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CMA looking to get on track at home

Posted: September 27, 2012 12:03 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2012 5:00 a.m.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Will Rice had not yet received video of any Carolina Pride football games. But the Camden Military Academy head coach knew a little of what to expect from the visitors for Saturday’s game at Spartan Field.
And, his deduction came not so much from having played the Pride over the past several years as much as it was knowing who the visitors had already faced this season.
The Pride will come into the 2:30 p.m. game with the 0-4 Spartans with a 2-3 record. But two of those defeats have come to Charlotte independent schools powers Charlotte Country Day (42-23) and Charlotte Latin (21-7). Those two scores and opponents, said Rice, send up a red flag.
“They’re a good team. They’re always well-coached. It is going to be a challenge for us this week,” Rice said. “They’ve played some of those big private schools in Charlotte, so they’re going to be game-tested. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.”
As for the hosts, the Spartans regain the services of linebacker/fullback James Horn and will have to wait until near game time to learn the playing status of John Blount. Both players missed last week due to complications from concussions. By mid-week, though, for the first time in several weeks, CMA was on the plus side when it comes to players’ coming and/or going due to injury.
“If we can ever get everybody to play in a game, it would be a plus for us,” Rice said.
As for the Spartan offense, that unit put up a season-best 32 points in a 10-point loss to the Anderson Cavaliers last Friday night. Even more impressive was the way in which CMA rebounded from a 21-0 second quarter deficit to take the lead in the final stanza. That, Rice said, told him a lot about his players.
“We scored some points and we did some good things last week,” he said. “The kids have heart. They were down 21-0 and didn’t quit; they came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. There’s fight in them.”
Most of CMA’s 300-plus yards in offense came courtesy of tailback Ange Gadji, who rushed for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns last week. But the Spartans were unable to take the pressure off their ground game by striking in the air. Without the threat of a passing game, Rice said, teams have and will continue to place eight to nine defenders in the box in attempting to get to Gadji before he can get going.
Rice said, he fears, if his offense cannot find some success passing the ball, the Pride will stack things up along the line.
“Their base defense is a 4-3 cover two. But I have a feeling we’re going to see eight in the box,” he said. “I expect that we will see some blitzing, but they play pretty good technique with their linebackers and linemen. I just think that we’re going to see a lot of guys in the box.
“It’s important that we are able to pass the ball because we have to stop teams from putting eight to nine guys in the box against us.”
The visitors, who in the past have shown a propensity for throwing the football, have gone to a more run-oriented attack this season. Rice said his defensive unit must be prepared to cover the entire field.
 “We’re probably going to see a two-back, spread look. And, they like to run the ball,” he said. “They’re not as proficient passing the ball as they are running the ball.”

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