09/12/12 — Bye week is blessing for Spring Creek

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Bye week is blessing for Spring Creek

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 12, 2012 1:49 PM

Love it or hate it, the bye week eventually comes for every high school football team.

Having a Friday night to spend away from the field can be a blessing for teams looking to shake off a rough start or to get key players healthy. It can also be a curse for teams on a roll who have built momentum and want to maintain a routine.

Spring Creek is certainly in the blessed category.

The Gators will not be on the field Friday night and all indications are that the open week has arrived at the perfect time.

"We absolutely have to get guys healthy over the next 10 days," Gators head coach Aaron Sanders said after a recent practice. "There is nothing more important for us right now than to get our whole team back to full strength before we play again."

Spring Creek is 0-4 overall, but has shown flashes of improvement.

After a tough, season-opening loss to 2-A power South Lenoir, the Gators played well in a loss to Lejeune the following week. Sanders' team nearly knocked off Southeast Halifax in a wild 52-40 thriller before falling to East Carteret last week.

The Gators' offense averages 17 points per game despite playing with a carousel of players on the sidelines due to injuries. Starting tailback Tre Hammonds has missed snaps due to concussion-like symptoms. Wide receiver Logan Miller and fullback Anthony Russo have also missed time with various ailments.

Fans see the impact of the injuries on Friday nights.

Sanders sees the impact every single day at practice.

"We have so many guys that play both sides of the ball that any injury is a big injury," Sanders said. "We don't have the numbers to go full 11-on-11 at practice when we have a bunch of guys out so we have to adjust and do more 7-on-7 and half line stuff."

The next two games are two of the biggest on the Spring Creek schedule and Sanders hopes that he will have a full compliment of athletes at his disposal.

Spring Creek travels to Dixon on Sept. 21 to renew a heated rivalry. The Gators dropped the Bulldogs in 2009 for the team's only victory that season. History repeated itself in 2011 as Spring Creek earned a 27-14 win. Following the trip to Holly Ridge, the Gators open Carolina 1-A Conference play Sept. 28 against Princeton.

"I think our guys have a lot of confidence because we have shown that we can move the ball offensively," Sanders said. "We need to use the bye week to work on fixing some little things on offense and to get back to fundamentals on defense."

Clearly the extra time to prepare has come at the perfect time.