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Rice, CMA look ahead to home finale

Posted: October 16, 2014 2:42 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Saturday afternoon can’t get here soon enough for Will Rice and his Camden Military Academy football team. Only then will the Spartans be able to erase the bad memories from last week’s 34-28 loss to the Carolina Wildcats.

Last Saturday, CMA held a 28-12 lead over the visiting Wildcats with some six minutes left in the contest. Three recovered onside kicks and 22 unanswered points later, the hosts left their home field with a six-point loss which Rice called "gut wrenching."

That is why Rice is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. home pairing with New Covenant, the Spartans’ final regular season game on their home turf.

"It was a terrible weekend," Rice said. "It was good to get back on the practice field and try to get that bad taste out of our mouth. We told our guys don’t forget how it felt last week; that hurt, that disappointment, and to use it as fuel for this week’s game."

While Rice had an unsettling end to the weekend following the setback, he said his players returned to practice ready to get back to work. "Kids are a lot more resilient than adults," he said while managing to crack a smile.

There was very little which CMA did different in practice this week, including continuing to work on onside kick coverage with the "hands" squad. Rice said his team works on that aspect of the game in preparation for every contest, not just this week.

Among the things which Rice and company can build on from a week ago were the Spartans’ scoring 21 unanswered points in the third and, early fourth quarter.

"We dominated the third quarter and the first half of the fourth quarter. But we have to do it from the get-go," Rice said. "We have to put four quarters together, though, which have not done yet."

Rice hopes his 2-3 squad will do that on Saturday against a Knights squad which owns a 24-20 victory over the Carolina Wildcats. The Charlotte program features skilled athletes on both sides of the ball and will look to get to the outside on offense and take advantage of their speed.

"They’re tall, rangy and athletic," Rice said of New Covenant. "Their athletes might pose some problems for us if we don’t know our responsibilities."

The guests operate out of the spread formation on offense and have a running back who Rice referred to as a "bowling ball." "We have to tackle him and, we have to keep their receivers in front of us," said the CMA boss.

Defensively, the Knights are expected to line up in a four-man front and employ man-to-man coverage in the secondary, which will be a challenge for the Spartans’ wide outs.

All that being said about New Covenant, Rice is more concerned about CMA this week. He said his troops need to put the past behind them and try to get back to the .500 mark.

"We want to finish strong, know our assignments and be physical," he said.

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