Richard Winn can’t douse Saints’ spark

SUMMERTON – The Richard Winn Eagles went on the road Friday evening to face off against the Clarendon Hall Saints. Both teams entered with an unblemished record, but only the Saints were able to stay undefeated as they took down the Eagles 42-40 in overtime.

“Absolutely, this is the toughest battle we have been in,” said Richard Winn head coach Paul Brigman. “They are rated higher than us, we knew it was going to be tough to come down here to their place and get a win, but our boys fought hard. We got a good idea and we got to see how when the fire gets hot who will be able to respond and that will pay benefits for us down the road. We will definitely learn from this and be better from this.”

Richard Winn jumped out to a 21-6 lead with 3:49 to play in the second quarter. The Eagles got the ball back in the closing minutes of the first half but an Eagles’ fumble gave the Saints the ball back with a chance to get a score right before the half. Clarendon Hall was able to do just that as the Saints’ senior quarterback, Zyan Gilmore, rushed for his second touchdown on the last play of the half. The successful two-point conversion made it 21-14, Richard Winn, at the half.

“It was huge, we felt like if we could go down get points on the board right before half that we could take control of the ball game,” said Brigman when asked about the fumble lighting a spark under the Saints offense. “Our guys handle it 30-40 times a game and don’t mess it up, but right there we had a bad snap and we did not react the right way on it. They are a good team and they seized the opportunity and tightened it up before half. After that our defense just could not get the one stop that we needed.”

Clarendon Hall got the ball to start the second half and put together a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted the opening 9:11 of the second half. Gilmore capped the drive off with his third rushing touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion gave the Saints a 22-21 lead.

Richard Winn responded with back-to-back touchdowns on its next two possessions. The first drive was four plays, 59 yards. It was highlighted by a 49-yard pass from Zack Taylor to Hudson Wade and capped by a seven-yard rushing touchdown from Brandon Miller, his third of the evening. The two-point conversion was no good, making it 27-22 with 00:31 left in the third quarter.

Richard Winn opened the fourth quarter scoring with 9:15 to play in the game as Taylor found B Baker for six points from 46-yards out. This was Taylor’s second of three touchdowns on the evening. The PAT made it a 12-point game at 34-22. On the following possession by Clarendon Hall, Gilmore completed 4-5 passes for 72 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 34-28.

The Eagles moved 29 yards on their next series before turning the ball over on downs. They left just enough time for Clarendon Hall to get down the field one more time. This time Gilmore went 4-5 for 59 yards passing with eight yards rushing as well. The 20-yard touchdown toss from Gilmore to Kade Elliott was their second straight touchdown connection. The PAT was blocked and the contest went to overtime, tied at 34-34.

Clarendon Hall scored on its first play of overtime as Gilmore rushed for his fourth touchdown of the evening. The two-point pass was also good, putting the Saints up 42-34.

Richard Winn then used all four plays before Taylor connected with Wade for a touchdown. The two-point conversion run came up just short as the Eagles fell 42-40.

Taylor finished the game 7-10 passing for 130 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 42 yards. Brandon Miller finished the game with 23 carries for 204 yards and three touchdowns, his third straight 200-yard game this season. Baker pulled in five catches for 79-yards and two touchdowns while Wade had two catches for 51-yards and a touchdown. Miller also led the way with seven tackles on the defensive side.

The Eagles fall to 4-1. They travel to Newberry Academy this week.