CLOVER — Clover Blue Eagle football players were recognized for their contributions to the program on and off the field during an awards ceremony and dinner recently in the Clover High School cafeteria.
Addressing those in attendance, interim head coach John Barrett praised team members for their commitment to the program and challenged returning players to raise the bar in the weight room and from the standpoint of expectations.
Barrett issued a special thank you to the players for persevering through hard times.
“These kids are special,” Barrett said.
He also thanked the senior players for their contributions to the program and for their leadership.
“We will miss you and encourage you to continue to work hard in the classroom,” Barrett said. “You will always be ours.”
In issuing a special challenge to the returning players, Barrett reminded them of the commitment it will take to restore the Clover football program to contending status.
“It will not be easy,” Barrett said to the players and parents in attendance. “The coaches will push you, but that’s a good thing.”
The CHS coach said the players of the future will be in the weight room Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“You’ve got to get bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “You’ve got to be mentally and physically stronger.”
Barrett offered praise to the assistant coaches for their commitment to molding players’ lives and thanked the Clover Touchdown Club, faculty, cheerleaders and fans for their support.
“They’ve all been there for us when things were bad,” he stressed. “The cheerleaders work longer and harder than we do.”
Athletic trainer Kim Bressler, accompanied by her husband, Matt, who also is a certified trainer, commended the student-trainers for a job well done.
“They are willing and hard workers,” she said. “They get a lot done behind the scenes.”
Jayvee head football coach Darrell VanDyke put everything into perspective.
“Society judges us by wins and losses,” said VanDyke, who also is the head baseball coach at CHS. “We are proud of the kids when they are playing the best they can play.”
VanDyke talked about the lessons learned on the gridiron, regardless of the outcome.
Six varsity football players were recognized as True Blue Eagles, based on effort and attitude: Jevon Blake, Trent Hartis, Dee McCombs, Jakob Morrison, Ryan Fredell and Ben Forbes. Jayvee True Blue Eagles awards were presented to Brett Blackwood and Gavin Jenkins.
Senior running back Kevis Adams received a $2,500 scholarship from the touchdown club. The awards ceremony was sponsored by the Clover Touchdown Club, with the barbecue prepared by Jamie McMackin.