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A demanding offseason program shifts to preseason preparations when the Clover High School varsity football team opens the official practice season Friday evening.
The first day of practice will begin Friday at 6 p.m. at the CHS practice field located behind the school.
The highlight of the offseason for the Blue Eagle team was participation in last week’s four-day football camp at Mars Hill College in North Carolina.
“We had a great camp experience,” second-year head coach Jon Devine said of the team’s summer getaway. “We left at noon Monday and returned Thursday at noon.”
Devine said getting the players away from their Clover surroundings and offseason conditioning routine had multiple benefits.
“There were no electronics, no distractions,” he noted. “The kids worked hard and remained focused.”
The CHS coach said the bonding that takes place at a camp activity away from home is vital to team development.
“They get to know their teammates and roommates better,” commented Devine. “They focus on football and have a good time together away from the camp activities.
“It’s also an opportunity for the seniors to continue their leadership roles for the team.”
Another highlight of the offseason was the experience Blue Eagle quarterbacks gained at Georgia Southern University’s U Option Skills Camp, in particular signal-caller Scott Jackson.
The rising junior made an impressive showing, executing the triple option to perfection. With three backs from other schools and states rotating behind him, the group earned the camp’s coveted champions award.
“Georgia Southern is one of the top option camps in the Southeast,” observed Devine. “Our quarterbacks had a lot of reps with the option offense.”
Also gaining valuable experience competing in the camp were sophomore quarterback Coby Hamblen and freshman signal-caller Brett Blackwood.
“The triple option is like any other offense, more reps lead to better execution,” Devine said. “It’s all about reading the option and playing instinctively.”
Added Devine, “There’s no time to think about what to do. The quarterback reads and reacts. It’s mostly triple option, with some double option as part of the scheme.”
Devine said different defensive schemes were used during the Mars Hill camp and preseason will see more of the same.
“Coach Barrett (defensive coordinator John Barrett) is doing a great job,” the head coach said. “We have some new coaches and want everybody on the same page.”
The Blue Eagles have a busy preseason slate, including an Aug. 4 home scrimmage against Easley at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
The next scrimmage will be Aug. 8 at North Guildford, two-time defending North Carolina state champions.
The final scrimmage will be at nearby Hunter Huss prior to the Aug. 17 season opener against South Florence at Memorial Stadium.
“South Florence will run the spread and shotgun with a one-back offensive scheme,” Devine said of the Blue Eagles’ opening opponent.
With the first game three-plus weeks away, Blue Eagle players and coaches are chomping at the bit to crank up the preseason.