U.P. Gridders Face Southern Lee
The Union Pines football team hits the road tonight for a Cape Fear Valley Conference game against the Southern Lee Cavaliers.
The Vikings come into the game riding a five-game losing streak after a 29-6 league loss last week to Westover (3-5, 2-1)
With his team currently 2-7 on the year and 0-4 in CFVC play, head coach Ryan Riggan feels the Vikes have a shot to pull out a victory against Southern Lee.
“Our guys are continuing to work hard and press through,” said Riggan. “They understand we have to get better and continue to work for our two games we have left and also for some momentum for next season.”
Last week, Union Pines allowed Westover to gain 426 total yards from scrimmage, including 273 rushing yards on 39 plays.
“The thing we must do is come out to play from the start and make tackles,” said Riggan. “If we can get Southern Lee to the ground, and make them drive the ball, we should be in good shape.
“All week we have focused on the importance of executing and putting together a total four-quarter effort. We simply have to stop putting one drive together or one half together and instead play all out for an entire game.”
Southern Lee enters tonight’s match-up at 1-3 in CFVC play and 1-8 overall. Last week, the Cavs lost 44-37 to the CFVC first place Overhills Jaguars (3-5, 3-0). They saw a 25-game losing streak snapped three weeks ago with a 51-48 conference win against Western Harnett (1-7, 1-2) for their only victory on the season.
According to Riggan, Southern Lee has a very talented skill group on offense and can score anytime they touch the ball. “Defensively we can stop them if we make tackles,” he said, “but they are very slippery and tough to bring down.
“They have a tremendous running back in Ace Chalmers, who can score a lot of points. Also, Ashton Gaines, their six-foot-three quarterback, is a very good player who can hurt you with his arm and his legs.”
Last week, Riggan felt two bright spots for the Vikings were their offensive line play and the performance of junior running back A.J. Ritter. He feels the team needs solid efforts in both those areas again this week in order to have success.
“A. J. had a great game and got lots of though yards for us,” he said, “while our O-line had its best outing of the season last week. I hope they will continue to get more physical and really push off of the ball. We have to be physical up front to have a chance.”
The kickoff for tonight’s game is at 7:30 p.m. in Sanford.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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