Spring scrimmage shows promising season ahead for NCCU football

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Clad in gray jerseys, N. C. Central University football’s defense and special teams squad used seven sacks and two interceptions to beat the opposing offense 42–39 during Saturday’s spring scrimmage in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.

This is the second consecutive year that the defense and special teams squad has beat the offense in the spring game. However, head coach Jerry Mack isn’t concerned.

“I didn’t want to see any lopsided victories,” Mack said. “I love seeing both [sides] make plays. It means our coaches are coaching hard, our players understand what’s going on and nobody is lying down and quitting.”

For the scrimmage, the scoring system was adjusted with the offense earning six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal and one point for each first down. The defense had the opportunity to collect four points for each possession stop, plus one point for a turnover or a three-and-out. Neither side could score no more than seven points per drive.

Both sides performed well, with the offense making big plays to rack up 414 passing yards and four touchdowns—two of them belonging to junior wide receiver Jacen Murphy—while defense was responsible for seven sacks, two interceptions and breaking up six other passes.

“We take pride in, both sides of the ball, attacking,” Mack said of his team’s efforts on Saturday. “You saw guys flying around faster, being more creative and trying to make plays.”

There was one casualty to the success of the offense: junior offensive lineman Marley Conley, playing as #56, suffered a high ankle sprain during the last few minutes of the first half. There were no further details about the injury following the scrimmage.

The Black Ice Affair, a gala celebrating the football program’s 2016–17 achievements that doubled as this year’s MEAC Football Championship ring ceremony, was held in McDougald-McLendon Arena at 6 p.m. that evening.

The first game of the 2017–18 season, the annual Bull City Classic, is scheduled for Sept. 2 against Duke University.

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Kaylee Sciacca is a Mass Communications student at NCCU from Durham, NC with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Geographic Information Systems.

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