WAR MACHINES & BEE STINGS: Spartanburg at Union County

This Past Friday Night I believe we all got chance to see the team our Spartanburg Vikings can be. The effort from the all the players and coaches on both sides of the ball was great to watch. While I strongly feel we are 25 points better than Etowah even though the score didn’t reflect it at 39-25,It felt more like a 50-14 kind of game. Now I’m not selling Etowah short.They are a big,strong team but they were not the same team we played last year, just as we are not the same team that visited Woodstock, Georgia last year.

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Spartanburg held Etowah to 257 yards of Total offense on 51 plays. The Standout Wide receiver/Safety Blake Jones had 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns and 8 tackles. The Eagles QB Patrick Ferris had a good game also going  17-28 for 191 yards. Etowah who is known as a run heavy I formation team and  was only able to gain 66 yards on 23 attempts.

So when you jump to the flip side of that game, you get Spartanburg QB Keonte Cartledge throwing for 290 yards,3 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also averaged 5 yards per carry on 7 attempts some of which were runs that kept drives alive. Keonte spread it around to 5 different players like Romain Kelly who had 5 catches for 122 yards and a Touchdown. Tommy Washington also had 71 yards on 6 receptions and a Td, along with Damyjai Fosters 17 yard per catch average and stellar balancing act with one hand on the ground catch and juke Touchdown.

The absolute most telling stat for me..    Spartanburg 360 yards rushing on 43 attempts. The aforementioned stat introduces everyone including our upcoming matchup with Union County to Running Backs Zykamren Robinson and Mike Wannamaker. Counterparts to a degree… Both parts work just fine, but together they build a War Machine. Thunder and Lighting..Cold Fire.. very fitting for tales of Viking battles. Dominate. Pillage. Attack. Armor and Sword  

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While Mike Wannamaker who finished with 101 yards on 14 touches is a name that resonates across this county and throughout the state as one of the greatest Running Backs this state has ever seen. The “son of a legend” talk doesn’t let him get off track, “I never feel or felt any pressure because I know that my father left a great history behind with SHS but I’m just striving to better than my last play. I have been blessed to have my mother (Shalonda Goode) who helps me daily plus my family and friends.All my coaches have been extremely great and have placed so much motivation inside of me, I wanna give a special thanks to Coach Nate, Coach Miller, and Coach Gist for the time they have spent with me.” Mike’s Father who finished his Spartanburg Vikings career with 4,320 yards had one simple statement about his son,” I Love seeing my son out there making his own name for himself and not worry about how I played or what I accomplished.”

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When I asked Mike about if he had any nerves creep into him knowing he was going to see his first real action on the varsity level he replied, “I wasn’t nervous at all I just knew that I had to play my position at my best and do exactly what the coaches told me.” He continued,” The team was excited, this win was motivating. We know that we just have to keep working hard for the next game and I have to put in my work as an individual to get better as well”

You can watch Mike Wannamakers Highlights here

Now Zykamren Robinson is a different beast all together at 6’1 216 pounds and calf muscles that look like Popeye’s forearms, Robinson put on a clinic Friday against Etowah. Robinson gutted the eagles defense for 223 yards on 18 carries and 3 touchdowns. You can watch his highlight here

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Robinson suffered a hand injury against Chapman in the preseason. He got to see his first real action against Etowah.”I wasn’t as focused on my injury, just playing with my team was all I had on my mind.I wanted to be on the field”, Robinson said.”My first game back I almost felt like a little kid again playing for the TK Gregg Giants , my adrenaline was just pumping and I was so excited to be back on the field with my boys.”

 

Robinson spoke of the locker room afterwards, “Everyone was so happy for me. Coach Nate Harris would always say, “show me “the twitter kam” and Friday night he said there’s “the twitter kam” the he has been looking for.”

Zykamren’s motivation on and off the field comes from the same powerful source. “Hands down it’s my dad, he motivates and pushes me everyday to do what I need to do, on the field but he stresses to me all the time about my grades and staying in my books.” Robinson also praised Coach Miller, “He has believed in me since I was In the 9th grade and he has just pushed me to be the player I am now. I cannot thank him enough”

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Union County is off to a 0-3 start,having lost games to Chapman, Gaffney and York. Spartanburg will travel down Highway 176 step onto those fairgrounds which house County Stadium and face a fired up, starving for win team, led by Head Coach Bradley Adams.When I spoke with Coach Adams he spoke of a talented team who is trying to find their true team identity through this brutal non region schedule.”It’s been really tough,really hard on the kids.We know we can compete and we know the kids,coaches and our community are not what some people would call “losers”,we are just still finding our way,play by play, game by game.” QB KeSean Glover and his twin brother Running Back Keion Glover along with Running Back Deshaun Holmes  have been the work horses.Coach Adams continued,”those young men have worked hard, played hard and represented what we want to be every time they have stepped on the field,I could not ask for more leadership from those young men.” The Yellow Jackets offensive line is anchored by RT Parker Northern and LT Lewis McBeth, Both have really good size and foot work. On the outside Wideouts Michael Purdie and Quadrike Smith are also good weapons.
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Union County has a defense is led by #9 Ty Savage, who is a hard-hitting defensive back who is all over the field. #56 Cam Lott is a huge and super athletic DT, he also plays fullback occasionally on offense. Those are really the big contributors and they both have the ability to play at the next level. Coach Adams spoke highly of Cam Lott, “He is definitely a leader.” You can see his highlights here

 

So this Friday Spartanburg will look to progress to 2-2 while Union County will be gunning for the first win of the season. 9 times out of 10 this is a good game, even though Spartanburg has won 8 of the last 10 meetings. A good old classic rivalry game,that both teams need. What more could you ask for on a Friday Night? Good Football, Good Fans and even a decent Hot Dog which for some reason has become as hard to find as a The Piedmont Pickum Show. (i sure do miss you guys)

Everyone have a safe Holiday Week, watch your speed on Highway 176, and pray this game ends before 2:30 am.

EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS TO COACH ADAMS AND WBCU RADIO FOR ALL YOUR HELP. I THANK YOU ON BEHALF OF VIKING FANS EVERYWHERE. Thank you

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