Fort Mill Sports

After 3-win season, Clover looking toward that next step

Clover’s Keith Collins lifts a tire during a conditioning drill at a morning practice last week. The team is mostly underclassmen and hopes to improve on 2017 in part by maintaining leads.
Clover’s Keith Collins lifts a tire during a conditioning drill at a morning practice last week. The team is mostly underclassmen and hopes to improve on 2017 in part by maintaining leads.

Coming off a three-win season, Clover head football coach Brian Lane is optimistic the Blue Eagles will continue to rise despite the team’s relative youth heading into this season.

“We are further along than we were at this time last year,” said the second-year head coach. “Last year, we were just trying to put a product on the field.”

Clover is returning 18 players from last year’s team with 14 of them still underclassmen. Lane said he wants to improve throughout every facet of the team, but especially in the win column.

“Obviously you want to win and make the playoffs,” he said. “We will see what happens after that.”

Lane said that despite last year’s record, he isn’t changing his approach to the team’s spread offense he installed last year or go back to the Wing-T the Blue Eagles used for years.

“I am a spread guy,” he said. “We are going to throw the ball. We are going to stick with what we are doing.”

Just who will be slinging the pigskin is still up in the air for Clover as Lane said he has four quarterbacks he is looking at to lead the team.

“We are still trying to decide on one,” he said.

Clover opens the season Aug. 17 against rivals York on the road at 7:30 p.m. They will be on the road for their first three games against the Cougars, and then Forestview Aug. 24 and Hunter Huss Aug. 31. The Blue Eagles will host their first home game at Memorial Stadium Sept. 7 against South Point of Belmont, N.C.

They will also have home games against Ashbrook Sept. 14 and Irmo Sept. 21, before heading to Nation Ford to start Region IV play Sept. 28. They will then host Northwestern and Rock Hill in the next two Fridays after that before finishing the regular season at Fort Mill Oct. 26.

Lane said the team isn’t going to look to far ahead this season when it comes to region games, stating their biggest challenge is themselves.

“We have to worry about us,” he said. “That is who we worry about. We try to be 1-0 every week. We aren’t going to worry about the past or the future.”

One bright spot in their future is that Clover is returning 1,100-yard receiver Heze Massey, who already has an offer from Newberry College. Massey said he is looking forward to his senior season and what lies ahead.

“Last year we had a lot of sophomores starting,” he said. “Now that we already got the plays down, we will be ready.”

Massey said his personal goal for the season is to top his receiving yards from last year. He also said he isn’t making any decisions about college any time soon.

“I am being patient,” he said. “I want to look to see if I get other offers to widen my options.”

Massey pointed out one thing that many people might not remember about his team from last season, but its something his teammates haven’t forgotten.

“We had an opportunity to win every game we played in last year,” he said. “We led in every game we played in last season. I am looking forward to working hard this year.”

Mac Banks: mbanks@comporium.net, @MacBanksFM
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