Offense Shows Glimmer, But Defense Shines Again
PEMBROKE – Quarterbacks Cory Smith and freshman Luke Charles each led scoring drives to put points on the board, but the UNCP offense got little else from its defensive counterparts who used its strength and speed to, once again, get the better of the play in the second and final scrimmage of the preseason Thursday evening at Grace P. Johnson Stadium.
Smith keyed a 40-yard march with a 17-yard pass to L.J. Johnson down the near sideline and Brandon McLaurin finished off the surge with a one-yard plunge into the end zone. The only other scoring drive of the night came via the ground game as true freshman Justin Rodgers scampered around left guard for a 29-yard gain, with fellow stable mate Reggie Scott capping off the drive with an 11-yard run around right end.
Sophomore placekicker Taylor Baskett pushed 41-, 44- and 47-yard field goal attempts just right of the goal posts on three other drives. Each one had plenty of distance, however.
“We got good looks from our first offense and our first defense tonight,” said head coach Pete Shinnick. “We ran the right amount of plays coming out of camp and I was happy with what we did with the ball tonight. We kept a few more drives going and we were able to eliminate some of the penalties and some of the mistakes. I feel good about what we got done. Taylor missed a few kicks but we have the utmost confidence in him making kicks like that for us when we really need him to.”
The session marked the second and final scrimmage of the 2009 preseason which will conclude with a 4 p.m. Friday practice and a 10 a.m. practice on Saturday. All practices are open to the general public, but spectators are asked to remain outside of the fences surrounding the practice fields.
UNCP will open up its third season of intercollegiate football on August 29 when it travels to Fayetteville to take part in the inaugural Two Rivers Classic against region foe and 24th-ranked Fayetteville State. Discounted pre-sale tickets to the event are still available through the UNCP athletic department at (910) 521-6227.
Season tickets also remain on sale to the general public and can be purchased through the UNCP athletic department as well. The Braves will open up the home portion of their 2009 slate on September 5 when it welcomes St. Paul’s to Grace P. Johnson for a 6 p.m. kickoff.