Clover High School quarterback Garrett Miller threw just six passes Friday night. But his fourth completion went to DreQuan Starr for a 37-yard touchdown pass that turned out to be the game-winner in Clover’s 17-14 win over visiting Belmont South Point.
“It was there all week,” Starr said after the game. “They weren’t expecting it.”
Clover coach Chad Smith said the 6-foot-3, 172-pound Starr is “a great example of why basketball players should play football.”
Two plays earlier, Starr grabbed a quick slant for a 15-yard gain on third down to keep Clover’s drive alive.
Clover (3-0) came out of the gate and needed just four plays to march 70 yards on its opening series to take a 7-0 lead on Darell Darling’s 28-yard run.
The Blue Eagles had the ball deep inside South Point territory late in the first quarter, but settled for a 28-yard Nick Sciba field goal as the horn sounded.
The Red Raiders (1-3) were shut out for the first time since 1998 in a 24-0 loss to Shelby last week.
They didn’t score for the first 18 minutes of Friday’s game, but finally got on the board with 5:39 remaining in the first half on Scottie Lee’s 6-yard run to cap a 45-yard drive.
The short field was set up thanks to a booming 55-yard punt by Max Mead, who flipped the field for the struggling Red Raiders offense. After the South Point defense held, Mead returned a 29-yard punt 15 yards to get the Raiders into Clover territory for the first time.
Lee ran for 27 yards on the drive and finished with 52 yards on 13 carries. Jake Alexander led the Red Raiders on the ground with 94 yards on 18 attempts.
South Point opened the second half with a clock-chewing series, but on the 13th play of the drive, Lee was picked off at the 1-yard line by LaKerri Adams. It was the first pass attempt of the drive as the Red Raiders had picked up 72 yards.
As South Point was driving in the final minute for a potential game-tying field goal or game-winning touchdown, Clover’s Omari Adams intercepted Lee to secure the Blue Eagles victory.
“Defense came up huge with a few picks in the red zone,” Smith said. “I can’t say enough. Our kids, they’re the real deal. They really believe in each other.”
The Blue Eagles got contributions from several players, including a team-high 78 rushing yards by senior Willy Clark. But the unsung heroes were the offensive linemen, who helped Clover rush for 217 yards on 43 carries.
“That’s a championship-caliber program over there and we stood toe-to-toe with them,” Smith said. “If you’re running or throwing, chunk yardage is always a good thing.
“All of our kids tonight were clutch. All of our kids deserve a game ball.”
Clover 17, South Point (N.C.) 14
CHS – Darell Darling 28 run (Nick Sciba kick) 10:09
CHS – Sciba 28-yard FG 0:00
SPHS – Scottie Lee 6 run (Thomas Lempereur kick) 5:39
SPHS – Jake Alexander 37 run (Lempereur kick) 2:09
CHS – DreQuan Starr 37 pass from Garrett Miller (Sciba kick) 3:00
RUSHING: South Point: Jake Alexander 18-94; Scottie Lee 13-52; Mario Brandon 7-35; Ometrick Leeper 1-6; Ty Tinker 1-0. Clover: Willy Clark 10-78; Semaj Lakin 10-45; Darell Darling 4-33; Chase Griffin 4-23; AJ Pennington 4-15; Connor Owens 7-15; Chandler Huskey 1-11; Garrett Miller 3-(minus) 3.
PASSING: South Point: Lee 2-6-0-1, 45 yards. Clover: Miller 4-6-1-1, 66 yards.
RECEIVING: South Point: Rayonta Grier 1-33; Nick Muse 1-12. Clover: DreQuan Starr 2-52; Jon Herberger 1-12; Huskey 1-4.
RECORDS: South Point 1-3; Clover: 3-0.