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Spartans looking to finish strong

Posted: November 5, 2015 11:10 a.m.
Updated: November 6, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I photo/

WENDELL BING (77) had a pair of sacks in Camden Military Academy’s 25-8 win over the Carolina Gladiators on Saturday. The Spartans close out their season tonight with a road test against the Anderson Cavaliers.

Everyone went home happy, if not tired.

Capping a stretch of playing three games in eight days, the Camden Military Academy football team improved to 4-3 on the season, heading into tonight’s season finale, with a 25-8 win over the visiting Carolina Gladiators on Saturday afternoon’s homecoming contest at Spartan Field.

“Playing three games in eight days was kind of rough,” said CMA head coach Will Rice whose team will head to the Upstate to take on the Anderson Cavaliers tonight.

“I don’t think that we played the best that we could in this game; I still think that we’re capable of playing better. Considering, though, that we were playing so many games in such a short time frame, I thought the guys did a good job.”

For the second straight game, the Spartans got off to a slow start with the only scoring in the opening stanza coming courtesy of a five-yard pass from Reggie Currie to wide out Romani Susewell. Iggy Chamon tacked on the PAT kick to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.

The Spartans put this game away with a pair of second quarter touchdowns. A one-yard scoring plunge from fullback Zach Irtenkauf capped a scoring drive to make it 13-0. The hosts carried a 19-0 lead into the locker room at halftime after Currie and Susewell hooked up on a 55-yard scoring strike.

Rice said his offense was able to achieve a good mix between the running and passing game.

“We wanted to be able to run the football and be able to throw it against them to keep their defense off-balance,” Rice said. “We were able to do that.”

Following a scoreless third quarter, CMA extended its advantage to 25-0 when tailback Blake Roberts scored on a 10-yard run.

The Gladiators closed the scoring and averted the shutout with a late-game, two-yard scoring run followed by a successful two-point conversion.

“We started slow but we picked it up as the game went on,” Rice said. “Considering all that we had been through in a short period of time, our guys did a good job.”

Defensively, the Spartans had a pair of sacks from defensive tackle George Chestnut and another from lineman Wendell Bing. Susewell also had an interception to go along with his scoring catches

“We played well on defense but we had a couple lapses here and there. There is still room for improvement, though,” he said.

Rice said one thing which helped carry his team was a large homecoming afternoon crowd.

“It was an important game since it was homecoming,” Rice said. “It was the most people we’ve had come out for a home game this year and it was an important game for our players and our alumni. Most important, though, was that we got the victory.”

Tonight, the Spartans will make the trek to Anderson to take on the Anderson Cavaliers in what has been billed as the Military Appreciation Bowl Game. The contest came about after CMA’s game with the Peculiar Generation Lions was scratched when the Lions were unable to field enough healthy bodies to make a team. PG was also on the Cavaliers’ schedule and when they could not field enough players for that game, the two sides got together over the weekend and decided to play a season-ending contest.

“We’re excited to get to play another game and excited to be going up there,” Rice said of the 6:30 p.m. contest. “They were very accommodating to us. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Cavaliers will bring a 6-4 record into the contest. The hosts have a 35-0 win over the Carolina Gladiators this season along with a 20-3 loss to a Sandhills Titans squad which CMA beat in its first game of the season.

The Cavaliers average scoring better than 22 points per game behind senior quarterback David Cousar who has thrown for 718 of his team’s 1,293 passing yards. Tailback Ryan Smith leads the team with 449 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

“They’re a spread team and they going to throw the ball around quite a bit,” Rice said of Anderson. “They’re probably 70-30 (percent) pass so our secondary is going to have to be real tight and sharp.”

Opposing offenses have averaged scoring at a 13.3 point per game clip against a Cavalier defensive unit which will line up in several different formations.

“We have film on them which make it easier for us. It has been all hands on deck in coming up with a game plan for this game,” Rice said.

The Spartan boss said a win tonight would be a good way to close out what has been a strange season.

“We have a chance to end with a 5-3 record,” he said. “It’s important to be able to go out and finish with a winning season that these kids will remember, especially our seniors.”


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