CLOVER — Like anyone whose chosen profession is high school football coach, John Barrett doesn't like to lose. Nor do the Blue Eagle players. Such was the case last Friday as the Blue Eagles were clearly outmanned in a 54-0 loss to York in the 100th game of the storied western York County rivalry.
Like anyone whose chosen profession is high school football coach, John Barrett doesn't like to lose.
Nor do the Blue Eagle players.
Such was the case last Friday as the Blue Eagles were clearly outmanned in a 54-0 loss to York in the 100th game of the storied western York County rivalry.
The Clover High School football team endured the 2012 season with a depleted roster and mostly inexperienced personnel.
And the heart of a lion.
“We're disappointed the way we played against York,” said interim head coach John Barrett. “I'm sure York had something to do with that, but we expected a better performance.”
While disappointed in the loss to the ninth-ranked Cougars, Barrett lauded the Blue Eagle players for the manner in which they responded to an abrupt coaching change a week before region play began.
It was at that point of the season that Barrett, the former York coach, shedded the title of assistant coach when he was named interim head coach.
The changing of the guard in Blue Eagle Country had a positive impact the next week at Nation Ford.
Though visiting Clover was unable to defeat the playoff-bound Stallions, the Blue Eagles rediscovered their offensive swagger, rushing for 246 yards from the wing-T offensive scheme popularized by former head coaches Jet Turner and Marty Woolbright.
The Blue Eagles had Lancaster on the ropes three weeks later, leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it was not to be.
Defensive and special teams inexperience negated the team's offensive production in several games.
Barrett is keenly aware that the Blue Eagles showed signs of progress.
“We are proud of the kids for their commitment to Blue Eagle football during the season,” he noted. “We want to thank the faculty, school and fans for their support. So many of the fans stayed with us during a bad year.
“Our seniors did a good job. We appreciate their leadership this season and will miss them.”
A veteran coach who knows a thing or two about the high school football experience, Barrett said a typical Friday night at Memorial Stadium is more than a football game for thousands in attendance.
“It's the cheerleaders, band and football team that make Friday nights special,” observed the CHS coach.
Barrett praised the Blue Eagle cheerleaders for their show of support during and after the games.
“We wanted them to be part of the team prayer after the game,” he said.
The cheerleaders aligned themselves with the football players after each home game, while the CHS band played the school's alma mater.
Barrett said many people are unaware of the cheerleaders' year-round commitment to the school and to Saturday competition.
“They've been working as long as the football players and still have basketball season ahead,” he noted.
While the 2012 football season is in the books, Barrett said preparations for the 2013 season began Monday.
“We're excited about the offseason,” he said. “The returning players are working out in the weight room.”
Concluded Barrett, “We want the players to be bigger and stronger. We are recruiting players for next season.”