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Spartans close season with three-game winning streak

Posted: November 12, 2015 10:27 a.m.
Updated: November 13, 2015 1:00 a.m.
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QUARTERBACK REGGIE CURRIE RAN for a touchdown in CMA’s season-ending 27-0 victory over the Anderson Cavaliers.

One of the most unusual seasons in the history of the Camden Military Academy football program ended in the best way possible.

With last Friday’s 27-0 road win over the Anderson Cavaliers, the Spartans closed out a 6-3 campaign on a three-game win streak. The shutout was the first registered by Will Rice’s defensive troops this year.

For CMA, whose season opened with a first game forfeit and included a stretch of 29 days between contests, to close the season with three consecutive victories was the perfect ending.

“The last half of the season was pretty good to us, except the for McBee game,” Rice said of his team’s play in October and November. “To go 2-1 when we played three games in eight games was special, too. It showed that our guys are really resilient.”

Against the Cavaliers, the Spartans and their coaching staff also showed their versatility and ability to change on the fly.

The hosts opened the contest looking to make the guests beat them with the passing game. Following a slow start and a scoreless first quarter, Rice said his team’s offensive coaches made the right calls to get the offense in gear.

“In the first part of the game,” Rice said of the Anderson defense, “they put nine people in the box against us. They were shooting the double-A gaps on us. But our coaches made some adjustments and we were able to mix in the passing game with the running game. Our pass plays loosened their defense up which helped get our running game going even more.”

CMA quarterback Reggie Currie found wide out Romani Susewell with two long passes which led to a pair of second quarter touchdowns. The first of those was scored by offensive lineman Matthew Waldsmith who recovered a Spartan fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead in the second quarter.

After another Currie-to-Susewell connection, the Spartans cashed in on good field position with tailback Blake Roberts scoring on a 15-yard run. The North Carolina native added the two-point run to give the visitors a 14-0 advantage at halftime.

The two-touchdown lead was more than safe with the way CMA’s defense was playing. The guests received a pair of sacks from defensive tackle Wendell Bing while Ryheem Dawson picked off a pair of enemy aerials. And, Rice said, Zach Irtenkauf was all over the field making plays and disrupting the pass-first Cavaliers who struggled against a new look Spartan scheme in the secondary.

“Our defense was outstanding the whole game,” Rice said. “Anderson didn’t get but two first downs against us and I didn’t think they moved the ball into our territory all night.

“They had not seen us in man coverage on film all season long. We came out in a man-to-man on Friday and our secondary locked their receivers down. They are a team which is 70 percent pass but they were not used to seeing press coverage.”

While Susewell made the big plays in the passing game in the first half, Hayden Davidson had a pair of drive-extending grabs in the second half.

Following a scoreless third quarter, the Spartans tacked on a third touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Currie called his own number and went in from five yards out to make it 20-0. Minutes later, Dawson took a handoff from Currie and bolted 46 yards into the end zone for the fourth CMA touchdown which was followed by the PAT kick from Iggy Chamon to make it 27-0.

“This was a complete team effort. It is what I have been preaching to our guys all year,” Rice said of the victory. “When your guys put together a game like that, it makes you proud of them.”

Saying he, his coaching staff and his team were excited to close the season with three consecutive wins, Rice talked about a middle part of the season in which the school’s fall break and rainy weather led to the extended break between games for the Spartans. While frustrated in not being able to play a game, Rice said that, on the other side of the coin, it allowed his banged-up team to return to health.

“Those three weeks where we didn’t get to play a game gave our guys time to get healthy,” he said. “If we played the week before we were supposed to play McBee, we probably would have played that game without seven starters.

“In a way, the rain was a blessing for us. It allowed our guys to get healthy which made a huge difference in our team.”

Not only were the Spartans at full-speed in Anderson, but they also had a full week to prepare for the Cavaliers after having crammed three games in eight days leading up to Friday’s hastily arranged season finale.

In the end, Rice said, everything came together just as he would have liked in a season in which CMA’s three losses all came to South Carolina High school League-member programs.

“We were able to get a full week of practice before going to play Anderson,” he said. “And this was a good way for our guys to go out. It was something special that our seniors will always remember.”


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