Clover’s Zach Jordan tries to catch up with Fort Mill freshman running back Will Alvarado in the first quarter Friday night when the Yellow Jackets hosted the Blue Eagles. Photo by Stephanie Marks-Martell

In a matter of one minute and 25 seconds, the momentum of the game shifted giving the Clover Blue Eagles what they needed to come away with a 21-14 win over the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets. 

The Blue Eagles (1-1, 1-0 Region 3-5A) scored two touchdowns in that time frame during the third quarter after recovering an onside kick and took all of the air out of Bob Jones Stadium and Fort Mill (0-2, 0-2 Region 3-5A) for the rest of the game. 

Fort Mill’s Miller Shouse picked off Clover on the first play of the third quarter off a screen pass to return the ball 34-yards to the end zone just 18 seconds into the second half to go up 14-7.

On the Blue Eagles next series, they fumbled near midfield with the Jackets’ Jack Noll recovering the ball. This time the Jackets couldn’t take advantage of the Clover miscue, but the Blue Eagles were able to take advantage of back-to-back penalties by Fort Mill putting them at the 22-yard line where Clover’s quarterback Joe Boyd found Omari Davis for a 22-yard touchdown. 

Clover recovered an on-side kick and scored four plays later on a 32-yard drive as Ron Johnson scored from six-yards out to give them the one score lead at 21-14. 

Fort Mill head coach Rob McNeely said he was proud of his team’s effort.

“They kept fighting,” McNeely said. “There is no such thing as a moral victory and these guys are mad and that is what we want.”

Freshman Will Alvarado led the Jackets in the game as Fort Mill relied a lot on their running game. Alvarado rushed for 78 yards on 20 carries for the Jackets and the only offensive touchdown of the game.

Defensively, Fort Mill was able to make up for where their offense struggled, especially in stopping the run during the first half. Fort Mill held Clover to negative seven yards on 11 rushes in the first half. 

Where Clover excelled was in throwing the ball. The Blue Eagles passed for 237 yards in the game. 

The Jackets got the opening kickoff and immediately started to pound the ball on the ground. The drive stalled and Clover took over on downs, but their first series went nowhere as well. 

In the early going, it seemed the game was going to be a defensive struggle for both teams. The Fort Mill defense was strong getting to Boyd with a lot of pressure off the line. That pressure resulted in a lot of punts in the opening quarter.

Clover made the most progress throwing the ball in the first quarter. All but one of their first downs in the quarter came through the air. Fort Mill on the other hand did the majority of their damage on the ground in the quarter.

Two plays into the second quarter, Alvarado rushed for a 40-yard touchdown to put Fort Mill on the board. 

Things didn’t stay that way for long as Boyd hit Chance Sanders on a 57-yard pass for a touchdown down the left side of the field tying the game at 7-7 about three minutes later. 

The two scores were highlights of the first half, because after the drives, each team struggled to keep the momentum moving in their direction.

Defensively in the second half, Clover focused on stopping the run, which powered the Jackets in the first half. Fort Mill struggled to throw the ball during the game completing only four second half passes and passed for 88 of yards in the game. Fort Mill had 190 total yards in the game.


Clover 21, Fort Mill 14

Scoring Summery

Second quarter

FM – Will Alvarado 40-yard run, 11:49 

C – Joe Boyd 57-yard pass to Chance Sanders, 8:33

Third quarter

FM-Miller Shouse 34-yard interception return, 11:42

C – Boyd 22-yard pass to Omari Davis, 7:38 

C – Ron Johnson six-yard run, 6:13

Mac Banks:, @fortprep