PREP FOOTBALL

Saints looking for redemption against AJA

BY TREVOR BAUKNIGHT
trevor@theitem.com
Posted 11/9/18

Again, it comes down to this.

The Clarendon Hall varsity football team, at 9-1 on the season, has a chance to make an appearance in the SCISA 8-man football state championship game next week, but to get there the Saints will have to beat Andrew …

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PREP FOOTBALL

Saints looking for redemption against AJA

Posted

Again, it comes down to this.

The Clarendon Hall varsity football team, at 9-1 on the season, has a chance to make an appearance in the SCISA 8-man football state championship game next week, but to get there the Saints will have to beat Andrew Jackson Academy today at 7:30 p.m. in Ehrhardt.

That's the same team that defeated the Saints twice last season in dramatic fashion, 40-35 in the regular season and 34-30 in the state semifinals.

Also, Andrew Jackson hasn't lost a football game since a 2014 state championship game against Richard Winn, having won 47 straight games and three consecutive state titles.

"I'm expecting the same thing we always see," said Saints head coach Anthony Reitenour. "They're a very downhill, aggressive team. Last year when we played them, in the regular season and semifinals, we had them pretty much scouted out to a T and we did a really good job of holding them in both of those games within a touchdown. In the semifinal game, we actually had the lead with a minute left, and gave up a long pass on some broken coverage, and they edged out the win.

"It's one that all the boys still remember, and one that makes my heart go crazy," Reitenour said. "As a coach we couldn't have prepared more for a team than we prepared for Andrew Jackson."

The Saints started out this season with a 26-16 victory over Andrew Jackson in a jamboree scrimmage, and Reitenour said his team is still soaring in part because of that experience.

"In our jamboree against them, we won 26-16 and a few of their players went down in that game," Reitenour said. "The guys got a boost of confidence heading into the season, and I think they still have that. They're not looking at Andrew Jackson as a 47-0 team, they're looking at it like 'Hey, we should have beaten these guys last year, and we proved ourselves early this year, and it's time to go do it."

Reitenour said he and his coaching staff, particularly defensive coordinator Stewart Price, might be a bit excessive when it comes to scouting out the opposition, but that his players discovered the importance of preparation and have taken it upon themselves to ready themselves to play.

"During the season, when we were beating people 60-0, I think some of our guys got a little complacent," Reitenour said. "(Losing to Jefferson Davis Academy) woke us up a little bit, and they came back motivated, and Friday night they started to see why we prepare so much and decided that they need to put the work in on the field."

Reitenour said the team's togetherness and motivation showed in last week's 62-10 victory over St. John's Christian in the opening round of the playoffs, and that jumping on the Confederates early will be key to any success they have.

"They don't do a whole lot, but they're very good at it, very well-coached and disciplined," said Reitenour of AJA. "We know what they're going to do, and it's just a matter of coming out motivated like we did last Friday, getting fired up and being aggressive and jumping on them early. What I'm seeing this week in practice -- man, we look good; we look motivated, we look hungry.

"Weather's going to be a factor, and we're watching to see how wet the field is going to be and whether we need to change some things, but we feel good about it," said Reitenour. "We've got to be aggressive and hit them first and not let them hit us first. I think if we do that for four quarters, we'll be moving on."