PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team comes back home on Saturday after a last-second loss to Winston-Salem State last week.
This week, the team hosts Elizabeth City State who was granted a win over Central State after the game was called in the fourth quarter following a near three-hour weather delay.
Lightning played a role in UNCP’s loss, too, as the game was rescheduled to Sunday, then the rescheduled contest was held up by a lightning delay during the second half.
Coach Shane Richardson was pleased with how well the team rebounded after the postponement.
“Coming out of the lightening delay, we had regrouped a little bit and kind of talked through things and settled things down in the locker room. We just had a plan to go out there and not quit,” Richardson said.
The chat during the delay proved to be what the team needed as they scored 20 unanswered points, capped by a 39-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Josh Jones that gave the Braves their first and only lead, 20-16, with just under two minutes left in the game. Jones showed command of the offense when he was inserted in the second quarter and ended with 248 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Richardson was pleased with the true freshman and has slated him to start against the Vikings.
Richardson wasn’t as thrilled with the rushing situation as the backs managed 1.4 yards per carry.
“We got to have a better run game than what we showed on Sunday,” he said. “Those [offensive lineman] have got to continue to create space up there.”
The Vikings were stingy on defense last week, albeit for just over three quarters. They managed to hold Central State to 118 total yards and gave up 71 yards on the ground. Richardson wants the UNCP front to be more physical this week so captains Josh Sheridan and Quadrin Williams can have room to operate. They combined for just 59 yards against the Rams.
Meanwhile, the Braves defense received high praise from the coach for their effort.
“I like a lot about our defense. We gave up a couple of big plays, which those are unfortunate…other than that, there was a lot of good defense that was played,” Richardson said.
UNCP all-time sack leader Tyler Hinton increased his career total with one takedown and the group finished with four sacks altogether. They held the Rams to 178 yards passing and allowed nine points through three quarters.
Richardson says he wants the group to build off the good habits they displayed through the middle portion of the game and eliminate the big plays this week.
Saturday night also marks the team’s annual Military Appreciation game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Donnell Coley can be reached at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Sportsinmyveins