CLOVER — Hoping to rid itself of the injury bug, the Clover High School football team shifted its focus this week to Friday’s game against talent-laden Boiling Springs.
Blue Eagle head coach Chad Smith had to assign players to unfamiliar roles in an effort to overcome a rash of injuries before last week’s 49-14 loss at Spring Valley. “We lost seven wingbacks to injury and had to make adjustments,” Smith said.
Smith hopes the Blue Eagle roster will be less-depleted when highly-regarded Boiling Springs brings its high-powered offense to Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Smith is aware of Boiling Springs’ offensive prowess. The Bulldogs scored 45 points in the loss to York last week. The Cougars’ Buddy Anderson kicked a 32-yard field goal with no time on the clock as York prevailed in 46-45.
“Boiling Springs takes the game to another level athletically,” Smith said before Monday’s practice.” They are a talented team, no question about it.”
Though disappointed in the loss last week to No. 8-ranked Spring Valley, Smith knows the Blue Eagles had their moments offensively.
Senior mainstay Key’shawn Pressley made his presence felt with an 89-yard kickoff return. He also had a 13-yard touchdown run.
“I had great blocking from my teammates on the long touchdown run,” said Pressley. “They got me into space and I used my speed to take it all the way.”
Pressley admitted he was a little winded at the end of the touchdown scamper. “I pushed myself but it felt great scoring on the long run,” he said.
Junior Coby Hamblen, a safety on the defensive side of the ball, found playing time at running back due to the Blue Eagles’ injury situation. “The offensive line blocking made my job easier,” said Hamblen, who rushed for 60 yards at his new position.
Hamblen will play wherever the coaches need him. Hamblen has his ideas about what it will take for the Blue Eagles to get that elusive win.
“We need to stay focused and play with confidence,” he said. “Coach Smith stresses playing with confidence.”
Another junior contributor, Mark Cavanaugh, has made his presence felt in the Blue Eagle backfield this season. “Coach wants us to move the football for long periods of time,” Cavanaugh said of the ground-oriented double-wing scheme.
“He said it’s OK if we break a long run for a TD,” said Cavanaugh. “The offense knows we need to keep the defense off the field.”
The Blue Eagle standout said Smith’s positive influence impacts the team. “He’s always smiling no matter what,” said Cavanaugh.
Smith is encouraged by the steady progress the Blue Eagles have made on the offensive side of the ball.
“Our kids played well against Spring Valley under the circumstances,” he said. “The offensive line continues to show improvement. Our fullbacks rushed for more yardage than any game this season. I am proud of the kids.”