Northwestern football coach Jimmy "Moose" Wallace, who began his head coaching career at York Junior High School in the early '70s and has since become one of the most successful coaches in the state, knew the Clover Blue Eagles extended his team to the limit Friday night.
The Trojans, defending Region 3-AAAA champions and ranked No. 4 in the state, survived a 17-13 cliffhanger, which Wallace described as a great football game.
This marquee attraction had the District Three Stadium press box buzzing with pregame anticipation as radio personalities, sports writers and press box personnel dissected every possible angle and interpreted every play once the game began.
This columnist was the lone press row occupant observing the game from a western York County perspective, if you will.
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The Blue Eagles dug themselves a hole with two first-quarter fumbles leading to 10 Northwestern points.
Trojan followers had visions of a 17-0 halftime lead but Clover's Chris Lindsay had other ideas, intercepting a Justin Worley pass in the end zone and returning the ball to the Trojan 47.
Ricky Moore's tackle-breaking 20-yard run advanced the pigskin to the 27 and Tyron Douglas scored on the next play with 4:03 remaining in the half.
Douglas scored from two yards out in the third quarter, staking the Blue Eagles to a 13-10 lead.
But the Trojans answered midway through the third quarter on a 27-yard Worley scoring toss to Cordarrele Patterson.
Though Clover lost by a scant four points, the Blue Eagles rolled into District Three Stadium and played with grit and swagger. They played like defending state champions.
Which is why the legendary Moose Wallace spoke in such glowing terms of the Clover High football program.
See Quastin run
Once the Clover-Northwestern classic concluded, I drove to the York Comprehensive High School field house to wait for the Cougars' players and coaches to return from Fort Mill.
I already knew the Cougars won 44-37, compliments of the District Three Stadium message board.
What I didn't know was that YCHS tailback Quastin Walker had rushed for more yards in a single game than any player in the school's proud history.
Longtime trainer and record-keeper Frankie Wofford informed me of Walker's incredible numbers.
The YCHS junior speedster rushed for 312 yards against the Yelllow Jackets.
Predictably, the coaches and players were elated.
"It's the best individual performance I've seen in 30 years of coaching," head coach John Barrett said matter-of-factly.
YCHS athletic director and former head football coach Steve Boyd, a York native, doesn't recall a York back rushing for 300 yards.
"We've had some 200 yard rushers, but not 300," Boyd said. "It says a lot about Quastin as an athlete and the blocking he receives from offensive lineman and receivers down field."
Boyd said Walker has improved since the season began and has the potential to be a big-time running back.
"With Quastin's 4.3 speed in the 40, he needs to hit the weight room when the season's over and gain 15 pounds," commented Boyd. "He could be what Division 1 recruiters are looking for."
The Cougar offensive linemen, among them senior David Henderson, take pride in paving the way for the backs to run.
"Our job is to help move the ball," Henderson said. "You also have to credit Quastin for running hard and doing what he does best."
Said Barrett of Walker, "Quastin had an unbelievable performance against Fort Mill. I'm glad he plays for us."