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1-loss Clarendon Hall opens playoffs on road against SJC

By J. SCOTT SEWELL
jscott@theitem.com
Posted 11/5/19

Clarendon Hall's varsity football team finished the regular season with an 8-1 record, outscoring three of their final four opponents by a margin of 141-6. However, the Saints will be traveling to Moncks Corner to face St. John's Christian Academy …

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1-loss Clarendon Hall opens playoffs on road against SJC

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Clarendon Hall's varsity football team finished the regular season with an 8-1 record, outscoring three of their final four opponents by a margin of 141-6. However, the Saints will be traveling to Moncks Corner to face St. John's Christian Academy in the first round of the SCISA 8-Man football playoffs on Friday.

The Saints finished in a 3-way tie for first place in Region II with Richard Winn Academy and Wardlaw Academy and lost the tiebreaker to both.

"It's very frustrating," said Clarendon Hall head coach Anthony Reitenour. "You have a 1-loss season and you're on the road for the playoffs. It's just crazy. But we'll make the best of it and give it the best fight we can. There's no sense in sulking in it and thinking about it. We just need to get ready to play St. John's on Friday."

Despite the unfortunate playoff seeding, it was another successful regular season for the Saints after finishing 9-2 last year. Clarendon Hall's only loss this year was to region champion Wardlaw Academy in a tightly contested game that didn't slip away until Zyan Gilmore, the Saints starting quarterback, suffered a concussion that caused him to miss the remainder of the game, and potentially the rest of the season.

"I feel like we had a really good season," said Reitenour. "Finishing 8-1 kind of speaks for itself. We've had a lot of adversity, from losing players and having injuries; all of these things, that as a football coach you can't really plan for. I feel like every time that happened the guys have responded well and we've bounced back well. I think that's kinda carried us this far, our ability to adapt and keep fighting no matter how crazy things have gotten this year."

The Saints are hoping history repeats itself after beating St. John's 62-10 in the first round of the playoffs last year.

"They're a very talented team and have a very talented quarterback," said Reitenour. "We're very similar in style - the two Oregons playing in an SEC league. They're a hard-nosed football team. We're pretty evenly matched, so it's just a matter of executing and not making errors. I'm hoping we can get on them early and gain the momentum."

Clarendon Hall turned to standout sophomore wide receiver Kylic Horton to replace Gilmore at quarterback, and Horton has responded by leading the Saints to blowout victories over Jefferson Davis Academy (52-6) and King Academy (42-0). Horton racked up 220 yards rushing on just 16 carries against JDA while also passing for over 100 yards.

Senior wideout Kade Elliot has stepped up at receiver with Horton moving under center. "Kade has been stepping up all year long," said Reitenour. "He's really emerged this year and has started to take on more of a leadership role."