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Football returns to huge crowdBy Dan Kelly
The football team finished its spring practices with an exhilarating scrimmage on April 20 that was attended by over 1,500 fans.
A change of possession would switch the offensive and defensive units but each were part of the same team.
The offense was able to score in the following ways:
Under this scoring system, the offense was able to narrowly defeat the defense 57-51.
The offense was down 49-51 in the final seconds of the game until QB Jimmie Bellamy connected with WR Justin Nunery in the end zone for the victory.
Nunery had dropped the previous pass that also would have won the game.
Head Coach Pete Shinnick said he enjoyed the finish but remained mindful of what the play meant.
“As a head coach, you’re encouraged if your wide receiver caught it, (but) you’re a little upset the DB didn’t knock it down,” Shinnick said.
Shinnick said that the defense came out strong and that the offense was clearly slowed at the start of the game.
The coaches tried to keep a degree of control over the game by scripting plays and situations so they could test different looks on the offense and defense.
There also weren’t any plays pulled out of the playbook as Shinnick said he wanted to continue building on the team’s previous practices.
Defensive lineman D.J. Anders had a spectacular day with 9 total sacks and DB Anthony Rhanes took one of the three interceptions back for a touchdown. Defensive backs Jason Martin and Phil Long also recorded an interception each.
On the offensive side, RB Brandon McLaurin rushed 13 times for 87 yards along with two touchdowns.
The scrimmage ended the spring practices for the football team who will report along with the newest recruiting class in August.
“Anybody that thinks we’re finished…we’ve still got a lot of planning to do,” said Dan Kenney, UNCP Athletic director.
“You can see from today, there’s interest in those 2,500 seats,” Kenney said.