Opposing coaches had no problems cheering for Clover

Clover had a couple of unexpected fans on its march to the Class AAAA Division II state championship.

After Newberry lost early in the Class AA playoffs, football coach Sam Baird and one of his assistants, Bill Harvey, latched onto the Blue Eagles.

Baird and Harvey graduated from Clover in 1971. Harvey, an assistant this week for the North team at the North-South All-Star Game, said he didn't play high school football but Baird did.

"I was 120 pounds and had bad wheels,'' Harvey said. "But I played baseball and our American Legion team included York's Steve Boyd.

"Sam and I are lifelong friends. Our moms were friends when we were growing up and we went off to college at Newberry together. And we've been coaching together for 30-plus years.''

They were also the best men in each other's wedding.

Newberry lost 35-14 to Abbeville in the second round of the playoffs and the two old friends decided to follow Clover. They saw the Blue Eagles beat Greenwood in the second round and Ridge View in the third. When Clover beat Beaufort 23-14 last week in Columbia, they were in the stands.

"We sat with some old friends and gave the Blue Eagles every ounce of our support,'' Harvey said. "Coach (Jet) Turner and his staff did a great job this season and we were proud of what the team accomplished.''

• WHAT?: Mant folks attending two-a-days at Myrtle Beach High School have wondered aloud what's going on with the helmets.

There has been an adjustment this year. One of the players' favorite activities is trading decals -- as many as possible -- and sticking them on their helmets. This year, they will only be allowed to do that Friday.

Jeff Cassidy, in his fifth year as an escort, said the new rule was put into place for two reasons.

"We wanted the players to have only their team logo on their helmet so it would be easier for college coaches coming to practice to identify with them,'' said Cassidy, a highway patrolman who played for North coach Ron Blackmon at Chesterfield. "And we've seen in the past that the logos get beat up at practice. We want the helmets to look their best on Saturday.''

• BUT ...: The new rule hasn't stopped players from trading. They've been stockpiling as many as they can and planning where they are going to place them.

The South's Baron Jerideua, a 6-foot-3, 335-pound lineman from Colleton County, said he can't wait.

"I'm going to put the best ones on last so they won't get covered up,'' he said. "So far, I've got 21. The favorites are the Ridge View Stallions (it's a horse -- the nickname is the Blazers), Kingstree (Jaguars) and Richland Northeast (Cavaliers). Everybody wants 'em and I've got 'em.''

• HEALED: Clover defensive end Tre' Turner said at breakfast Wednesday that the shoulder sprain he suffered Tuesday was healed.

The sprain, which forced Turner out of Tuesday's afternoon practice, was not as bad as first expected and he looked good in both sessions.

• FOOTBALL: Of course it is, but the South team is using it in one of the most famous-ever songs this week -- "My Girl'' by The Temptations.

Six players walked off the practice field and all the way to the locker room Wednesday singing their version, "I guess, you say, what could make me feel this way? Football, football, football. Talking 'bout football. Football.''

Ever watch that show "America's Got Talent?'' The South players definitely have it. They sound really good. But can they beat the North?

• SOLID: Another school has come after Chester's Gene McCaskill, but he said at this time his commitment to Kentucky is firm.

McCaskill, who will play wide receiver in college, is being courted by Penn State. He will make an official visit in January, but said Wednesday he's pretty solid with the Wildcats.

• FREE STUFF: Clover assistant Robbie Wiggins has been a busy and popular man.

Twice each day, he brings a large bag to practice with him. It holds transcripts for senior Blue Eagles and highlights of each on DVDs. He's been mobbed by college coaches looking to fill needs. They say a position and Wiggins gives them a file and a disc.

"We'll do everything we can to help our players,'' Wiggins said. "This is something we are doing to get our players seen. If college coaches need some good players, we have some we'll send their way.''