Spartans savor playoff spot
Thu. November 01, 2012 at 11:38 p.m. | By Jason Queen
Central Davidson quarterback Nathan Dennis (center) makes a key block on a Lexington defender (right) allowing Central’s Saig Skeen to score a touchdown in the third quarter on Oct. 19. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)
Central Davidson has waited for this night for over a year now.
There’s nothing left to do but play football.
The Spartans earned a state playoff spot last season before forfeiting all of their wins heading into its regular-season finale with West Davidson. Central went from one of the hottest teams in the state to a melting pot of heartache, thanks to an ineligible player being on the roster the entire season.
One year later, the Spartans couldn’t be more excited about their trip to Marshville to face Forest Hills in the first round of the 2-AA playoffs.
Regardless of what happens on the field Friday, Central’s just glad to finally get its shot in the playoffs. “Yeah, the kids felt sort of cheated last year,” Central coach Brad Morton said. “But we earned the right to go this year, so we’re very excited about being able to play.”
Central (3-2 Central Carolina Conference, 6-5 overall) hopes to accomplish about the same thing as the Yellowjackets (6-1 Rocky River Conference, 8-3 overall), as both teams rely heavily on the run. They just take two totally different paths to get there.
Central packs all 11 offensive players in a tight, double-wing set and runs only a handful of plays. Saig Skeen is the featured back, and he has run for a school record 1,973 yards on 242 carries. Skeen has 26 touchdowns on the ground. Josh Moore is the other wing back, and he has run for 719 yards and eight TDs.
On the flip side, Forest Hills likes to run most of the time, but they do it out of the shotgun spread with a read option look. Junior quarterback Jared Lee has run for 1,020 yards and 16 touchdowns, while sophomore running back C.J. Carelock has 1,088 yards on the ground with 15 TDs.
Morton knows stopping that dual threat on the ground will be a tough task. “One thing about them, they’ve got tremendous speed on offense and defense,” Morton said. “That’s one thing we’ve got to be able to counter one way or another.”
The Spartans have no other options; their power up front has to offset Forest Hills’ speed by being stronger at the point of attack. “Well, it’s got to,” Morton added. “Like any game we play, we’ve got to be able to control the football.
“We’ve got to take time off the clock, and make it a shorter game. Defensive-wise, we’ve got to have some stops. They’re a very good offensive football team, so we’ve really got to play good basic defense to be able to compete with them.”
That will put a heavy burden on Central’s defensive line and linebackers, to stay within their assignments and outmuscle the guys in front of them. “The running back has over a thousand yards, and the quarterback has over a thousand yards, so you can’t key on anybody,” Morton conceded.
The Spartans are happy to finally play in a playoff game they earned on the field a year ago. They hope to keep the run going for a while.”
Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.