CLOVER — Coaches will say that improvement from one week to the next is crucial. Such is the case with the Clover Blue Eagles, a team that is rebuilding.
Though the Blue Eagles fell to visiting Forestview 41-6 on Friday, the Clover team had its moments, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
“I was frustrated after the game Friday night, but after looking at the film, we improved at every position,” head coach Chad Smith said Monday.
Smith hopes the Blue Eagles’ improvement will remain on an upward trend to produce wins sooner rather than later.
“Nobody is satisfied with a loss. Coaches look for improvement from week one to week two. That is something a team has to do,” Smith said.
The Clover football team hits the road for the first time Friday, facing No. 8 Spring Valley in Columbia at 7:30 p.m. Smith is aware of the Vikings’ emergence as one of the elite teams in the state.
“Spring Valley is a well-coached team,” he said. “Their coaches do a great job. They are a talented team that operates out of the triple option.”
Led by quarterback Chris Adams, the Vikings opened the season with a 48-8 conquest of Lower Richland. Friday, the Blue Eagles were equal to the challenge in the first quarter of the Forestview game, maintaining possession on all but four plays.
The Clover defense stood tall on the Jaguars’ first possession, forcing a three-and-out as the home crowd roared in approval.
Senior defensive lineman David Seslar keyed the defensive stand when he tackled a Forestview ball carrier for a loss.
Following a Jaguar punt, the Blue Eagles took over at the Forestview 43, where junior running back RJ Moore advanced the pigskin to the 33 on first down.
Cody Payne got the call and rambled to the 25.
Later, on fourth down at the 25, Moore bolted to the 16 for first-down yardage.
Two plays later, senior running back Chase Galant weaved his way to the 5-yard-line for first and goal.
The Blue Eagles advanced the ball a foot from the goal, with Moore doing most of the work. But on fourth down, the officials ruled that no offensive surge was made and the drive stalled.
The close call sapped the energy out of the Blue Eagles and the Jaguars scored four touchdowns before the half to seize control of the game.
The Blue Eagles got on the board after a defensive stop in the third quarter.
On second down at the Forestview 48, quarterback Scott Jackson advanced the ball to the 39. Galant, who finished with 97 rushing yards, broke loose to the 11.
After Mark Cavanaugh breezed past defenders to the three, Tanner Whitley penetrated the end zone for the touchdown.
“It was a great feeling scoring the touchdown,” said the 190-pound junior after the game. “It got us back in the game confidence-wise.”
Smith said that the Blue Eagles’ game-planning is the same each week, regardless of the opponent: Sustain drives, consume the clock, keep the opponent’s offense of the field and finish.