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Spartans pound their way to season-opening 26-10 win over Titans

Posted: September 12, 2015 12:10 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I photo/

CMA QUARTERBACK REGGIE CURRY fakes out a Sandhills Titans defender on this first half topuchdown run in Friday's 26-10 Spartan win.

One if by land … well, let’s stop there.

Forsaking the passing game for a ground attack which went for  199 yards including an 87-yard, three touchdown performance from quarterback Reggie Curry, Camden Military Academy opened its 2015 season by dismantling the visiting Sandhills Titans, 26-10, Friday afternoon at Spartan field in East Camden.

The game came six days after CMA was awarded a forfeit in its scheduled first game by Grace Crossing. The win, said Spartan head coach Will Rice, was worth the wait.

“We have to get the first one and keep building,” Rice said. “Not having that game experience last week was disappointing but now we know what it’s about and we can get ready for East Clarendon (this) week.”

Things did not start well for CMA which lost a fumble on the game’s first snap which set the Titans up at the CMA 20. Four plays and minus-three yards later, Zach Martinez was called on to deliver a 40-yard field goal which gave the guests a quick 3-0 lead. 

The botched snap was one of two lost fumbles for CMA which had four mishandled exchanges from center to Curry. “We fumbled a few snaps that were from first-game jitters. We made mistakes that can be corrected,” Rice said.

Curry would more than make up for those hiccups. First though came the running from tailback Blake Roberts who went for runs of 13, nine and two yards on three carries after Romani Suswell returned a punt 42 yards to the Titans’ 40. 

“Scoot Suswell did a real good job on punt returns for us and whether we got an interception or on punt returns, our guys did a good job of blocking,” Rice said.

After a Ryheem Watson nine-yard carry to the seven for a first down, fullback Ian Benton did the honors with a seven-yard carry in which he stretched the ball over the goal line for the touchdown and a 6-3 CMA lead with 59 seconds left in the first quarter. Watson ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-3.

The hosts cashed in after a second Titans’ punt with a 40-yard Suswell return being brought back due to a penalty as the Spartans took over from their own 31. A 27-yard Curry scamper brought the ball to the Sandhills’ 46. Going for the first down on fourth and 11 from the 47, Curry was forced out of the pocket on a busted play only to get to the right corner and taking off for a 47-yard touchdown run for a 14-3 CMA advantage with 4:28 left in the half.

The Titans remained within striking distance and had the football at their own 13 with 2:11 left in the half and getting the ball to start the second. Rather than milk the clock and force CMA to burn its final time out quickly, the visitors attempted a first down pass which fell incomplete before two running plays netted four yards as Martinez was called on to punt after the Spartans stopped the clock with just under two minutes to play. 

On the punt formation, though, nobody touched an oncoming Watson who wrestled Martinez down at his own five. One snap later, Curry was in the end zone with his second touchdown. This giving the hosts a 20-3 lead with 100 seconds left in a first half which saw the Spartans carry a 17-point lead into the locker room.

Watson came up big in an abbreviated second half, picking up a Titans fumble at the Sandhills 35 which turned into a 23-yard Curry touchdown on a called bootleg to make it 26-3 with 5:40 left in the third

“He makes up for some first-game jitters that we had. Having an athlete in space like that helps out a lot,” Rice said of Curry’s play.

The guests close the scoring in the final 20 seconds with a touchdown which came after the Spartans’ second offensive unit fumbled the ball.

By that time, the damage had been done by CMA which piled up all its 199 yards in offense on the ground. Rice said his team does need to establish a passing game.

“We ran the ball real well today and didn’t have to pass the ball. That’s something (throwing the ball) that we’re going to have to work on,” he said.

The CMA defense allowed the titans just 92 yards in offense with 30 of those coming on the final drive against the Spartan backups.

“We played well on defense; the guys carried out their assignments pretty well,” Rice said of that unit. “The thing I was worried about was our conditioning on defense because I thought they would be running a lot of spread and running us deep a lot.”

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