CLOVERDALE -- It was a rough night for the Cloverdale Clovers in their opening game of the 2008 season. The Clovers were plagued by injuries and unable to get things rolling in their 41-6 loss to the Speedway Sparkplugs.
While Keefer was in the air, he was hit by a Sparkplug defender and hit the ground with enough force to rip his helmet off. After several minutes, Keefer was put on a support board and loaded into a waiting ambulance, giving a thumbs up to the cheering Cloverdale sideline.
"Nick Keefer wanted to get up and get on the sideline, but we took the most extreme caution because of the injury," CHS head coach Kyle Winkler said.
Injuries beset the Clovers all night, as multiple players nursed injuries on the sideline and another, sophomore Chris Nees, was taken to the hospital after a nasty hit on a return.
The Clovers managed to hang tight with Speedway, with the first quarter ending with both squads scoreless.
All of Speedway's damage came in the second and third quarters. The Sparkplugs scored 27 in the second and added 14 in the third.
Cloverdale got on the board in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Seehaver tore the ball from Speedway quarterback Tetris Moore and blazed a trail 68 yards down the field to score.
After the contest, Winkler commended the efforts of Speedway and explained what his squad needed to do to achieve that level of success.
"I saw a Speedway team that was bigger, faster and stronger," Winkler said. "They show by they have owned the WCC since they've been in the conference tonight.
"Our kids have to realize that they have to play with heart, a positive attitude and go full out every single play to play with a Speedway team. They ran six basic plays tonight. We knew what they were going to do and we couldn't stop them."
Winkler also explained that the scoreboard didn't reflect the strides the Clovers have made since last year. He's preached to his squad the importance of hitting the weight room and used Speedway as an example of what the Clovers can become.
"I tried to explain to them that we have to have a lot of hard workers to beat a Speedway team," Winkler commented. "It just hurts me to come out here and see them put so much effort in the offseason and then one bad thing here, one bad thing there and it's 27-0 at the half. It's just heart wrenching. The injuries definitely did not help at all."
The Clovers ran the ball well, racking up 99 yards on 34 carries, with Dillin Gray accounting for 51 of those.
A somber Cloverdale squad had its spirits lifted as Keefer strolled onto the field following the game.
With the first game in the books, the Clovers shift their focus onto their next opponent West Vigo.
"We have to recover from this as best we can, mentally and physically, and get prepared for West Vigo starting at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow," Winkler said.
Cloverdale will travel to West Vigo next Friday at 7 p.m.
Speedway 0 27 14 0 -- 41
Cloverdale 0 0 0 6 -- 6
Speedway -- McGavoch 8 yard run (Walton kick)
Speedway -- Linville 1 yard run (kick blocked)
Speedway -- McGavoch 1 yard run (Walton kick)
Speedway -- Avance 3 yard run (Walton kick)
Speedway -- Avance 7 yard run (Walton kick)
Speedway -- Shaw 30 yard pass from West (Walton kick)
Cloverdale -- Seehaver 68 yard fumble return (conversion failed)
Speedway (36-285) -- Avance 12-125 2 TD, Hubbard 3-63, McGavoch 6-27 2 TD, Linville 2-4, Dunn 4-17, Snyder 3-23, Judkins 4-17, Slusher 1-7.
Cloverdale (32-99) -- Gray 12-51, Spinks 5-15, Law 3-12, Boller 4-7, Weather 4-8, Looper 1-5, Pagel 3-1.
Speedway (3-8, 68) -- Linville 2-5, 38 yds.; West 1-3, 30 yds. TD
Cloverdale -- (2-6, 5 yds.) -- Hayden 1-4, (-9) 2 Int.; Brickman 1-2, 5 yds.
Next game -- Cloverdale will travel to West Vigo next Friday at 7 p.m.