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East Clarendon High School

Ard leaves behind lasting legacy with East Clarendon softball program


By Justin Driggers

Special Correspondent


Turbeville – Even before the East Clarendon High School softball team took the field for the Class A state championship series against Lewisville, Lisa Ard knew it would likely be her last series as a coach.

On opportunity as a P.E. teacher at R.E. Davis Elementary School in Sumter became available and Ard said it was something she just couldn’t pass up.

“I found out the Friday before (the state championship series),” she said. “I got an offer I just couldn’t refuse. It kind of fell into my lap. It was just a really good offer for me at this point in time.”

A desire to slow down a little and a chance to see her children were big reasons why Ard decided to make the move now, she said.

“My children are in a different era of their lives and I’ll get to see a little bit more of them since they’re in Aiken,” Ard said. “One’s still playing ball and the other is teaching and coaching.”

“…But it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve been coaching for 30 years with 12 of those coming at East Clarendon. It was just a decision I had to make. I guess the good Lord was ready for me to move on.”

Regardless Ard leaves a strong legacy at East Clarendon. Her squad has played for the state title in five of the last six seasons and with two championship rings to show for it. The Lady Wolverines won the title in 2013 and again in 2017. Both of those wins came against Dixie, who EC faced four times for the state championship.

She was also the coach at Crestwood High School from 1998-2006 where she won four region titles.

“Probably the first state title would be the biggest moment,” Ard said looking back on her career. “Tried for so many years and really wasn’t expecting it that year. We’ve had a lot of talented teams come through here and that was a year where maybe we weren’t really as talented on paper, per say. But they played with big hearts and went out and took it. It was a great group of kids.”

Ard took over the EC program from Judy Coker, but not before soaking up as much as she could from the legendary coach.

“She and Mr. Norman (Coker) kind of took me under their wing and I learned a lot from them,” Ard said. “I kept learning and kept building. I did a lot better calling pitches for my players and things like that.”

The addition of Andy Baker to the coaching staff was another significant addition, she added.

“I think we really complimented each other,” Ard said. “I’m more of a defensive-minded person and he’s more offensive-minded. We talked about adjustments we needed to make on the field and it just worked really well.

“I’ve had a great staff and great kids that came in and really wanted to play. They work hard and they play to win. I’ve been blessed to be there.”


Experience finally on Wolverines side as spring football comes to an end


By Justin Driggers

Special Correspondent


Turbeville – It was three years ago when Scott Cook took over at East Clarendon High School with the task of rebuilding the program.

He knew the first two seasons wouldn’t be easy as a number of young players had to step into starting roles right away.

“A lot of those kids who were freshmen and sophomores had to play,” Cook said. “They had a hard two years to begin with, but now they’re juniors and seniors. They’ve spend the last two years in the weight room growing and maturing and hopefully that’s going to start paying off for them.”

Cook believes this year could do just that. After finishing 2-9 a season ago, the Wolverines ended their spring workouts pretty much as they began them – with not many holes that needed filling.

EC had 42 players at its last spring practice, Cook said, and about 37 of those played for the team last year on either varsity or B-Team.

Of those, about 20 are returning starters.

“We’ve got plenty of experience coming back,” Cook said. “We didn’t have a whole lot of (position) questions going into spring. We’re just trying to get a little more competition at each position. It’s always good to have that and creates some depth.”

Depth along the offensive line is one area of need. The Wolverines return everyone but their center from a year ago. That spot is being battled for by J.C. Miller and freshman Austin McKenzie.

Juniors Hayden Beasley and Dixon McKenzie are back at left tackle and left guard, respectively, while sophomore Jeb Green returns at right tackle. Deondre Demery will handle the right guard positon.

East Clarendon is set at quarterback as Lane Robinson returns for his senior season with Cub Cook as the other signal-caller.

“Lane’s first game was the playoff game his sophomore year,” coach Cook said. “He’s done a great job for us and has tremendous leadership both on and off the field.”

Tyjhai Calvin, who was used as mostly a running back last season, will be counted on to be an offensive threat at wide receiver this year.

The move was made easy due to the fact that the Wolverines have a plethora of running back to fit into their Wishbone system. Seniors Jakesh Smith, Garrick Powell and Gavin Gibbons all return with underclassmen Marquese Webb and Davontay McFadden waiting in the wings.

The EC defense returns mostly intact as well. Foshon Barnes, Taquowin Webb and T.J. Owens will line up along the defensive front for the Wolverines while Ashton Mixon, Daquan McElveen, Ronald Harrison and Jakesh Smith will handle the linebacking duties.

The secondary will consist of Calvin, Treyvon Elmore, Dusty Hancock, Da’ronald Harrison and Keyon Wilson, who is coming up from the B Team and will likely have an impact this season, coach Cook said.

Franklin Lara also returns to solidify the kicking game for EC.



© 2017 High School Sports Report

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