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Football returns to huge crowd

By Dan Kelly
Sports Editor

The football team finished its spring practices with an exhilarating scrimmage on April 20 that was attended by over 1,500 fans.

Jimmie Bellamy readies to pass while being pursued by a defensive player. Bellamy threw for 14-24 and 174 yards along with the game-winning TD.

Photo by Dan Kelly
Jimmie Bellamy readies to pass while being pursued by a defensive player. Bellamy threw for 14-24 and 174 yards along with the game-winning TD.

The game was scored differently from a normal football game as the offense played the defense.

A change of possession would switch the offensive and defensive units but each  were part of the same team.            
           
The scoring was expanded outside the traditional means of touchdowns, extra points and field goals as the opposing teams scored by making good plays.   

Different scoring

The offense was able to score in the following ways:

• Touchdowns – six points
• Field goals - three points
• Extras points - one point
• First downs - one point
• Kickoff returns past the 40-yard line - one point
• Kickoff returns past the 50-yard line - two points
• A punt return of 10 or more yards - one point
• A punt return of 20 or more yards - two points            
The defense also had numerous ways to score:
• A sack – one point
• Turnovers - three points
• Forcing a three and out - one point
• Blocked field goals and extra points - two points
• Running back a two-point conversion - two points
• Kickoffs pinned within the 30-yard line - two points
• Kickoffs pinned within the 20-yard line - two points
• Punts that netted 40 yards or more - two points
• Punts that netted 35 yards or more - one point

Offense wins            

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.

Still working

The next step for the team is pulling all the elements that will be necessary to host football games at the Belk Athletic Complex.

Issues concerning seating, parking, security and trying to keep fans content will certainly be a challenge.

“Anybody that thinks we’re finished…we’ve still got a lot of planning to do,” said Dan Kenney, UNCP Athletic director.            

The seating will need to hold students, parents, faculty and staff, athletic donors and the public.            

“You can see from today, there’s interest in those 2,500 seats,” Kenney said.            
           
Kenney also pointed out  some unresolved details, like a permanent sound system and furniture for the Bob Caton Field House.

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Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2007
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