Clovers hold off Speedway 25-20, even mark at 5-5
SPEEDWAY -- Survive and advance is the name of the game in Indiana high school football tournament play and the Cloverdale Clovers used a tough defense to overcome some mistakes to advance to the second round with a 25-20 victory over the Speedway Sparkplugs Friday night in Class 2A Sectional 38 play.
Cloverdale improved to 5-5, while Speedway ended its season at 2-8.
“I am ecstatic to tell you the truth,” Cloverdale head coach Tom Winders said. “We are happy, we beat a good football team.”
Cloverdale looked good early. The Clovers forced Speedway into a three-and-out on the first possession and then used a 10-play drive to set up a Trey Henry 38-yard field goal to open the scoring.
Late in the quarter, the Clovers committed their first of five turnovers in the game as the Sparkplugs recovered a fumble, and five plays later took the lead on Chris Valentine’s 5-yard run. After the PAT kick, Speedway led 7-3.
Speedway used its athleticism on the next possession. The Sparkplugs freed up Sam Jackson for a 55-yard touchdown pass from Valentine and boosted their lead to 13-3.
“We looked good early, then kind of slowed down and didn’t play as well in the first and second quarters,” Winders said of the Clovers.
But Cloverdale settled down used two big pass plays on the next series to cut into the lead. Parker Watts hit Henry with a 42-yard pass, then two plays later hooked up with Jake Wilkes for a 30-yard strike. Henry kicked the PAT and Speedway’s lead was cut to 13-10.
After holding the Sparkplugs on the next possession, Nick Winders gave the Clovers good field position with a 33-yard punt return. Five plays later, Tyce Jackson regained the lead for Cloverdale with a five-yard run. Following another Henry PAT kick, the Clovers would go to the half leading 17-13.
“We really played well tonight at times. We surprised some people,” Winders said.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle as the only points scored in the period were by the Clover defense. Cloverdale caught Valentine in the end zone for a safety and boosted the lead to 19-13 heading into the final period.
Cloverdale took the free kick from Speedway and drove 51 yards in nine plays to score on a Henry 10-yard run. The two-point conversion failed, but the Clovers led 25-13 with just over 10 minutes to play.
“He (Henry) played really well tonight. He got us on the board with the field goal and ran well. The line really blocked well,” Winders said.
The Clovers used a variety of running backs to gain 176 yards rushing on the night as they kept the ball away from the athletic Sparkplugs through most of the first three quarters.
Cloverdale scared its fans late in the game as it turned the ball over three times in the final eight minutes.
The Clovers threw two interceptions and lost a fumble, but allowed only a 71-yard pass from Valentine to Camden Del Corrobbo with 7:10 left in the game. Following the PAT kick, the Clovers held a slim 25-20 lead.
Speedway couldn’t find a way to move the ball after forcing two more Clover turnovers late in the game.
“Our defense really stood up. We will get the turnovers fixed this week,” Winders said.
Cloverdale’s defense held the Sparkplugs to just 30 yards rushing on 30 carries as the Clovers repeatedly caught Speedway backs behind the line of scrimmage. The Clovers had an astounding 23 plays where they stopped the Sparkplugs for a loss.
Cloverdale will now face Park Tudor next Friday night in the second round of sectional play.
Cloverdale 3 14 2 6 — 25
Speedway 7 6 0 7 — 20
CHS — Trey Henry 38 Field Goal , 3-0, Q1 6:17.
SHS — Chris Valentine 5 run (Iruoghene Oruahwo kick) 7-3, Q1 1:41.
SHS — Sam Jackson 55 pass from Chris Valentine (kick failed) 13-3, Q2 11:38.
CHS — Jake Wilkes 30 pass from Parker Watts (Henry kick) 13-10, Q2 10:01.
CHS — Tyce Jackson 5 run (Henry kick) 17-13, Q2 4:12.
CHS — Defensive Safety 19-13, Q3 1:41.
CHS — Henry 10 run (run failed) 25-13, Q4 10:44.
SHS — Camden Dal Corobbo 71 pass from Chris Valentine (Oruahwo kick) 25-20, Q2 4:12.
First downs 16 7
Rushes-yards 51-176 33-30
Passing yards 96 198
Comp-Att-Int 4-12-2 15-22-0
Total offense 63-272 55-228
Punts-Avg. 2-27.5 4-38
Fumbles-lost 4-3 1-0
Penalties-yards 8-83 4-30
Rushing — Cloverdale: Tyce Jackson 14-59, Trey Henry 15-46, Parker Watts 9-32, Nick Winders 8-27, Logan Abner 3-9, Tyler Kaeff 2-3. Speedway: Sam Jackson 10-34, Devon Valentine 2-3, Camden Del Corrobbo 1-0, Nasir Johnson 3-(-26), Chris Valentine 17-(-41).
Passing — Cloverdale: Watts 4-10-1 96, Henry 0-1-1, Winders 0-1-0. Speedway: Burkett 10-19-1 147.
Receiving — Cloverdale: Henry 2-52, Wilkes 1-30, Winders 1-14. Speedway: Del Corrobbo 5-91, Jackson 4-72, Devon Valentine 5-43, Johnson 1-(-8).