CLOVER -- Five games into the season and an extra week to prepare for Friday's game at Westside, first-year Clover High defensive starters continue to grow and mature.
With heavy losses to graduation, the Blue Eagles began the season with only two starters on the defensive side of the ball, Chris Lindsay and Ricky Moore.
With Moore recovering from a concussion sustained in the South Pointe game, Clover faced Rock Hill minus 10 defensive starters from the state championship season.
Defensive coordinator Jonathan Dover sees potential among the Blue Eagle stop troops.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Said Dover of the newcomers, "We are excited about where the defense will end up but not sure how long it will take to get there. We're working on fundamentals and raising their football IQ. We want to make them smarter players and quicker to react."
Dover has been impressed with the work ethic of the first-year starters.
"They are great kids who are getting better," the CHS coach said. "The kids try as hard as they can."
Like head coach Jet Turner, Dover said the extra week of practice has been beneficial.
"Our players got after it last week," he said. "They showed a lot of emotion going head-to-head at practice. We worked on execution."
Turner echoed Dover's sentiments regarding the open week.
"We had a productive week of practice," he said. "We got in some quality reps."
Meanwhile, the Blue Eagles return to action Friday night against Westside of Anderson. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Last Friday, the Rams rallied from behind to defeat Greenville 26-14, blocking two punts in the process.
Quarterback Brando McCann keyed the Rams' comeback with big plays, including a 62-yard touchdown toss to teammate Zay Smith.
The Rams, a young team finding its niche before region play begins, are 2 and 3 for the season. The other win was a come from behind against always-tough Belton Honea Path. With the win over Greenville, Westside coach Ted Luckadoo is closing in on a milestone. The veteran coach is one win from No. 200 in his high school coaching career.
"Westside is extremely athletic," Turner said after viewing the scouting report. "They have a great defensive end and the biggest offensive line we've played to date."
Added Turner, "We'll have our hands full. I look for our players to be ready."
Asked if Moore, a two-way starter, would be available, Turner replied, "Knock on wood, Ricky should be ready to go."