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With a lack of numbers contributing to an 0-3 start to the 2012 football season, head football coach John Devine made the decision to lessen the physical toll Clover High School football players have endured.
Mindful of the need for improvement on both sides of the ball, Devine decided to do something about it.
Blue Eagle players no longer will be going both ways when the team travels to resurgent Boiling Springs Friday for a 7:30 p. m. kickoff.
“We've got to make changes,” observed the CHS coach following a brisk Labor Day morning workout at the Blue Eagle practice field. “The game is so fast at this level,” he added.
“We can't cover up holes anymore,” he stressed. “We will no longer be playing kids on both sides of the ball.
“There are 44 positions open on the varsity and jayvee teams.”
Devine sees it as an opportunity for the players to step up.
“They can focus on carrying out their assignments and learning their positions, not having to go both ways,” he noted.
Devine informed the players of changes in personnel during the Monday workouts.
In assessing Friday's game, Devine said the trek to Boiling Springs will reunite him with longtime friend Bruck Clark, head coach of the Bulldogs.
“We've been friends for 20 years,” noted the CHS coach. “I coached against Bruce when he was at Kings Mountain and later at North Gaston.
“He took North Gaston to the playoffs.”
Devine said he is aware that Clark's success at Boiling Springs included a Big 16 upper state playoff appearance last season.
He recognizes the challenge the Blue Eagles face Friday night.
“Bruce is doing a great job at Boiling Springs,” assured Devine. “They are a good football team.”
The 10 wins Boiling Springs posted last season marked a new high for the program, eclipsing the school record nine wins in 1965.
Though the Bulldogs fell to York 34-16 last week, the they made things interesting on the strength of two touchdown passes from quarterback Daniel Thompson in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs defeated Nation Ford in a 36-32 thriller the previous week.
The Blue Eagles ran into a Spring Valley team clicking on all cylinders last week as the Vikings prevailed 51-7.
“We knew Spring Valley was a well disciplined team, a program that has shown vast improvement,” observed Devine. “They are a good team that plays physical.
“We had a lack of execution.”
Owen Jefferies, a 6-1, 240-pound Blue Eagle mainstay, had a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
“Fredell Ryan knocked the ball loose,” said Jefferies in describing the defensive gem. “When I saw the ball pop out, I grabbed it and scored.
“Coach Godwin (Curtis) said if the block was down to keep pushing and moving. That was the key.”
Jefferies also makes his presence felt at offensive guard.
“The guard position is all about technique and playing hard,” he said. “I'm pretty good size, but most of our opponents are bigger and more physical.
“It's all about technique, staying low and carrying out your assignment.”
Said Jefferies, “If the defense changes before the snap, you have to make adjustments on the fly.”
Taylor Whitley, a sophomore jayvee fullback who saw playing time in the fourth quarter, had a 12-yard run for first down the first time he carried the pigskin.
“There was good blocking on the play,” Whitley said. “We continue to work hard to improve on the jayvee team.”
After playing Boiling Springs Friday, the Blue Eagles have an open date Sept. 14 and return to action Sept. 21 at Nation Ford. All games have 7:30 p. m. starting times.