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The Pine Needle
The Pine Needle
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Spring game showcases Football

Spring game showcases FootballFootball 1

By Cody Parker, Sports Editor

The UNCP football team held their annual spring game on April 9.

The Gold team won over the Black team 33-20.

The Gold team was made up of the first string offense and the second string defense, and the black team was made up of the second string offense and the first string defense.Football 2

All the spring practices culminate with this game to see how the whole team is shaping up. This was the fans first look at the team they will have in the fall. Coming into his second season as head coach, Shane Richardson, said he has noticed some improvements this spring.

“The comfortability is what I see the most. The guys are understanding the system and the messages that we are talking about,” Richardson said.

Quarterbacks Patrick O’Brien and Reggie Pinner both had strong showings. O’Brien connected on 9-of-15 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.

Pinner threw for 154 yards on 14-of-20 passing.

“They both understand what we are trying to do and they understand the competition that’s at stake here,” Richardson said.

Despite the showings from the quarterbacks, the standout player from the game might have been kicker Matt Davis.

Davis made 6-of-7 field goals, including two from over 40 yards. He kicked for both teams.

“I really liked our field goal kicker, I thought he was right on and did a fantastic job,” Richardson said.

Freshman Aaron Clay led the game with 70 yards receiving.

John Rich had two catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Rich had another touchdown catch that was called back because of a penalty.

Pinner was the leading rusher on the game with 36 yards. Terrance Scott, Dillon Hunt and JoJo Spann all scored rushing touchdowns. 

On the defensive side, Mike Keck and Josh Manns both made some big plays. Manns, a freshman, made the only interception of the game and Keck earned four sacks in the game.

The quarterbacks aren’t allowed to get tackled, so any time the quarterback is touched the play was blown dead.

Although that might have padded Keck’s stats a bit, he was still generating a lot of pressure.

The defenses played pretty well as only three points were scored in the first half.   

In the third quarter, the teams started with the ball on the opponents 40-yard line and in the fourth quarter they started at the opponents 15-yard line.

This led to a lot more points being scored in the second half.

The quarters weren’t timed, but each team ran a set number of plays.

The starting position of each team changed with each quarter, ranging from a normal touchback to starting in the red zone.

Other than the field goals, all special teams plays were done in between quarters.

Each team ran several kickoffs and punts. 

Top photo by Jonathan Bym. Reggie Pinner runs outside of the pocket in the spring game. Bottom photo by Cody Parker. Patrick O’Brien throws a pass in the spring game.