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CMA looks forward to having bye week

Posted: September 24, 2015 2:08 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Somewhere, George Steinbrenner and Al Davis had to have been smiling.

As two of the most impatient owners in sports, Steinbrenner and Davis had no hesitation in firing a manager or a head coach on a whim. Taking a cue from those late owners, Bernardo Porter saw enough from Peculiar Generations’ 27-6 season-opening loss to Thomas Jefferson Academy that the pastor of Peculiar Generation Ministries in Gaston (N.C.) fired the Lions’ head coach.

Things have not improved all that much as the Lions will carry an 0-4 record into tonight’s home game with the Camden Military Academy.  The visitors come into the game at 1-1 following last Friday’s 15-12 loss to East Clarendon.

That will not be the only thing which the Spartans will bring to the Tar Heel State with them. After having to try and fit the right pegs into the right holes last week, Will Rice and company were forced to continue shuffling players around this week as the injury bug continued to hit CMA hard.

Last Friday, starting Spartan tailback Blake Roberts tried to gut it out on a bum ankle and lasted just about a half. Then, late in the game, starting quarterback Reggie Currie went down with a knee injury. Both players are listed as doubtful for tonight while linebacker/running back Ryheem Watson will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.

“We’re definitely going to have people who need to step up and people who played last Friday will have to do an even better job this week than they did last Friday,” Rice said of the injury situation. “It’s going to be all hands on deck this week.”

Last Friday’s loss in Turbeville came a week after CMA opened its season with a 26-10 win over the Sandhills Titans a team which defeated Peculiar Generation, 25-0, the previous week.

Without any game film on the Lions, Rice has had to trust the word of coaches whose teams have already played Peculiar Generation which has only scored three touchdowns in four games.

“They have a real good running quarterback who we will have to try and shut down,” Rice said of the team made up of home school and private school students in the Gaston area. “They like to roll the dice and will go for it a lot on fourth down. And on defense, I’m sure they will stack the box on us and try and stop the run. 

“They have some good athletes. We have to play sound and fundamentally good football. We have to tackle in space and be able to execute on offense.”

Watson’s is the biggest injury on the CMA defense. While Ian Benton can take over some of the running chores, he is also a player who can throw the ball as Rice and his staff look to find replacements for both Roberts and Currie.

 “If I had to say right now,” Rice said, “I would say that neither one of them is playing. We’re going to have to get creative on offense and plug some guys in on defense.”

Currie’s arrival on campus gave the Spartans a quarterback with high school experience. His injury left the Spartans to hold auditions for the quarterback job in Currie’s absence.

 “That’s an open-ended question. It might be a couple people,” Rice said when asked his options under center. “We’re just not really sure right now. We are going to try a couple people at practice. We’ll hold out hope that Currie can play but it looks doubtful, right now.”

Following last week’s loss to East Clarendon, Rice said he could not have been any more pleased with his team’s effort in a tough situation. He is looking for more of the same tonight in Gaston.

“Our guys fought to the bitter end last Friday night,” Rice said. “The defense had two great stops to get the ball back for us. Our offense never gave up and the guys on the sidelines were involved. They played extremely hard and we have to continue to play that way.”

With the Lions having coaching problems and having been outscored by a combined 108-20 count in their first four games, Rice is hoping his team can come into town, take care of business and leave with a win and get home without sustaining any more injuries.

 “Hopefully, we’ll go out and play well then we have the break. The break comes at a great time because we’re banged up and we need the rest,” Rice said.

“If we can get though this week without getting anybody else injured and then, if we can get through the bye week, hopefully, that will help us get healthy.”


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