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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UNCP dedicates field at Black and Gold game

In the moments before UNC Pembroke’s football team’s historic first-ever Black and Gold Spring Game on April 20, the field was dedicated to Lumbee Guaranty Bank.

Dedication - Chancellor Allen C. Meadors is flanked by Lumbee Guaranty Bank CEO Larry Chavis, right, and Chairman of the Board Arnold Locklear.

About 2,000 showed up at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field to see the spring intra-squad game that featured an offense that filled the air with footballs and a defense that dominated early before fading.

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said it would not have been possible without friends like the Pembroke-based bank.

“This is truly an historic afternoon for the University,” Chancellor Meadors said. “It is the first time in 57 years that football has been played here, and the first-ever spring practice game. This is the beginning of a long tradition for us.

“Lumbee Guaranty Bank was the first business to step forward and make this dream come true,” he said. “President and CEO Larry Chavis (1972) is an alumnus who understands how important the University is to this region. I appreciate how important Lumbee Bank is to us.”

Chavis, who has led an era of growth at the bank since he joined it 20 years ago, was all smiles to see his investment realized.

“This is a great day for the University and Lumbee Guaranty Bank is proud to be a part of it,” Chavis said. “This is especially meaningful to me as an alumnus.”

“My family has many ties to this University – my parents, a brother and sister and my children all attended,” he said. “Our relationship is typical of the entire community and region.”

Lumbee’s Board Chair Arnold Locklear of Locklear, Jacobs, Hunt and Brooks Attorneys said it has been the bank’s philosophy to “promote the economic development of its region.”

“With the return of football, we are happy and proud to be a part of this success story,” Locklear said.

Lumbee Guaranty Bank pledged $500,000 to UNCP’s First and Ten Campaign for Football and Athletic Excellence. It is one of two of the largest gifts to the campaign.

OFFENSE COMES BACK

On the football field, there was more good news as the Braves’ two quarterbacks, Matt Evans and Jimmy Bellamy, combined for more than 350 passing yards and seven touchdowns.

Game time – Quarterback Matt Evans of Ventura, Calif., unleashes one of his 20 passes on the day. He completed 11 and five touchdowns.

Game time – Quarterback Matt Evans of Ventura, Calif., unleashes one of his 20 passes on the day. He completed 11 and five touchdowns.

The last touchdown pass of 35-yards from Bellamy to Justin Nunery came in the final seconds and gave the win to the offense.

Jamar Dials hauled in a pair of touchdown passes and accounted for more than 275 yards of total offense as the offense evened things up by dominating the defense in the second scrimmage of the spring for the Braves.

The offense registered eight touchdowns, including seven through the air, as well as a 35-yard field goal and seven extra points from the foot of Sean Vary.

“You want both sides of the ball to keep progressing every day, but I think our defense took a step back today and our offense capitalized on it,” Head Coach Pete Shinnick said. “So, I praise the offense and I am excited for what they did. But, they still had a lot of mistakes also. We’re a young team. I just want to keep getting better and progressing in the direction that we need to.”

Although stopping the second team offense on their first two drives of the day, the defense found itself back on its heels for much of the remainder of scrimmage. Seven of the nine scores of the day were on drives of four plays or less, with the other coming on a grinding nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off on Julian Williams’ two-yard touchdown run.

Up field – Running Back Daniel Williamson of White Oak, N.C. heads up field.

Up field – Running Back Daniel Williamson of White Oak, N.C. heads up field.

Matt Evans posted his second-straight impressive scrimmage, throwing for more than 200 yards on 11-of-18 passing, but it was Dials who stole the day for the Black and Gold. Dials hauled in three passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 11 more yards and registered a 28.8-yard average on five kick-off returns.

Brandon McLaurin, who had a big day in the first scrimmage of the spring on April 5, saw limited action after injuring his ankle on his third carry, but still managed to rack up 26 yards on the ground. UNCP got its first taste of the men in zebra-striped suits, but the officials were relatively quiet for the 2-hour and 20-minute scrimmage, throwing just five flags.

“This was our first time in the stadium and the first time on this grass,” Shinnick said. “This place looks beautiful, and we had some good fans, but the guys have got to learn to be able to overcome the distractions. We’ve got a lot of things to coach up.”

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