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East Clarendon High School
Turbeville

East Clarendon football headed back to postseason

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Turbeville—It was a tough season in 2016 for the East Clarendon football team, picking up just one win with a young roster. This fall, the Wolverines played one of the most difficult schedules in Class A and finished the year with a 2-8 record.

However, they defeated both Green Sea-Floyds and Creek Bridge over the final three weeks to tie for third place in the region and earn a berth in the playoffs.

“I think we made some strides. The boys worked hard. We played one of the toughest schedules out there. For a three-week period there, we played the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 teams in 1A. It was pretty tough but the boys hung in there and kept working. We finished strong, winning two of our last three games,” head coach Scott Cook said.

For the second straight year, East Clarendon will open the postseason at Cross. The Trojans won in a blowout last season, but the mood in the Wolverines locker room this week is much different than it was 12 months ago.

“This group was excited yesterday. Last year when we made the playoffs and had to go to Cross, there were some heads hanging. These guys, I don’t know if they’re so young that they don’t know any better, but they’re excited. We had a really good practice yesterday,” Cook said.

Cross was 5-3 this season and finished second in Region 5-A. They feature a Shrine Bowl player in linebacker/running back Nathan Walker, who is committed to Wofford.

“They’re pretty big for a 1A school. Their offensive and defensive lines are pretty good. They can hold their own. That’s where games are won so I hope our guys on the line can help,” Cook said. “Last year we went there with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. Now they’re sophomores and juniors. We’re a year older so we know what to expect. The guys have bought into what we’re doing, being physical, and I can see that improvement each week.”

The East Clarendon offensive line has come on strong lately after the team abandoned the spread and went back to the wishbone. Hayden Beasley and Dixon McKenzie have anchored that group up front.

“Once we went back to the wishbone late in the season, our offensive line has really come together. They’ve done a good job for us,” Cook said. “That was better suited for our personnel. We were having trouble getting passes off and catching them. The kids like the wishbone. It’s a mindset.”

Another key player is quarterback Lane Robinson, who has added responsibilities on top of football that he never complains about.

“He’s been an excellent leader all year. You can’t complain about his work ethic. He’ll leave here after school on Friday, round up the cattle on the farm, then come back here for the pregame meal and play offense, defense and punt for us. The kids look to him,” Cook said.

Jakesh Smith, Tajhai Calvin and Ashton Mixon are other players that have performed well, according to Cook.

Once the season is complete, the Wolverines will bid farewell to a small senior class. Only six players will depart, including three-year varsity lettermen Michael Webb, Bryson McKenzie, Daniel Oxendine, Daniel Johnson and Alex O’Neal. Kyle Scoggins, who transferred in from Lugoff-Elgin this year, rounds out the class of 2018.

“They bought into what we said from the first day we came in and always worked hard,” Cook said.

 

 Lady Wolverines ousted in Lower State finals

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Turbeville—A lot was expected of the East Clarendon volleyball team this season, and once again the Lady Wolverines delivered. They wrapped up the campaign with a 16-3 record, went undefeated in conference play and advanced to state semifinals.

“It pretty much went as planned,” said first-year head coach Hope Baker. “I knew the girls pretty well going into it. I knew they were very athletic because I coached them in jayvee softball. I was really confident going into it and it went pretty well. We won the region again and made it to Lower State again.”

Unfortunately, the season ended at Branchville with a berth in the Class A championship match on the line. It was the second straight year the Yellow Jackets eliminated East Clarendon.

“Branchville was very good. I know that we were just as good, but we haven’t had to face that kind of competition much this year. It took us awhile to get up to our ability level. We did really well the third game and played together as a team. If we would have played the first two like we did the third game, we could have won,” Baker said.

The worst part of the season coming to a close is saying goodbye to a group of seniors that have accomplished so much during their time with the program. Two of those players – outside hitters Caitlin Timmons and Olivia Singletary – were named all-state, with Timmons also earning a selection to the North-South all-star game at Erskine College.

“She was my captain. I chose her from the get-go,” Baker said of Timmons. “I could trust her to lead the team. She always steps it up and you can always count on her.”

Others graduating include setters Taylor Mouzon and Kasey Wren Floyd, outside hitters Jailah Smith and Marleigh Floyd, and middle hitter Shannon Scott.

“They’re just good girls. They’re so nice and genuine about everything they do. It’s not just about their athletic ability. They’re good people in general. They make coaching fun because they’re great to be around,” Baker said.

With those players gone, it will be up to someone else to take on that leadership. Junior Britni Anderson seems poised to transition into that role after starting in the middle all season.

“I expect her to be a leader next year. She’s going to be a senior, she’s a great middle, and she takes initiative even now. She would always try to hype us up if we were down, and you could hear her over everybody trying to get us loud and excited for the game again,” Baker said.

Also returning in 2018 is middle hitter Rhamey Floyd, libero Hannah Gowdy, and outside hitters Lydia Chavez and Maggie McElveen.

“I hope we can be competitive. The ones that are coming up from jayvee should be able to mesh well with the players we already have. Next year may not be as good as it has been, but I really feel like it’s going to be a good year,” Baker said.

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