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CLOVER – The final night of the 2010 Lancaster High School football season was much like the final month of the season.
“Total disappointment,” said a dejected Bruins’ head football coach Bennie McMurray after seeing the Bruins fall to Clover 31-6 at Clover Memorial Stadium.
The finale was much like the previous three weeks – setbacks with a familiar feel – little offensive punch and too much time on the field for the defense.
“The defense played gallant, but they wear down after being out there so long,” McMurray said.
Lancaster, which finished 4-7, spotted Clover a 10-0 lead, but the Bruins battled back to make it a game, or it seemed so.
Bruins’ junior quarterback Shaq Williams, who ran for 136 yards in 18 carries, dashed 60 yards late in the second period to pull LHS close at 10-6.
Just when matters looked promising for the Bruins, they quickly fizzled in the chill of the fall night.
Clover, 9-2 and playoff-bound, answered with a pair of pivotal touchdowns to take control of the game.
“We were right there, and then we gave up a big play and they took control,” McMurray said.
Clover, after LHS rallied to within four, answered with a five-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by quarterback Aaron Miller’s six-yard TD dash. Miller figured into the key play of the drive, whipping a third-and-seven pass to speedy Davontay Brown who weaved his way to the LHS 16. A face mask tackle moved it to the Bruins’ eight and two snaps later, Miller, who ran for 120 yards in 19 carries, bolted into the end zone for a 17-6 lead after Trey Childress converted the kick.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bruins’ hole grew deeper as Clover’s Chad Hill recovered a fumble at the LHS 16 with 1:05 left before halftime.
Two snaps later, Brown sprinted in from eight yards out for a 24-6 lead.
“We’re right there and then we give up two key scores and they’re back in control,” McMurray said.
“We were just able to make some plays,” Clover coach Jet Turner said. “After we gave up that big run for the touchdown, we came back and played with intensity and battled.”
Clover, up 24-6, stretched its lead to 31-6 after Blue Eagles’ defensive back Casey Snipes picked off a pass to set up a score. The Eagles drove 70 yards, with Quan Kennedy going the final yard to wrap up the scoring.
Clover bolted to a 3-0 lead on its opening drive of the first half as the Blue Eagles marched to the LHS five where the drive bogged down and Childress came on to drill a 22-yard field goal. Clover padded its margin with an 88-yard, 13-play drive, which was finished off on Miller’s two-yard keeper.
“We couldn’t generate any offensive consistency and Clover was able to get the upper hand and maintain the lead,” McMurray said. “They like to control the game and clock with their offense and that’s what they did. In our offense, we, like several times this season, didn’t finish.”
McMurray said he hoped for better this season.
“We felt real good coming out of spring practice with 140 kids in our program, but this week with our three football teams (varsity, junior varsity and B-team), we had about 70 kids,” McMurray said. “If our program is going to achieve, we’re going to have to have the commitment and stick with it.
“We have to find a way to compete,” he said. “That’s being bigger, faster and stronger. We have to make a major commitment to our weight room.”