CLOVER — Brushing aside last week's 44-17 loss to Fort Mill, Clover High School football players and coaches have shifted their focus to the game that counts most. The Blue Eagles close out the 2012 season with the annual neighborhood squabble Friday night in Cougar Country, with the kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
Brushing aside last week's 44-17 loss to Fort Mill, Clover High School football players and coaches have shifted their focus to the game that counts most.
The Blue Eagles close out the 2012 season with the annual neighborhood squabble Friday night in Cougar Country, with the kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
The 100th game of the rivalry has created a buzz in and about the Blue Eagle nation.
CHS interim head coach John Barrett likes the team's mindset approaching Friday's western York County showdown.
“We are disappointed success hasn't come our way but the kids never give up,” noted Barrett. “They are excited about playing York Friday night.
“We want to send the seniors out on a positive note.”
Assistant coach Tony Cook knows a thing or two about the York-Clover rivalry.
Having followed in the footsteps of his dad, Tommy Cook, a longtime assistant coach for the Blue Eagles, Tony will tell you flat out that his blood runneth blue and gray.
“I was a ball boy growing up in Clover,” the younger Cook said to team members assembled in the weight room following Monday's practice amid gusty winds.
Cook said he understood the meaning of the York-Clover rivalry and wanted to make sure the players did.
Cook is a former Clover quarterback, whose game-winning touchdown toss against York 10 years ago will forever be part of the Blue Eagle football lore.
It was one of the most dramatic moments ever at storied Memorial Stadium.
Clover bolted to 20-0 halftime lead, but York staged a furious second-half rally and led 21-20 with the clock winding down.
Operating out of the not so pass-friendly wing-T, Cook found Ronnie McGill open in the end zone with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter, much to the delight of 5,000 or so frenzied Clover fans.
“It still gives me chills to think about it,” Cook said.
Trent Hartis, a 6-foot-1 senior middle linebacker, is keenly aware of what's at stake Friday night in Cougar Country.
“The seniors want the underclassmen to step up and to understand what the rivalry is all about,” commented Hartis.
“A real key will be if the wing-T offense can move the ball and keep the defense off the field,” he said. “It helps when the defense can rest.”
Said Hartis, who is hyped for Friday's big game, “A win over York would make my senior year.”
While Friday's clash will represent the 100tth game of the rivalry, Barrett will make history with his presence.
Barrett, the former coach at York, will be the only head coach in the history of the rivalry to have stood on both sidelines.
“I've though about that,” he said. “I know the preparations that take place and how important the game is to both communities.”
Barrett admits he has been blessed to have coached at both schools.
“York was a great place to coach and I love Clover,” he stressed. “The Clover administration and fans have been great.”
The Blue Eagles had a productive night offensively in the loss to Fort Mill.
Ladarious Adams and Kevis Adams made their presence felt out of the wing-T alignment, with Ladarious gaining 90 yards on 18 carries and Kevis netting 77 yards on 15 carries.
Junior quarterback Scott Jackson completed 5 of 7 passes for 106 yards and rushed for 41 yards.
Landon Harkey, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound sophomore tight end, is an emerging as an all-region candidate.
Harkey had two receptions for 73 yards.