This is hardly the way which Will Rice, his staff and the Camden Military Academy fotball team thought their season would end.
Rice will lead the Spartans into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. season finale when the Carolina Wildcats come to Spartan Field for the school’s Homecoming contest.
Rice and company are hoping to take out a season’s worth of frustration out on the visitors from Pickens after McBee handed CMA its sixth loss in seven starts this year with a 41-7 setback in Chesterfield County last Friday night.
CMA was unable to get traction in the opening minutes of its loss to the Panthers.
“We couldn’t have started out worse than we did,” Rice said. “Our first pass was intercepted for a pick six. Then, we fumbled the kickoff, they recovered it and it was 14-0. We had a chance for a touchdown after that but could not catch it in the end zone.”
Trailing, 28-0, the Spartans used a 41-yard Harrison Montgomery to Nick Montgomery scoring pass to head into the locker room down, 28-7, at halftime.
On top of the deficit, the Spartans lost both their running backs to injury. Eramis Sampson pulled up with a hamstring issue while having broken free from defenders and was headed for the end zone. Jay White also went down with an ankle injury which forced Nick Montgomery to move from end to tailback.
“Nick had run some on the scout team for us and he runs hard but it’s different in the game,” said Rice who said he is unsure if Sampson and/or White will be in uniform on Saturday but that his offense practiced as if neither would be cleared in time for the season finale.
“At the end of the game, we lined up in two tight ends and had to run the ball. We had some success doing that.”
While Nick Montgomery is expected to get the bulk of the carries Saturday, the Spartans have given Max Herrick reps in the backfield and he may see time there against the Wildcats.
“We hope to get Sampson and White back but to what capacity, I don’t know,” Rice said. “It hurts on the offensive side but White also plays on defense so that hurts us there. We’re going to have to do some shuffling around.”
The Pickens-based Wildcats will bring a 2-7 record into Saturday’s contest but have a roster which includes big-play threats. Rice said tailback Ronald Johnson is a hard-running back while Cameron Jackson and Deandre Gambrell are both explosive players when they get the ball in their hands.
“We have to know where those three guys are at all times,” Rice said of the Wildcat trio who are part of an I-formation scheme which will also run three- and sometimes even five-receiver sets.
On defense, the guests like to bring people from everywhere on the field and force turnovers while lining up in a four-man from.
“They blitz from every possible way that you can,” Rice said. “When we’re on offense, we are going to see all kind of blitzes.”
Saturday will also mark the unveiling of the new grandstand at Spartan Field which is expected to host its largest crowd of the season. Rice said the goal for Saturday is to give the alums something to remember on their way back home.
“We have to finish strong,” he said. “It’s homecoming and a lot of people will be coming back. We have to go out and play to the best of our ability. Our guys have to play hard like they have every week. We just can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot.”