Posted: September 07, 2018
SECOND HALF COMEBACK PUSHES CLOVER TO A WIN OVER SOUTH POINT
By: Anthony Perkins
Clover, SC – The Clover Blue Eagles hosted the Red Raider from South Point on Friday night at Clover Memorial Stadium for a cross-state contest and went away with a hard fought 30-21 victory.
The first half saw both teams running up and down the field on long scoring drives that ate up the clock. Clover scored on their first possession with an eight-yard pass from quarterback Gabe Carroll to wide receiver Jaylin Lane to cap off their opening eight play, 63-yard drive.
South Point answered on their only possession of the 1st quarter with a 74-yard, 11-play drive when Keaton Hale broke off a 23 yarder for a touchdown to knot the score at 7-7.
The Blue Eagles spread offense was running like a sewing machine and scored on the next drive that spilled over into the second quarter. Carroll connected on a six-yard toss with Blackmon Huckabee and Austin Clark was true on the point after to give Clover a 14-7 lead less than a minute into the quarter.
The Red Raiders were not to be outdone and tallied another score on their next possession when Hale once again broke free on a 25 yarder. (Hale was playing his first game after returning from a knee injury in the opening game of the year against Crest.) Cade Ratliff added the point after and the game was even again at 14-14.
South Point was finally able to stop the Clover offense on their next possession and force a punt but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Blue Eagles a fresh set of downs near mid-field. The Red Raider defense rose to the challenge again and forced a Clover punt with just under three minutes left in the half and following the punt the offense went to work at the South Point 27. After four plays the Red Raiders had advanced the ball to their 47 when Hale dropped back and air-mailed the ball to Ray Grier down the left side-line. Grier gathered the ball in near the Clover 2,0 shook off the defender, and raced into the end-zone to give the Red Raiders a 21-14 lead with only 47 seconds remaining in the half.
What ever momentum that touchdown gave the Red Raiders was stolen by the Blue Eagles on the opening kick off of the second half. A pooch kick by Austin Clark caught the Red Raiders off guard and the Blue Eagles fell on the ball and took possession at the South Point 41. It took only one play for the Blue Eagles to capitalize on the South Point mistake. Carroll completed a short pass over the middle to David Hall for what looked like would be about a five-yard gain. However, Hall evaded and shook off several would-be tacklers and managed to get to the edge before rumbling into the end-zone to tie the game up at 21-21.
The Blue Eagle defense bent but did not break on the next Red Raider possession and stopped them on downs at the Clover 37-yard line. Quarterback Carroll came out to lead the offense down the field on a seven-play drive that was capped off with a one-yard pass to Lane giving the home team a 27-21 lead.
Clover added the only points of the fourth quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Clark to give the Blue Eagles a 30-21 cushion that the Red Raiders could never overcome.
Clover totaled 391 yards with 127 yards rushing and 264 yards passing. David Hall was the work horse for the Blue Eagles ground attack with 92 yards rushing in 11 carries. Quarterback Gabe Carroll went 23 for 32 in the passing department, zero picks and accounted for all four Blue Eagle touchdowns with his arm. Hall also netted the most receiving yards for the Blue Eagles with 89 yards on four catches.
South Point’s offense accumulated 348 total yards with 192 yards rushing and 156 yards passing. Fullback Naseem Jones had 80 yards on 20 carries and quarterback Keaton Hale had 87 yards on 13 carries. Hale also completed eight of fifteen passes and his favorite target for the night was Ray Grier with three catches for 98 yards.
Next week the Red Raiders will make the short trip to Stuart Cramer for a non-conference clash and the Blue Eagles will host Ashbrook in another non-conference contest.