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Spartans open second season on Monday

Posted: October 6, 2016 11:21 a.m.
Updated: October 7, 2016 1:00 a.m.
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WILL RICE

Will Rice remembers all too well of a 2015 season when the floods which hit the Midlands led to his Camden Military Academy football team having to play three games in a span of eight days.

With that in mind, Rice jumped into action when forecasters called for Hurricane Matthew to bring its wind and rains to town over the weekend. Rather than wait and see what would happen with the weather, the Spartans’ boss made plans to move Saturday’s scheduled home game with the Carolina Wildcats to Monday at 2 p.m. at Spartan Field on the CMA campus.

The hosts (0-4) come into this game after having had a bye last week for the school’s fall break. Since this will be the Coastal Athletic Conference opener for the Spartans, Rice is approaching this as the start of a new season.

“Our first four games, as far as our conference and the playoffs are concerned, doesn’t mean a single thing now,” Rice said. “Conference play starts (on Monday) and it’s a new season for us.”

The Spartans will come into Monday’s matinee after a 26-0 loss to SCHSL member Green Sea-Floyds in a game played two weeks ago. The team was given last week off for the break. When CMA returned to class and the team returned to the practice field, Rice was pleasantly surprised by what he saw.

“We’re trying to shake the rust off,” Rice said of the first few days of practice this week. “Hopefully, they have their legs back under them.

“It’s a Catch-22; you get some rest but you also lose a week of conditioning. I was surprised (Monday) when we came back. They were focused so the break might have been good in helping with their mental sharpness.”

With this being the Spartans’ fifth game, Rice said more and more is being added to the scheme on both sides of the football. On the offensive end, the Spartans have thrown in more formations to help spread the opposing defense across the field. The plays, however, have not changed which helps the players in carrying out their assignments.

While the Spartans have a few different looks on offense, the Wildcat offensive scheme will not be so simple.

Mark Knight’s squad will carry a 3-3 mark into Monday’s contest which includes a 7-0 forfeit win over Great Falls. In the five games which they have played, the Wildcats have averaged scoring 14 points per game but that figure has not come due to a lack of trying.

“On offense,” Rice said of the visitors from Pickens, “they’re going to formation us to death. They will throw everything but the kitchen sink at us as far as formations but we’re used to it. (Knight) does it every year and they do a good job with it. They kind of hide what they’re doing with their various formations.

“It’s a lot of eye candy. You have to be able to recognize the formation and recognize the plays and move from there. They do a lot of stuff so, we better be able to adjust.”

Defensively, the Wildcats have allowed opponents to score better than 28 points per game. The Spartans will enter this pairing having scored 12 points in four outings. The hosts like to keep the ball on the ground and opponents know that is the game plan.

When the Wildcats line up on defense, Rice said it will get bunched up along the line of scrimmage. It will be up to the CMA offense to loosen things up.

“They’re going to man up in the secondary and they are going to crowd up in the box against us and probably put eight-men in the box,” Rice said. “We’ll try and use some formations and try to take them out of the box and we’ll just take it from there.”

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