Clover defensive coordinator Steven Peeler yanked his backups out of the game after they allowed Forestview to move into the Blue Eagles’ red zone Friday night. Clover was ahead by 31 points in the fourth quarter.
“I think our standard is set,” said Blue Eagles coach Brian Lane. “It shows, when we put those 1’s back in, we tell those 2’s, ‘this is the standard we set so don’t mess it up.’”
Expectations are growing in Clover and continue to after a 41-5 win over Forestview. The 56 points Clover scored last week against Ashbrook was the program’s most since a 57-8 beating of Eau Claire in 2002. The Blue Eagles didn’t top that against Forestview, but produced a better defensive performance - not allowing a touchdown - to move to 2-0.
Clover led 17-3 at the half after rushing touchdowns from Semaj Lakin and David Hall and a 29-yard field goal from Wake Forest-bound kicker Nick Sciba. Forestview struggled offensively much of the first half but found its footing late to get on the scoreboard with a 39-yard Holt Cloninger field goal.
Lane’s team stiff-armed Chris Medlin’s Jaguars with 24 points in the second half, more than enough considering the Blue Eagles defense smothered the visitors’ offensive unit.
Clover blocked a Forestview field goal - Sean Brown and Austin Gunnels were both involved - before the Blue Eagles tacked on three points through Sciba to make it 10-0 a few minutes into the second quarter. Gunnels then picked off a Jaguars pass early on the next drive and teammates squired him down to the visitors’ 4-yard line to set up an easy TD run for Hall, and a 17-0 Blue Eagles’ lead.
Clover’s defense dominated Forestview up front, limiting the Jaguars to just 40 yards rushing, with 30 of those coming on one fourth quarter Aaron Bennett run. The Blue Eagles have struggled on defense for almost five years but they appear to have a strong group this year, with a mix of seniors and newcomers, including sophomore linebacker Hayden Johnson, who was ever-present Friday night.
Clover lost leading receiver Zion Robbins to a broken leg last week but its vertical play-making didn’t suffer Friday night. Heze Massey stretched the field for Lane’s team, while the coach’s son, Jaylin, stepped up to augment the intermediate passing game. Massey snagged six passes for 137 yards, while Lane added 102 yards on eight catches.
“This offense in itself, as long as whoever is on the field can catch the ball, anybody can have a great game,” said Massey, who didn’t play football at Clover when the Blue Eagles used the Wing-T offensive scheme. “When Zion comes back we’re gonna be just as dangerous.”
Peeler’s defense got star outings from a couple of players. Junior Ryan Jones made a wonderful cushioned one-handed interception in the third quarter.
“I like that one-handed catch,” Jones said, grinning. “The d-line’s getting to the quarterback so he doesn’t really have time to throw with it. I just jumped up and came down with it and started running with it.”
Clover edge rusher Devon Chisholm was a pest in Forestview’s backfield, while Isaiah Farmer and Kenshu Her were immovable objects on the Blue Eagle d-line’s interior. Ninth grade running back B.J. Timms got some playing time late in the game and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Clover continues its non-region schedule with a Sept. 1 home game against Hunter Huss. The Blue Eagles have beaten five Gastonia teams in a row.
Clover 41, Forestview 5
CHS - Semaj Lakin 6 run (Nicholas Sciba PAT), 5:09
CHS - Sciba 29-yard field goal, 8:24
CHS - David Hall 5 run (Sciba kick), 7:13
FHS - Holt Cloninger 39-yard field goal, 0.0
CHS - Sciba 34-yard field goal, 9:40
CHS - Chandler Huskey 35 pass from Miller (Sciba kick), 11:50
CHS - B.J. Timms 1 run (Sciba kick), 9:12
FHS - safety, 5:16
CHS - Timms 9 run (Sciba kick), 1:28
RUSHING CHS: Semaj Lakin 8-40; Garrett Miller 7-13; David Hall 5-52; B.J. Timms 7-54; Josh Marr 2-9. FHS: Aaron Bennett 14-38; Morgan Wilson 2-4; Jake Lee 2-(-2).
PASSING CHS: Miller 17-30-1, 280 yards. FHS: Lee 19-34-3, 206 yards.
RECEIVING CHS: Heze Massey 6-137; Blake Keffer 1-3; Chandler Huskey 2-38; Jaylin Lane 8-102. FHS: Jake Long 3-36; Cameron Carter 1-8; Jalen Neely-Baldwin 7-75; Kyra Peterkin 6-72; Bennett 1-8; Trey Bolch 1-7.
RECORDS Clover 2-0; Forestview 1-1