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Spartans head to Charlotte eyeing third straight win

Posted: October 14, 2010 8:42 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2010 5:00 a.m.

If you are going to have a short work week of practice before your next game, you want to have a happy team to work with in getting ready for the contest.

Buoyed by a 28-point fourth quarter in last Saturday’s 61-43 come-from-behind win over the Carolina Pride, the Camden Military Academy football team will head into tonight’s road game in Charlotte against Providence Day School in a better frame of mind had the Spartans not had their final stanza eruption.

CMA (3-1) will enter the Queen City on a two-game win streak in facing a Chargers’ team which fell to 4-3 with a 17-13 loss to Charlotte Latin a week ago.

While this will be the first meeting on the football field between the two sides in more than a decade, CMA head coach Will Rice said, from what he can ascertain, things have not changed for longtime head coach Bruce Hardin’s program.

“It’s going to be a big test for us,” Rice said. “(Providence Day) is a big, private school from Charlotte. Those schools are always good, well-coached and fundamentally sound. They’re not going to beat themselves.”

In Hardin, the Chargers have a veteran coach who has more than 300 wins under his belt. As for his team, the bell cow for the Providence offense is tailback Josh Covington, who averages close to 150 yards rushing per contest. He had a 203-yard, four touchdown game in a season-opening, 39-0, win over Victory Christian. He has hardly slowed down since.

The hosts rely on quarterback Price Litton, who is a threat in the passing game and can also tuck the ball away and run. He ran for five touchdowns in the first four games.

Rice said his defense must be ready to try and make things tough on both Covington and Litton tonight.

“On defense, we have to be able to stop number 32 (Covington),” said the CMA head coach. “He is an extremely powerful running back. We also have to shore up our pass defense because we did not do a good job defending the pass last week (against the Carolina Pride.)”

The Spartans can expect to see the hosts line up in the I-formation as well as in the offset I tonight. But, rice said, the Chargers have spread opposing defenses out with twins to one side and also lining up two wide receivers on one side with a third wide out across the way.

“They will not do anything fancy, but what they do, they do well,” Rice said of Providence’s offensive package.

Thanks to last week’s 61-point explosion and a 52-point output in the season opener, the Spartans average better than 38 points per contest. Quarterback Malcolm Kelly is coming off a game in which he threw for three touchdowns while running in for three. Tailback Bruce Smith has gone over the 100-yard mark in all four games and went for 147 on Saturday.

Tonight, that unit will go up against a Charger defense which has posted three shutouts thus far this season.

“From what we’ve seen, we may see a little man-to-man coverage in the secondary,” Rice said of the Providence defense. “They usually give you more of a cover-two look back there with a four- or, maybe even a five-man front.

“There’s nothing fancy about what they do. They are fundamentally sound and their players are always in the right place. They also tackle well. They do a good job on defense.”

The combination of Providence’s explosive offensive and its stingy defensive has given Rice and company plenty to prepare for in what is a shorter-than-usual week of practice. Rice said he and his staff have had plenty to do is less time than normal.

“It’s a little different because it’s a short week for us,” Rice said. “Usually, we go full-bore on Monday, but we went shoulder pads and helmet because they didn’t have two days rest like they normally do before you practice again. So, we took it a little light on Monday before we get back to our regular schedule on Tuesday.”

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