Blue Eagles football enters off week clicking

genegraham@comporium.netSeptember 19, 2013 

— First-year Clover High School head football coach Chad Smith cut his teeth on the ball-control offensive scheme introduced by previous head coaches Jet Turner and Marty Woolbright.

Smith said his version of the tight, double-wing set that brought Clover a state championship in 2007 is more of a power game.

Smith considers his offensive philosophy to be simple: Move the chains with huge chunks of yards, consuming time off the clock. And finish the deal.

Smith likes nothing better than to see the opponent’s offensive personnel agonizingly watching the proceedings from the sideline, knowing the game clock is ticking and they’ve become spectators.

Such was the case last Friday when Boiling Springs brought its explosive, thrill-a-minute offense to Clover’s Memorial Stadium. The visiting Bulldogs prevailed 49-21, pulling away with late scores. The visiting team’s lead was 28-21 early in the fourth quarter.

Boiling Springs quarterback Daniel Thompson, younger brother of University of South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson, finished with 16 of 24 through the air for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bulldog players and coaches weren’t feeling so good in the final seconds of the first half. With Boiling Springs clinging to a 14-13 lead, the Blue Eagle defense jarred the ball loose.

But Bulldog running back Tre-Shaun Sanderlin picked up the loose ball and raced 57 yards for a touchdown for the last play of the first half.

At the end of the half, the Bulldogs were ahead 21-13.

Operating behind a powerful offensive line surge, Clover quarterback Scott Jackson and company kept the Boiling Springs defense on is heels.

The Blue Eagles manhandled the Bulldogs in the trenches, gouging the Boiling Springs defense for 358 rushing yards and maintaining possession of the ball for nearly 36 of the 48 minutes allowed in high school football.

“Our kids played great,” Smith said.

The return of senior running back Ladarius Adams, who missed several games while recovering from a concussion, was noteworthy. Adams rushed for 210 yards on 25 carries.

“It felt good running the ball,” said Adams. “The offensive line did a good job blocking. There was a lot of movement.”

Adams, who scored all three of Clover’s touchdowns, scored in the first quarter on a 52-yard run, and on a four-yard run in the second quarter. In the third quarter, he scored on a two-yard run.

Adams said he is still working his way into shape and feels the Blue Eagles are ready to make things happen. “If we move the ball like we did against Boiling Springs, we’ll make the playoffs,” he said.

In addition, R.J. Moore scored a two-point conversion for Clover.

Chase Galant and Tanner Whitley continued their contributions to the offensive scheme, Galant gaining 54 yards on nine carries and Whitley 34 yards on seven carries.

“Our offensive line did a wonderful job,” he said. “We need to eliminate the turnovers. If we fix the little things, we will be a good football team immediately.”

With the non-region schedule completed, and an open date on Friday, the Blue Eagles have an extra week to prepare for the Sept. 27 Region 3-AAAA opener at home against Nation Ford.

Smith said embraces a near-midseason open date. “I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s a chance for players to heal and to devote more time to the fundamentals of the game.”

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