There’s not quite that chill in the air yet, but on Friday evening, the lights lit up Dark Horse Stadium. In other words, high school football is officially back in Sampson County.
The Union Spartans participated in the 2012 Pigskin Jamboree at Clinton High School Friday night. Although it was an exhibition game without scores, nor a statistic being tracked, that football atmosphere is back.
Afternoon showers were prolonged into the evening hours, and much of the exhibition was played in a slight rain. This made playing conditions very slippery, and numerous fumbles from each team were a result of that.
Union had four chances to play both offense and defense, each for 10-minute sessions. They competed against Hobbton, Lakewood, Clinton, and Midway.
Union’s offense had its ups and downs, but showed a glimpse of what they are capable of doing. They ran a “Spread” offense for most of the evening, with occasional “Wishbone” and ” Double Wide”. Senior fullback, Bakeem Murphy showed great bursts of speed and explosiveness, scoring two rushing touchdowns in one of the 10-minute sessions.
The Spartans came out in a 4-4 set on defense. They were very aggressive, applying a solid rush and disappointed if a player ran out of bounds before they could hit them. Spartan linebacker Alfredo Garcia was the hawk on defense, and contributed to many tackles.
The Spartans’ head coach, Doug Burley stated that his team started off a bit sluggish, but was pleased overall with their performance. He also said that he felt his team played better as the night progressed. The coach also noted that he wished they could have played longer since the exhibition was called early due to lightning.
“I saw some good things” Burley said, “and some things that we need to improve on. If we get better and better each game and each practice, we’re making progress.”
Union opens it season at Fairmont High School next Friday.