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With preseason preparations running full tilt, Clover High School football players are ready to block and tackle an opposing team rather than their own teammates.
Saturday will provide that opportunity as the Blue Eagles host always tough Easley at Memorial Stadium.
The action begins at 9 a.m., allowing avid Blue Eagle fans a sneak preview of the coming season.
Following intense offseason preparations focusing on weigh lifting and conditioning, the Blue Eagles began preseason drills battling the elements the first day of practice.
Rain and lightning delayed Friday’s long-awaited opening practice. The players were on the CHS practice field from 7 until 9:30 p.m., and returned for the second day of practice Saturday at 6 a.m.
“We had a good first day of practice,” said head coach John Devine, who was seated on the tailgate of a truck moments after the Friday night workout. “The kids were enthusiastic, flying to the ball the way we like it.”
Devine said the players’ four-day football camp participation at Mars Hill College put them ahead of schedule at this stage of the preseason.
Devine points to a heavy commitment in the offseason as a springboard to preseason demands.
“We had a good spring and it continued into the summer,” the coach said of the players weight lifting and conditioning. “The kids want to get it right.”
Blue Eagle quarterback Scott Jackson and center Owen Jefferies, both rising juniors, talked about the significance of the quarterback-center exchange following Friday’s opening practice.
Each emphasized the number of reps it takes to get the quarterback-center snap where it needs to be.
“It needs to become routine,” said Jackson.
“It’s all about reps, reps and more reps,” added Jefferies.
The Blue Eagle center explained his responsibilities along the offensive front are twofold: “I have to execute the snap count effectively, then carry out my blocking assignment,” he said.
Jackson echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“I have to focus on the center snap and read the defense,” he explained.
Reading the defense is what triggers the triple option offensive scheme.
Jackson is more confident in his reads in his second year.
“Participation in the Georgia Southern Option Football Camp made a difference,” he added.
Both Jackson and Jefferies are excited about the 2012 season that begins with an Aug. 17 home game against South Florence.
“All of the players have the dedication and commitment it takes,” declared Jackson.
After Saturday’s home scrimmage, the Blue Eagles scrimmage at North Guilford Aug. 8 against the two-time defending North Carolina state champions. The final scrimmage will be at Hunter Huss.
“The season opener is slightly more than two weeks away,” Devine said. “The kids are working hard to be successful.”