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Spartans head to McBee in search of first win

Posted: October 20, 2016 10:24 a.m.
Updated: October 21, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Things were going along so well for the Camden Military Academy football team in last Saturday’s Homecoming game contest against visiting Trinity Academy.

The Spartans were playing solid defense and the offense, behind tailback Kimani Fletcher, were chewing up big chunks ofyardage. But once inside the Trinity 10, things bogged down. In fact, they came to a stop on two different occasions, thwarting possible scores.

A pair of first half fumbles deep inside Knights’ territory led to a scoreless first half at Spartan Field.

Things got worse as the afternoon went on with the guests from Tennessee scoring the game’s final 28 points to leave east Camden with a 34-6 victory.

The loss dropped Will Rice’s charges to 0-6 heading into tonight’s game at McBee.

“We fumbled twice inside their 10 yard line in the first half,” Rice lamented. “We should have had, at least, 12 points before halftime.”

Trinity scored the game’s first touchdown on the first series of the second half. The hosts came right back and drove down the field to the Knights’ 35 from which point Fletcher, who piled up close to 150 yards on the ground, took off on a 35-yard scoring jaunt which knotted things at 6-6.

From there, CMA was unable to muster any points as the Knights took over.

“They just wore us down in the second half,” Rice said. 

“Defensively, we played extremely well, especially in the first half. They were pretty big up front and they were able to move us and wear us down as the game went along.”

After having completed one pass in a loss to the Carolina Wildcats last Monday, the Spartans clicked on several aerials on Saturday. “We hit a couple passes in the second half but they didn’t amount to any points,” Rice said.

With two games left on the regular season schedule, the Spartans will make the short trip up Highway 1 to McBee tonight to take on a 6-2 Panthers’ squad which is riding a three-game win streak.

Charlie Poole’s charges opened the season with a 28-14 win over 4A Lakewood before topping AA Chesterfield, 52-45. Back-to-back losses to Cheraw (7-6) and AA power Central followed before the Panthers bounced back to defeat Mullins, Lewisville and Great Falls, in order, while scoring 40 or more points in all three victories.

When asked if McBee will be the best team the Spartans have faced this season, Rice did not hesitate in providing an answer.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “McBee’s resurgence under Charlie Poole continues. They are solid in all facets of the game … they do everything well.”

In scouting McBee’s 42-6 win over Great Falls last Friday, Rice said the Panthers broke out of their wishbone offense and went into their version of the double wing. Both schemes proved effective for an offense which averages scoring better than 28 points per game.

Rice said his defense will have its hands full in trying to slow down McBee’s run-first attack.

“It’s tough for the defense and not just because the wishbone is an offense you really don’t see much anymore but it is because McBee runs it so well,” Rice said. “All three of their backs have been together for a while and they all know what to do. They’re real tough backs.”

The Panthers will throw the ball should an opposing defense try and stack the box with defenders. And while the passing game is not a large part of the MHS offense, it keeps the defense honest and guessing.

“They’ll pass the ball about four or five times a game out of the play-action,” Rice said. “Most of the times, they will complete those throws because the defense is so concerned with their running game which is so effective.”

Defensively, the Panthers have allowed opponents to score at a 19.5 points per game clip. The hosts will show the Spartans a five-man front and will go man-to-man in the secondary. Rice said he is impressed with how well McBee defenders rally to the football.

“This is going to be a big all-around challenge for our guys,” Rice said of tonight’s pairing. “We’re playing one of the best 1A teams in the state and it’s going to be a challenge for us in all aspects of the game. We’re going to have our hands full up there.”

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