High school football 2021 previews: Part 1 – Clover, Mountain Island Charter

WWW.CAROLINASSPORTSHUB.COM High School Football Previews
Aug. 16 – Others (Mountain Island Charter and Clover)
Aug. 17 – Catawba Valley 2A, Western Foothills 3A conferences
Aug. 18 – Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference
Aug. 19 – Big South 3A Conference


By Richard Walker

As we all know by now, athletics and high school football locally were disrupted as much as any sports can be by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Mountain Island Charter and Clover, two schools coming off historic seasons, that led to subpar seasons.

In Mountain Island Charter’s case, it was a school-worst 2-5 season after the N.C. High School Athletic Association moved the fall 2020 season to the winter and spring of 2021.

In Clover’s case, it was a very abbreviated 2-3 season when the S.C. High School League delayed the start of its 2020 fall season.

This fall, both teams are eager to get back in action and return to their successes.

Here’s a look at both teams:

5A Region 3
Coach: Brian Lane (5th year, 22-16)
Coaching staff: Steven Peeler, Brian Denny, Avery James, Curtis Godwin, Steven Churm, Tony Cook, Wayne Williams, Tony Ashmore, Shaedon Meadors
DeAndre Martin, Orlando Smith, Lee Jordan, Casey Turner, Steven Williams, James Hinton, Jack McGivern, Jackson Parrish
Returning starters: 13
Starters lost: 9
2020 record: 2-3, 1-2 Region 3 5A
Top returning players: QB Joe Boyd, WR Darius Bowser, ​​​WR Hunter Jaime, TE Hunter Nichols, OL Hagan Smith, WR Chance Sanders, DL Omari Davis, DL Brice Harris, LB Zaske Her, DL Jacob Neelands, LB Sage Penninger, DB Mason VandeStouwe, LB Cooper Zohner
Top newcomers: DB/WR Jy Martin, WR Imon Caldwell
Season outlook: After a 12-1 season in 2019 that was the school’s best since 2007, the Blue Eagles fell to 1-2 in 5A Region 3 in a COVID-abbreviated season. Having 13 returning starters gives Clover optimism they can bounce back even as the Blue Eagles are 10-39 in league games since 2011.
All-time record: 340-400-2 since 1948 (program began in 1926)
Last 5 seasons: 28-21
Aug. 27 York
Sept. 3 Northwestern
Sept. 10 at South Pointe
Sept. 17 at Spartanburg
Sept. 24 Rock Hill
Oct. 8 Fort Mill*
Oct. 15 at Boiling Springs*
Oct. 22 Gaffney*
Oct. 29 at Nation Ford*

Mountain Island Charter
Coach: Robert Washington (7th year, 45-23)
Coaching staff: Jerry Baker, Josh Mills, Chris Campfield, Jack Gardner, Ronnie Hunter, Derrick Howell, Emory McClain, EJ Nickelson, Darrell
Returning starters: 16
Starters lost: 6
2021 spring record: 2-5, 2-3
Top returning players: Athlete Trae Nickelson, QB Dylan Bisson, WR Cole Hart, TE/WR Caleb Patton, TE/DE Tanner Leeson, OL/DL Brock Haynes, OL/DL Brady Johnson, LB Jamarcus Boyd, LB Leonard Hadley, WR/DB Reggie Taylor, Athlete Q Williams, Athlete Jonavon Fisher, LB Morgan Scales, LB Khiyale Washington, Athlete Elijah Hadley, K/P Austin McConnell, LB Danijah River-McGowan
Top newcomers: DL Aston Miller, Athlete Jaylin Melton Hall, Athlete Quadir Huggins
Season outlook: After last year’s struggles, 16 returning starters has Washington’s team eager for a rebound in a new conference. The competition may well be stiffer but many Raptors were members of the school’s state championship track team from last spring, among them four-year veteran Trae Nickelson; Nickelson was a part of three track titles – 200-meter dash, 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay.
All-time record: 45-26 (since 2015)
Last 5 seasons: 39-20
Aug. 20 at Anson County
Sept. 3 Cabarrus Stallions
Sept. 10 Union Academy
Sept. 17 Pine Lake Prep*
Sept. 24 at Community School of Davidson*
Oct. 1 Winston-Salem Prep*
Oct. 8 at Christ the King*
Oct. 15 Bishop McGuinness*
Oct. 22 at Winston-Salem Carver*
Oct. 29 Lake Norman Charter