High School Football

Amid a 3-0 start, Clover coach, players working to keep getting better

The Clover Blue Eagles are hoping to continue their hot start to the season taking on Gaston County’s Ashbrook Greenwave.

At 3-0, the Blue Eagles are right where they want to be, but things have not been as easy as their record may indicate. In its recent win against Belmont’s South Point, they were flagged 19 times for nearly 160 yards in penalties.

“We are making steps in the right direction, but we are not where I want us to be,” said head coach Brian Lane. “We want to keep making steps forward.”

Lane said his team is better than they were in the first game of the season, a 48-21 thumping of rival York. From there Clover continued to improve and started the Gaston County portion of their schedule with wins against Forestview 58-7 and South Point 34-7 and will end that portion at Ashbrook.

One thing that Lane said he was really pleased with this early in the season is the Blue Eagles defense. Clover has given up just 35 points on the season.

“Our defense has been really good,” he said. “We have a reputation for our offense, but our defense has been lights out. They have really stepped up.”

Clover’s starting defense has given up just 21 points in three games and their second-string defense has given up just 14 points.

Offensively, the Blue Eagles are averaging 47 points per game. Going into the game against Ashbrook, Lane said he feels like stopping the run will be key to getting the win.

Despite being 0-3 on the season, Lane said Ashbrook shouldn’t be overlooked.

“They run the ball well,” he said. “Their kids are athletic and we are going to have to play hard and play fast to keep up with them. That is the plan.”

Clover got off to the same great start last year, jumping out to a 4-1, but struggled during Region 3-5A play. They finished the regular season at 5-5 and missed the playoffs.

Lane said he wants to make sure history doesn’t repeat this time and is hopeful his team learned from last year’s let down.

“We want to keep them (the team) humble and hungry,” he said. “We want them to know nothing is given and they have to keep working. We have to work before practice, after practice and obviously during practice and things like that won’t happen.”

After their game against Ashbrook, Clover has a non-region game on the road at Irmo, before opening region play at home against Nation Ford Oct. 4.

Mac Banks: mbanks@comporium.net, @MacBanksFM