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Wolverines hold off CMA, 20-18

Posted: September 21, 2013 1:21 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2013 1:00 a.m.
C-I photo by Tom Didato/

CMA’S TREYVON DARBY outraces East Clarendon’s William Ard in getting to the corner for a long gain in Friday afternoon's game at Spartan Field.

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Moral victories have long since gone the way of the Edsel at Camden Military Academy.
In the moments following his team’s gut-wrenching 20-18 loss to visiting East Clarendon in Friday’s late afternoon game at Spartan Field, CMA head coach Will Rice was in no mood to slap either himself or his players on the back after the hosts fell to 0-2 on the season.
The visiting Wolverines used a sack on a two-point conversion pass attempt after the Spartans trimmed the deficit to 20-18 when quarterback Max Bryant found Kendred Jones with a 32-yard scoring pass with 53.3 ticks left in the game clock.
The game’s wild ending capped a second half in which the Spartans heard heated impassioned halftime talks from defensive coach Jeff Jordan and Rice after a lackluster first 24 minutes in which the hosts trailed, 14-7.
“We made a couple defensive adjustments,” Rice said of halftime “Basically, though, we tried to light a fire under them and, we made a few tweaks with our offense. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot, but we cut down on some of our mistakes. This is only our second game; we’ll get it taken care of.”
The Spartans’ lone first half touchdown came courtesy of the defense.
On the Wolverines’ (2-2) first possession of the game, CMA newcomer Drake Battle stepped in front of a Jared Hair pass and brought the pick back 75 yards as the Lexington product left a trail of would-be pursuers in his wake. Battle joined the Spartans earlier in the week after having transferred in. The pick 6 gave the Spartans had their first lead of the season at 6-0.
That would be the extent of the positives in the first half for the hosts, who were held to 22 yards in offense in the first half.
The Spartans saw a golden chance go by the boards on their second possession which started from the EC 10 after a high snap to Hair, in punt formation, went for a loss of 26 yards.
CMA was hurt by a five-yard illegal procedure call on the first formation and then, a sack for a loss of eight put the ball at the 21. On fourth and goal from that spot, Bryant hit Jones for a gain of six at the 15, while returning the ball to the Wolverines.
EC got out of the hole when Hair found Marquice Elmore for a gain of 32 to the 45 on third and 12. That same combination struck for a pass and catch of 25 yards to the CMA three on second and seven in the early minutes of the second quarter. Tailback Savontai Hall did the honors on the next snap, going in for the score and a 7-6 lead following Adam Lowder’s PAT kick.
The visitors made it a 14-6 halftime advantage as they scored with less than 18 seconds before the break on a drive which began at their own 42 following a punt with 2:15 left. The Wolverines were aided by a late hit, a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Spartans on a third and 13 pass play from the 39 which netted just five yards.
Gaining new life, Lowder found Elmore with a 19-yard pass to the CMA 22 before Hair returned under center and hit William Ard with a 26-yard pass to the one. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Lowder did the rest going in for the score with 17-5 seconds left in the half as EC opened up a 14-6 lead.
“I thought we were dead at halftime, but we regrouped,” Rice said. “We battled back in the second half.”
It was the defense which got the hosts going as Jones picked off Hair pass at midfield and returned it to the Wolverines’ 42 in the opening 90 seconds of the third quarter. EC then had a Hall interception turn into a pass interference penalty as CMA had the ball at the 27 after the 15-yard infraction. On third and four from the 21, Bryant lofted a deep arching pass which a leaping Jones hauled in while managing to get his feet inbounds in the back of the end zone for the touchdown which came with 7:17 to go in the third. The two-point conversion pass failed as CMA still trailed, 14-12.
Not being able to get anything going with Hair at quarterback in the second half, EC went with Lowder when taking over at its own six following a punt on the next-to-last play of the third quarter.
Lowder was Tebow-esque when re-inserted under center for a third and 12 from the 28. He went for 17 on that play which would be called back due to a hold. On the next snap, on third and six, he went for 12 yards. On fourth and a yard from the 45, he broke loose down the EC sideline for an 18-yard carry. Once inside the CMA 15, Lowder went on three straight runs of five yards, scoring on the third for a 20-12 lead, with 3:37 left, after a failed PAT try.
“That run-pass offense is tough,” Rice said of defending EC’s two-pronged attack at quarterback. “That last touchdown drive, they found a weakness and exploited it. They did a good job because we couldn’t stop them.”
Still having a shot to send the game into overtime, a 33-yard kickoff return by Battle set the hosts at the Wolverines’ 48. Fullback Ian Benton would plunge his way for 14 yards on three carries. On third and 12 from the 32, Bryant lofted a pass to Jones, who may have gotten away with a push on the play, as the wide out easily made his way for the score with 53.3 seconds left.
But the Wolverines kept the lead in getting the sack which forced CMA to attempt an onsides kick which went out of bounds, allowing the guests to run out the clock.
“We got a little tired there at the end, but we had a shot to send it into overtime,” Rice said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
Bryant threw for 68 yards on a 5-for-12 day with Jones making four catches for 66 yards and a pair of scores as that combo seemed to be geting in sync.
The tough part about it is, after an improved showing in game two, CMA has this week off as the school has its fall break. It is not the best time for his team to be away, but Rice was not crying about something over which he has no control.
“We are starting to make progress, but it is what it is,” he said of the layoff. “We’ll come back the following week and, we’ll get ready again.”

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