The Clarke County Eagles kicked off the 2011 season on the road against the Indians in front of a packed stadium in Berkley Springs Friday night. Clarke County’s four year run as Bull Run District champs loomed large as the 2011 team took the field, but the Eagles were able to iron out some rough spots and get their feet under them to defeat the Indians and chalk-up their first W with a 24-14 victory.
Jitters and hiccups dominated the first-half with long drives and few scores. The Indians won the toss and elected to receive starting the game with a short failed series. The Eagles took possession and proceeded to drive the ball 49 yards topping it off with a 4 yard run for the score by quarterback Drew Paice with 4:34 left in the first quarter. New starting kicker, Connor Shendow missed the PAT leaving the Eagles with a 6-0 lead. Two series later the Indians would answer back with a pass to #11 Brady Spielman who ran the ball in for the score. The Indians put the PAT through the uprights pushing them ahead of the Eagles by 1 point.
Clarke County threatened to score again in the first half, but the drive was stymied by a 15 yard personal foul and the Eagles went into half-time trailing by one.
Clarke County shed its jitters from the first half and started to gel in the second taking the lead- never to look back. With 4:03 left in the third quarter, Drew Paice connected a pass from the 22 yard line to #5 David Hardesty who punched it in for the score. The Eagles went for the two-point conversion and #3 Jesse Smoot ran it in giving the Eagles the lead once again 14-7. Less than 2 minutes later that lead was extended by 7 more. After a three and out series by Berkeley Springs, Clarke County took the ball on their own 41 yard line. Jesse Smoot took the ball on first down and blazed 59 yards for a touchdown. Conner Shendow nailed the PAT and extended the lead to 21-7.
Defensively, the Eagles protected their lead in the second half. #54 Chance Ramey had several sacks and teamed up with Linebacker #2 Colby Keating repeatedly stopping the Indians in their backfield.
With 8:06 left in the 4th quarter Conner Shendow capped off the Eagle’s point total with a 42 yard field goal.
Berkley Springs would score another touchdown with just over 5 minutes left in the game, but was unable to mount a comeback.
After the game, Clarke County Coach Chris Parker said,”I admire Berkeley Springs, they came out ready to play and they took it to us.”
Asked what bright spots he saw in his squad the coach said, “We hit the big play when we needed it and kicked a field goal when we had to, so there were some bright spots.” Parker added, “I admire our guys for coming back but we are going to have to step it up. We have got a lot to work on.”
The Clarke County Eagles will play their first home game of the 2011 season next Friday at “The Felt” against Warren County. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM