Union Pines at Home Against Gray's Creek in Football
The Union Pines football team hits its home field again tonight for a 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference contest with the Gray’s Creek Bears at 7:30 p.m.
Gray’s Creek enters the game at 4-1 on the season after falling 23-17 to Douglas Byrd in its league opener. The loss snapped a 12-game CFVC winning streak for the two-time defending league champion Bears.
Conversely, the Vikings enter the tilt 1-17 in their last 18 league outings and riding an eight-game losing streak in CFVC play. Last week, Union Pines lost 50-22 at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium in its conference opener to Overhills (1-4, 1-0 CFVC).
With his team currently 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in CFVC play, Riggan admitted that Gray’s Creek will present his Vikings with a tremendously tough test.
“Well there’s no doubt the Bears will be loaded,” said Riggan. “They are a great team and we will have our hands full if we make a lot of mistakes. They are fast all-around, run the ball extremely well and play sound defense. I know that they will execute to perfection and their offense is tough to defend.”
“If we don’t play great defense and stay gap sound we will have problems. We have to make tackles and not over pursue. On offense, we have to play in front of the chains and work to keep their defense on the field. We need to maintain some drives and keep their (offense) on the sidelines."
Last week, Union Pines battled back to score 13 straight points in the third quarter and get within six points of Overhills. However, the Vike offense then stalled on its next three drives, going three-and-out on each possession. Meanwhile, Union Pines’ defense allowed a few costly big plays, as the Jags finished the game with 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
“Practice has been pretty good this week,” said Riggan. “We have really been working on getting the passing game going, running hard, catching balls and running perfect routes. We have to get better play out of everyone and we cannot be a one-dimensional team against a team like Grays Creek.
“If our kids can do a great job of staying in their gaps, pursuing with all 11 guys to the ball and making tackles we can stay in the game. Again the Bears are a great football team so we need to play extremely hard and we need to get a lot out of our kids for the duration of the game to give ourselves a shot on Friday.”
Friday is also Youth Football Night at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium. All current players that wear their game jersey or an Optimist T-shirt will get free admittance to the game. Each Optimist League youth football team will be recognized during a pre-game ceremony starting at 7 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org
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