Clover Hill football opens 2022 season against Matoaca

Clover+Hills+defensive+line+face+up+against+the+Warriors+offensive+line+prior+to+the+snap.

Ian Hooks

Clover Hill’s defensive line face up against the Warriors offensive line prior to the snap.

Cabot Butts, Sports Editor

On a spirited night at The Chiller, the excitement of a new season was unmatched, as students showed up in their whitest of white gear. From tee shirts to face paint, the student section was filled with people of all sizes from all grades.  

Sept. 1 marked the Cavalier’s first football game of the season where they faced a tough Matoaca Warriors team. The action started before anybody even took the field though, as an hour before game time, fans and students were invited to attend the annual pregame tailgate.

Students were given the opportunity to play some spikeball, kanjam, enjoy some free chips, and get their face painted by the uber talented senior artist Quyen Nguyen.  

The game itself saw Clover Hill get on the board first as junior defensive end Andre Williams forced the Matoaca quarterback to throw an errant pass that led to an intentional grounding call and a safety. With the score 2-0, Matoaca showed their competitiveness, scoring 47 unanswered points as they went on to win the game 47-2. 

While the game did not go the way the Cavs would have hoped, it was evident that this was the first game of the season highlighted by a few miscommunications in the backfield, misunderstandings on play calls and perilous snaps. 

Also, this Cavalier squad is a lot different from last year’s team. Clover Hill lost a lot of experience with the Class of 2022 graduating. Last year’s leadership, which came in the form of defensive end Bryson Jennings, safety Malakhai Lewis, as well as receiver Abe Uqdah, are all gone. 

Along with last year’s seniors leaving, the Cavs saw a couple of their current leaders go down early with a variety of injuries. 

Senior linebacker and captain Jackson Drewry left the game early in the first half with a concussion. Senior defensive back Kyle Evans tweaked a knee in one of the first drives of the game.  

However, a bright spot for Clover Hill came in the form of junior safety Elden Holmes (#2). Even when the game became out of reach, Holmes showed his competitive spirit, producing nine tackles and an interception en route to winning the inaugural Cavalier Chronicle Player of the Game award. 

Also effective in the game was senior defensive back Chris Henry. Henry provided multiple tackles, along with two pass breakups and a forced fumble that came in the second quarter. 

In an unfortunate turn of events, junior starting quarterback Holden Stephens left the game in the third quarter with an apparent upper body injury. 

On the next drive, sophomore Malacai Swain came into the game to replace Stephens at quarterback. Even having come into the game as a backup, Swain was able to complete a few passes for sufficient yardage during the last drive of the game. Most impressive of his attempts was a 15 yard completion to sophomore wide receiver DayJaun Ablonczy with approximately a minute left in regulation.

Even having not gone in their favor, the Cavaliers can still look ahead, as next Friday, Sept. 9, they take on the Midlothian Trojans at the Hill!