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Spartans slay Lions for second straight win, 22-8

Posted: September 12, 2018 1:39 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Two weeks into the season and the Camden Military Academy football team has won as many games as they had in the previous two campaigns combined.

This is a good time to be a Spartan said CMA head coach Will Rice after his team improved to 2-0 with a 22-8 win over Hickory Grove Christian School in Charlotte last Friday.

“Obviously, the kids are excited and (the coaches) are excited. It comes with a caveat, though,” he said. “We have some mistakes that we have to clean up that could have hurt us last week. That’s our job as coaches; to clean those up, correct the mistakes and move on.”

The Spartans will indeed move on as in a two and a half-hour trip to Ware Shoals on Monday in a 6 p.m. game originally slated for tonight but moved back due to Hurricane Florence.

Against the Lions a week ago in the Queen City, CMA scored a touchdown in each of the first three quarters to take a 22-0 lead before the hosts scored on a 12-yard pass late in the contest.

The visitors started the scoring in the first quarter with senior running back Malcolm Hyppolite grabbing a 25-yard scoring pass from quarterback Zequan Seward for a 6-0 lead. In the second quarter, Hyppolite scored his second touchdown of the game and fourth of the season on a 39-yard scoring jaunt followed by Seward running in the two-point conversion for a 14-0 halftime lead.

Hickory Grove came into the game averaging better than 38 points per game only to be slowed down by a Spartan defense which forced the hosts to change their offensive approach. The visitors were led by junior defensive back Garhett Koethke who had a pair of interceptions while also forcing a fumble. Justin Wilson also had a pick for CMA.

“We took away their option attack,” Rice said. “We brought a lot of pressure at the beginning of the game and they got out of that and they went to more of a spread look which played into our hands, a little bit.

“They scored 66 points the week before so, to hold them to eight was an outstanding job by our defense.”

In the third quarter, CMA freshman Alex Renken got into the scoring column when he went over from three yards out. Seward, again, called his own number on the two-point run to make it 22-0 before the Lions averted the shutout with a fourth quarter touchdown.

Rice said there was nothing fancy about what his team did on offense.

“Just run right at them,” he said. “We hurt ourselves on both sides of the ball with mistakes and we could have scored more points. We could have played better defensively, but we’re happy with the win.”

The mistakes may have prevented the Spartans from putting more distance between themselves and Hickory Grove but, extended drives, even those which did not turn into points, kept the Lions’ offense on the sidelines.

“Our offense,” Rice said, “even when we didn’t score, we kept the ball away from them which was one of our strategies. We did some very good things but, we have some things that we have to clean up this week.

 “They came out in a 50 front and we came out prepared for a 40. We had to make some adjustments on the fly. Our offensive coaches did a good job at halftime of cleaning things up like our blocking schemes. Even during the first half, we made good adjustments. We did some very good things but, we have some things that we have to clean up this week.”

Rice said as pleased as he was to come out with the victory, he was equally satisfied with how his players responded when things got tough last Friday. “We got knocked down some and had some injuries but guys went back in the game. I thought we showed a lot of heart, which is a positive,” he said.

On Monday, the Spartans will take on a Ware Shoals squad which is looking for its first win of the season after falling to 0-4 following a 46-28 loss at the hands of Greenwood Christian last Friday. The Hornets, a class A program, also have a loss against 4A entry Travelers Rest.

“They run the spread but they run the ball more than they throw. They have some good athletes,” Rice said of the Hornets.

Defensively, Rice said he expects Ware Shoals to line up in a five-man front and try to slow down the Spartans’ running game which has been productive through the first two contests of the season.

“We can’t be overconfident by any stretch of the imagination because we made way too many mistakes on Friday,” Rice said. “We have to play well on both sides of the ball and, on special teams as well. They have some speed at certain positions that we have to watch out for.”

For the second straight game, the Spartans will load the bus for a sizeable road trip; this one through the back roads of the Upstate.

“It’s over a two-hour ride and, that’s always a challenge,” Rice said. “I thought our guys did a good job with that last week so we’ll see how it goes this time.”

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