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Hyppolite leads CMA past Ware Shoals
WILL RICE AND CMA are off to a 3-0 start heading into a bye week this weekend.

Suddenly, that three-hour bus ride became more tolerable.

Forcing and recovering the fumble on the game’s final play, Camden Military Academy kept its perfect record intact after three games with a 30-28 road win over Ware Shoals in a Monday night game which was moved from Friday due to the potential impact of Hurricane Florence.

In a no-frills offensive performance for the visiting Spartans, it was their defense which finally put this one to bed by coming up big when the clock was winding down.

The host Hornets took over the football at their own 34, trailing 30-28, with a little more than a minute left in the contest. On first down, WS quarterback Ben Webb was sacked for a loss before a 14-yard run Keaton Weaver run and a 20-yard Webb dash put the ball at the CMA 47. On what would be the final play of the evening, Webb spotted Jermarius Goodman with a 16-yard pass in front of the hosts’ bench. A Spartan defender, however, punched the ball from Goodman’s grasp with a CMA teammate recovering the football as the horn sounded.

The 3-0 start heading into this week’s open date had Rice flashing a grin when asked if he thought his team would be unbeaten heading into October.

“If somebody told me that we’d be 3-0, I’d be ecstatic,” he said. “I’m proud of all our guys because they’re the ones who have done all the work. We put them in position, as coaches, to be successful but, they are the ones who have gone out there and performed. They’ve done a great job, my hat’s off to them.”

The Hornets did all the scoring in the first quarter with Goodman capping a game-opening march with a five-yard scoring run and a 6-0 lead. As WS threw different looks at the CMA defense, it led to the Spartans’ staff to make changes to the scheme on that side of the ball.

“They gave us all kind of problems on the first drive. We were out of sync,” Rice said. “After the first drive, we made some adjustments and went to a different front which worked for about two or three drives. (WS head) coach (Mike) Craigo’s a good coach. He showed us stuff that we hadn’t seen before so, we were having to adjust on the fly.

“My hat’s off to him. They made us coach by using new formations and plays that we had not seen before.”

Playing it close to the vest, the CMA offense exploded for 18 second quarter points with Matthew Hyppolite doing plenty of the damage. Hyppolite, a tailback, scored two of his three touchdowns in the second 12 minutes starting when he took a 44-yard pass from quarterback Zequan Seward for a score to even things at six.

Seward gave the guests a 12-6 lead when he went over from a yard out on a keeper. After WS scored to take a 14-12 lead, Hyppolite ended the first half scoring with a 10-yard run to give the visitors an 18-12 lead at intermission.

Hyppolite finished the game with 14 carries for 119 yards while catching a pair of Seward passes for all 83 Spartans yards in the air.

“We ran right at them … we powered them and hit them with the pass, on occasion, to keep them honest on defense,” Rice said of his team’s offensive plan. “We ran the ball really well and kept it away from them some. Our offense played great.

“Ware Shoals is physical. It was a physical game.”

A 10-yard Hyppolite scoring run extended the CMA lead to 24-14 only for the Hornets to use an 11-yard Webb to Evan Bridges touchdown pass to close the gap to 24-20 entering the final quarter.

A one-yard Seward keeper gave the Spartans additional breathing room and a 30-20 lead before the Hornets received a 12-yard scoring run from Weaver, who gained 101 yards on 11 carries in his first game played of the season, before Bridges caught the two-point PAT pass from Webb to make it 30-28 with a little more than four minutes remaining.

Weaver, who sustained a knee injury in the preseason, was only cleared to play on Monday. Pushing the game back four days allowed the tailback to make his season debut.

“I’m sure he’s not in football shape but, he had fresh legs,” Rice said of Weaver. “You could tell that he has great vision; when holes blocked up, he’d see that light and he was gone. We had a tough time tackling him.”

Rice, whose team has this weekend off before traveling to play Great Falls next Friday, said not having a game tonight is a blessing in disguise as the Spartans had four players who needed medical attention following Monday’s contest in the Upstate. 

“This will give us a chance to get healthy because this was a physical game and we had several guys who got banged-up; nothing season-ending but, bumps and bruises,” Rice said. “(The layoff) will give us time to get rested and get back to working on the fundamentals, again.”