a running threat: “I run the ball some,” he said.

Senior DeQuan Berry, who had an interception and fumble recovery to earn Player of the Week honors in the Blythewood game, said, “I am excited about the region opener against Fort Mill. It means a lot to the seniors.”

Smith said he’s pleased with the double wing production this season.

“We’re averaging 27 points per game,” he said. “Our defense has to make stops; that’s the key to success in the region.”

Season statistics reveal the double wing’s success rate through five games. Six Blue Eagles players have rushed for more than 100 yards.

Willy Clark leads the ground assault with 226 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Others are Tenchi Her, 201 yards; Lindsay, 134 yards and three touchdowns; Colton Barnes, 192 yards, five touchdowns; Cody Payne, 104 yards, one touchdown; and Zach Conrad, 112 yards.

RJ Moore, Tanner Whitley and Coby Hamblen are near 100 yards rushing.