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Spartans looking to pass first road test of season

Posted: September 6, 2018 11:32 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Having run roughshod over the undermanned S.C. Titans in last Saturday’s season opener, the Camden Military Academy football team will get an uptick in talent and competition when the Spartans head to Charlotte tonight to take on Hickory Grove Christian in a 7 p.m. start in the Queen City.

Last Saturday, CMA jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead which opened with a 30-yard scoring run courtesy of freshman Alex Renken which was followed by Malcolm Hyppolite running in the two-point conversion. Hyppolite and Renken reversed roles on the second touchdown with Hyppolite running in a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown while Renken scored on the conversion run to make it 16-0.

Before the first stanza was finished, the hosts received a 12-yard scoring run from Justin Wilson with Renken running in with the two-point conversion.

The Spartans closed the scoring in the third quarter with quarterback Zequan Seward sending a 10-yard scoring pass to Garrett Koethke.

“We moved the ball well and played good enough on defense to win,” said CMA head coach Will Rice. “It was good to get out there and play in game conditions.”

It was a good way to start the season on a warm and humid Saturday afternoon for a team which had just two weeks of preseason practice.

“It was a good game to get under our belts,” said Rice. “Obviously, it was good to come away with a victory but, there were points which we emphasized and will work on this week in practice. It’s good to get a win but, there are corrections that we have to make on both sides of the ball.”

The Spartans were able to contain the Titans’ speed in registering the shutout and equaling their win total of a season ago. Rice said he hopes that momentum will carry over to this week and beyond.

“It’s great to start out with a victory. I think they’re excited and looking forward to this week,” he said.

Tonight, the Lions will throw more players and more speed at CMA. Hickory Grove opened its season with a 73-38 loss to Union Academy (N.C.) before falling to Southlake Christian the following week, 38-6. Last Friday, the Lions outscored Concord First Assembly, 66-48.

Tonight’s contest could turn into a track meet.

“They have athletes and they are really, really good on offense,” Rice said. “They run the option really well and they have athletes who are going to try and get to the corner on you. They run the veer very well and, they can throw it, too.

“They have four or five athletes who we have to know where they are on every play.”

Once such athlete is junior tailback Kirkland Williams, who against Union Academy, had nine catches for 240 yards and ran for another 148. Freshman quarterback John Geter has passed for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, the Lions have been porous and by doing that, they get the ball back to their offense quickly. Rice said his offense needs to control the football, the clock and keep the Hickory Grove offense on the sidelines.

“You can tell there’s an emphasis on offense there and, they do a tremendous job with that,” Rice said. “They will stress your defense and make you play assignment football. You miss one assignment and, they can take it to the house. They have that kind of speed.”

Facing a team which likes to get up and down the field, Rice said his team’s conditioning could be a factor tonight. With such a short time to prepare for the season, Rice is hoping this will not turn into a shootout as he takes his team away from home for the first time.

“We’ll find out how we respond to going on the road,” he said. “We’ll see how they handle it.”

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