U.P. Entertains Douglas Byrd
Tonight will mark the final time Union Pines’ group of seniors will strap on the gear and step on the gridiron in the Vike blue as the team hosts Douglas Byrd in the 2010 Cape Fear Valley Conference football finale at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium.
Coming off a bye week, Union Pines head coach Ryan Riggan is encouraged by the way his team has gone about preparing for its final contest of the season.
“Practice has been good these last two weeks,” Riggan said. “We spent a lot of time working on fundamentals and just getting truly prepared. I know that Byrd is a good team and the kids do too.”
At 8-2 overall and 3-2 in CFVC play, the visiting Eagles bring a three-game winning streak into tonight’s game and are fresh off dealing Southern Lee a 75-7 league loss last week. Two weeks ago Union Pines also took on conference foe Southern Lee (2-9, 2-4), falling to the Cavaliers 50-36 in Sanford.
That loss was the sixth straight for a Viking team that is 2-8 overall and 0-5 in CFVC play. Riggan said Union Pines has to go out and play tonight’s game as a team.
“We must do exactly what we are supposed to do every snap of the game,” he said, “and if we can accomplish that task then we have a chance to stay in the game.”
What concerns Riggan most about Douglas Byrd is Eagle senior quarterback Junior Williams.
“Williams is an outstanding football player and has been for four years now on the varsity level,” Riggan said. “The leadership they get from him at QB worries me a lot.
“Also they are very fast and physical. So if you let them jump on you early they can put up a lot of points in a hurry. Their offense has really been clicking as of late and after seeing them in person last week it’s easy to see why Williams is the driving force behind their team.”
With that in mind, Riggan stressed clock management and smart, assignment-based play from his defense as two key areas the Vikings must focus on out on the field.
“We need to really shorten the game if given the chance,” he said, “by picking up some first downs, melting the clock and keeping their offense off of the field. Defensively we need to play a very sound football game and play our responsibilities.”
Riggan is well aware tonight is the last time his team laces them up this season. For his seniors, the game will be their final one as Union Pines Viking football players.
“We’ve talked a lot about how fast this has gone by and as a coach you talk to your players about every snap being their last but for these guys it’s really coming true,” Riggan said of his seniors. “I really have a tremendous group and we will miss them greatly when this season ends, so I really want to see them along with the rest of our team play their hearts out and truly go out knowing they left it all on the field.”
The Senior Night kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Union Pines.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com.
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