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CMA gets back to business in prepping for Panthers

Posted: October 24, 2013 11:52 a.m.
Updated: October 25, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Victories, even those which put an end to a 20-game losing skid, have all the shelf life of a one-time teen idol.
When the Camden Military Academy football team won for the first time in nearly three years with a 30-0 win over New Covenant last Saturday, the Spartans had all of about 36 hours to soak up all the fun and excitement which comes with a victory.
On Monday, CMA was back on the practice field readying for tonight’s pairing at McBee.
“It’s good to get it over with,” said CMA head coach Will Rice in regard to his team’s string of losses. “It was good for about a day and a half. McBee is a very good team so, we couldn’t dwell (on last week’s win) for too long.”
The host Panthers, a member of the SCHSL’s Region 3-A, will play the Spartans in rare out-of-conference game in the middle of their league season tonight. With only five teams which play football in 3-A, McBee (3-5) was able to schedule CMA in the latter part of the season rather than in the pre-region portion of its schedule.
Coach Charlie Poole’s Panthers seemed to have gotten things going with back-to-back wins over North Central (7-6) and Indian Land (28-21) to head into region action with a 3-2 record. But since entering 3-A play, MHS has lost consecutive games to Lewisville, C.A. Johnson and Great Falls. Tonight, Poole and company will look to snap their three-game downward spiral versus a CMA squad which seeks to put back-to-back wins together.
Rice, whose team may still be without leading receiver and starting defensive back Kendred Jones, said the Spartans have had to slow things down in practice this week.
“It’s been a decent week of practice,” he said. “We’re still banged up so, we’ve had to do things differently than we normally would. At this point of the year, we’re a little beat up and banged up.”
The CMA defense will be put to the test tonight by a McBee offense which will line up in the wishbone and pound the football on the ground until the opposition proves it can stop the attack. Should that happen, the Panthers will go into the spread set and test the CMA secondary.
It is a different challenge, indeed, for Rice’s defensive unit.
“It is what it is,” Rice said of preparing for two different offensive schemes. “You just have to adjust. We’ve worked on defending both the ‘bone and the spread. They have athletes all over the field. We just have to be awake and we need to ready on every play because they can take it to the house in a heartbeat.”
The Panthers operate out of a five-man defensive front and with CMA’s ability to run the football, Rice expects his offense to see as many as eight to nine defenders in the box to protect against the rushing game.
As he looks over McBee’s personnel and record, Rice sees a much-improved Panther squad which his team will face tonight in a 7:30 p.m. start in Chesterfield County.
“They’re a very good team,” Rice said. “They have a lot of speed and they have a lot of size. It’s going to be a challenge for us this week.
“You look at their record and they’re much better than they were last year. They have a lot of confidence. Coach Poole does a good job over there. They’re going to be ready to play ball.”

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