CLOVERDALE -- On offense, there are two ways to score a touchdown -- run the ball or pass the ball. In Friday's game against Riverton Parke, Cloverdale decided to host a clinic on the ground, scoring eight times with eight different running backs in the 53-0 win at home.
"I can't tell you how proud of you I am," head coach John Butler said to his players after the game. "If I was a plastic container I would have burst open because I would be filled with too much pride."
Quarterback Justin Wilson didn't get to pass the ball until the 15th play from scrimmage, only going 3-7 for 25 yards with two carries for 16 yards. By comparison, running back Jordan Brinkman carried the ball 25 times for 223 yards and a touchdown. Though he had the vast majority of yards in the 58 total running plays of the night, he was far from alone in the endzone.
Brinkman started the game off with four straight carries, but it was Trevor Lockwood who scored the first touchdown of the game on a 13-yard toss sweep to the right with 7:54 left in the first quarter. The score came after nine straight running plays.
But Brinkman got his one score for the night on the next drive. After a three-and-out from the Panthers, Brinkman followed the first pass of the night with a 7-yard scamper with 3:51 remaining in the first. Cloverdale scored twice more in the second quarter on a 11-yard run by Zack Couse and a 17-yard run by Bret Brumfield.
The Clovers only scored once in the third quarter however. During the Panthers' first drive after halftime, Ethan Atwood intercepted a well overthrown pass at midfield to give the offense possession. Seven runs later Brian Dale smashed through the defensive line on his second try for a 1-yard score.
Things got a bit strange for the Clovers during the fourth quarter. Until that point, the three-and-out was a common theme for Riverton Parke, as the Cloverdale defense stonewalled the Panthers' running game, broke up the passing game and forced four turnovers on two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Riverton Parke had not even seen the Clover side of the field until its last drive of the game against the second string defense.
During the drive, the Panthers had three huge runs for 10, 11 and 29 yards that brought Riverton Parke to the Cloverdale 10-yard line. In response, Butler returned his first string defense to the field to preserve the shutout.
The move worked, as in the next four plays Riverton Parke ran for no gain, was sacked for a loss of five yards, lost a bad snap for another loss of five yards and missed a 34-yard field goal to preserve Cloverdale's shutout.
But it wasn't over for Butler. The head coach also reinserted the starting offense, including Brinkman and Lockwood, and broke some of the largest runs of the day for either side.
With over three minutes left on the clock, the two running backs blasted through the Panthers poor tackles and made gains of 14, 10, 16 and 34 yards in seven plays before finding themselves on Riverton Parke's 1-yard line with seconds left to play.
Instead of taking a knee, Butler chose to give William Whitinger his first carry and score of the day with a 1-yard pounding with 10 seconds left in the game.
"Some people will think that was an unclassy move on my part," Butler said. "We worked too hard to let them score."
At the time the game ended, Cloverdale wasn't sure who their opponent in the next game would be, but after defeating Attica, North Vermillion will host the Clovers next Friday. Regardless, Butler said he plans to bring the game to the Falcons and have another excellent week of practice leading into the second game. All Butler needs now are for the fans to support him, he said.
"We need to get buses to the tournament game next week," Butler said, wanting to bring the home championship atmosphere with him. "The radio...I hate it."
Cloverdale 14 12 6 21 -- 53
Riverton Parke 0 0 0 0 -- 0
CHS -- Lockwood 13-yard run, conversion good, 7:54
CHS -- Brinkman 7-yard run, conversion good, 3:51
CHS -- Couse 34-yard run, conversion failed, 9:13
CHS -- Brumfield 20-yard run, conversion failed, 4:27
CHS -- Dale 1-yard run, conversion failed, 7:30
CHS -- Reed 3-yard run, conversion good, 11:39
CHS -- Mescall 18-yard run, two-point conversion good, 9:35
CHS -- Whitlinger 1-yard fun, conversion failed, 0:10
Rushing -- Brinkman 25-223 TD, Lockwood 9-54 TD, Couse 6-28 TD, Smith 3-11, Dale 2-2 TD, Reed 1-3 TD, Mescall 1-18 TD, Whitlinger 1-1 TD, Brumfield 4-21 TD, Osmialowski 1-11 2-PT conversion, Wilson 2-16
Passing -- Wilson 3-7 25 yards
Receiving -- Lockwood 2-20, Atwood 1-5