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Monday, May 2, 2016

Cloverdale's late game gamble doesn't pay off

Saturday, October 8, 2011

(Photo)
Cloverdale's Cody Stout (66) and Taylor Mescall (33) terrorize Owen Valley quarterback Gunnar Ranard in Friday's contest. [Order this photo]
CLOVERDALE -- Although the Cloverdale Clovers are enduring a tough football season, Friday's game against Owen Valley demonstrated that in spite of its record, Cloverdale has the tools to win ball games. The Clovers lost the game 21-13, but gave fans in attendance something to cheer about and a promise of better things to come.

"It was a fun game to watch," CHS head coach John Butler said. "It was a competitive game that was a good opportunity for our kids to play in a situation where they weren't up too big and could take the night off or down real big and could take the night off. They were forced to be fully engaged in the game in every aspect.

"We had some penalties, we did have some mental breakdowns, but not as many as 'normal', so our kids are getting better. They always know week in and week out they're not going to be the biggest and the strongest, but they hang their hat, they confidence comes from execution," he added.

Cloverdale found itself in position to tie its football game with Owen Valley late in the fourth quarter, but the Clovers opted for a chance to change its fortunes. With the Patriots leading 14-7, Cloverdale began its drive from it's own territory. Cloverdale had been struggling with Owen Valley's defensive line pressure all night, so Butler decided to take them out of the equation.

Following two running plays that netted six yards, the Clovers performed a reverse with Trevor Lockwood racing around the end and getting an angle of the Patriots' defense. Lockwood ran toward the far sideline and was brought down 49 yards later at the Owen Valley five-yard line, setting up a first and goal.

Cloverdale struggled to move the ball on its first two plays, so Butler called on powerback Zack Couse who scored from four yards out to pull Cloverdale within one at 14-13. Cloverdale lined up for the point after, but instead of kicking the ball, they drew the Owen Valley defense offsides, moving the ball to the two-yard line.

Following the penalty, Butler sent his offensive unit back on the field to go for two points and the lead. Quarterback Justin Wilson stood alone in the backfield with receivers on both side. After the ball was snapped, Wilson looked in the direction of Wade Warren, but the receiver slipped as the ball was released and the pass hit the turf. Cloverdale's defense put on its helmets, knowing what they had to do.

Brian Dale sent a high kick deep and the Cloverdale defense took to the field with the intent to hold its ground. Owen Valley quarterback Gunnar Ranard went up the middle for a six-yard gain. The Clovers' defense was fired up, as was its crowd, but the next play knocked the remaining wind out of both for the moment.

Drew Bradley took Ranard's handoff and slammed up the middle of the field. A few missed tackles later, Bradley was off to the races for what would end up being a 73 yard touchdown with 1:24 remaining in the game to put the game out of reach.

Wilson connected with Lockwood for a four yard gain and rushed for a single yard, but was picked off on his long pass attempt with :34 remaining in the game to seal Cloverdale's fate.

Owen Valley opened the scoring on the night on the first play of the second quarter when Ranard hooked up with Evan Rice for a 25-yard touchdown strike. Cloverdale knotted the game 7-all when Jordan Brinkman scored on a 54-yard run at the 5:47 mark of the third quarter.

The Cloverdale fan base and sideline were in the game from the opening kickoff and Butler said he tried to get his bench in on the action as much as he could.

"Our young kids on the sideline, it's difficult for young kids at any level of football to feel engaged in a varsity football game when they know they're not going to play," Butler said. "I make sure to give them a role -- to help with pass/run calls on defense, to be aware of the situation and help get the crowd into the football game -- and they did a great job of that. Our young kids are buying into the program and it's going to be a pleasure to see them grow in the off-season and be our starters next year as a young team. That's going to be a fun time."

The Clovers will close out its regular season by hosting county rival North Putnam next Friday at 7 p.m. Butler said the energy level will be up since its senior night and that his team will approach next week as they have all previous contests this season.

At Cloverdale

Owen Valley 0 7 7 7 -- 21

Cloverdale 00 7 6 -- 13

Second Quarter

OV -- Renard 25 yard pass to Rice, kick good 11:55

Third Quarter

CHS -- Brinkman 54 yard run, kick good 5:47

OV -- Ranard 3 yard run, kick good 1:32

Fourth Quarter

CHS -- Couse 4 yard run, conversion failed 2:39

OV -- Bradley 73 yard run, kick good 1:24

Indivdual Stats

Cloverdale

Rushing -- Brinkman 13-78 TD, Lockwood 9-56, Wilson 3-4, Brumfield 2-2, Couse 1-4 TD

Passing -- Wilson 6-13 46 yards,, 2 INT

Receiving -- Lockwood 2-19, Atwood 2-7, Warren 1-7, Strunk 1-13`