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Braves make Division II playoffs

By Nick Phillips
Asst. Sports Editor
Nov. 12, 2009

UNCP football players, parents, community members and students
Photo by Nick Phillips
UNCP football players, parents, community members and students cheer as ESPN announces that the Braves will be part of the 2009 NCAA Division II football playoffs. The celebration was held in the U.C. on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.
UNCP made Division II football history when they received a bid to the 2009 NCAA Division II postseason. The Braves became the youngest team in Division II history to make the playoffs, earning a spot in their third season of modern football at the University.

“Any time you are part of a history-making event, we are nationally ranked for the first time, in the playoffs for the first time, it’s just not many times student-athletes and the University has the opportunity to make history,” said Chancellor Charles Jenkins.

“Every single student at UNC-Pembroke ought to be incredibly proud today,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Charles Harrington added.

The Braves earned the number five seed in Super Region 2, and will travel to face Arkansas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 14. They became the first NCAA Independent team since 2002 to play in the postseason action.

Approximately 200 people gathered in the University Center on Nov. 8, including the UNCP football team, students and community members. Athletic Director Dan Kenney and UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick both addressed the crowd after the announcement.

Although many had hoped for a first-round home game, Shinnick said the Braves are “just fired up that we are in. Home or away, it doesn’t matter, it’s a chance to keep playing, and that’s what you do this for.”

Senior wide receiver L.J. Johnson showed mixed emotions afterwards.

“We are just really excited to have an opportunity to make it to the playoffs. We were really looking forward to a home game. It was kind of upsetting to drop to number five, but we are a third-year program and ready to take advantage of any opportunity we get going into the playoffs.”

After going 4-7 in their inaugural, 2007 campaign, the Braves have rolled off back-to-back 9- 1 seasons.

UNCP will make the trek to Russellville, Ark. for the 12 p.m. CST kickoff against the Wonder Boys, who went 8-2 this season.

Arkansas Tech enters the game ranked 100 in the NCAA in sacks allowed.

UNCP enters the game with the fourthranked total defense in Division II.

The Braves’ defense has tallied 22 total team sacks this season.


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Updated: Thursday, November 12, 2009
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