freshman quarterback Kurt Benkert put up some
good numbers in the spring game. (Photo by Al
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View ECU's 2014 football schedule
Saturday was one of those magical days that make me so thankful the good
Lord stationed me in Eastern North Carolina for all of these years.
My day started with the annual “Walk to Defeat ALS.” I had the privilege
of serving as emcee for the opening ceremonies. I got the chance to
reflect on former East Carolina baseball Coach Keith LeClair’s battle
with the dreaded disease.
So many continue to fight for a cure for the disease that took Coach
LeClair from us far too early. There were hundreds taking part in the
walk that raised money to help families in their own individual battles.
My next stop was with the Exceptional Community Baseball League. We play
most Saturdays in the spring at the Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams. I have
often said that the members of this group do much more for me than I
could ever do for them.
All associated with the ECBL have a great time, and will be playing our
annual game with the ECU baseball team in May. Coach Billy Godwin and
his staff and players bend over backwards to work with our players in
the ECBL each season.
up was the “Great Pirate Purple Gold Pigskin Pig-out Party.” I’ve been a
part of all but the very first one and have always thought it was a
brilliant idea from the very start. So many Pirate fans were out eating
bar-b-cue and enjoying the Pirate fellowship. Add in a beautiful day of
weather and you couldn’t ask for more.
The crown jewel of “Pig-out Party” is always the annual spring football
I thought the spring game was one of the best I’ve seen. Most of the
time it’s a fairly vanilla mix on offense, with the defense dominating.
This year was different, with the offense making several big plays.
Shane Carden is obviously the Pirate quarterback. He played sparingly,
giving way to redshirt freshman Kurt Benkurt, who had a big day.
“I was just talking with (former Pirate quarterback) Dominique Davis,”
said Carden. “He saw that I was out early and he laughed because he
remembered when he was a rising senior. I want to play but I
Carden’s understudy was the story of the spring game. Benkert threw a
pair of touchdown passes as a part of a 9-of-13, 133-yard afternoon
through the air. Benkert threw an absolute laser to former Washington
High School star Jimmy Williams on a 45-yard touchdown pass. He followed
that up later with a short strike on a slant to Cam Worthy.
Overall, Pirate coach Ruffin McNeill liked what he saw.
"We get three full-contact days and I liked the way we progressed in
each three," McNeill said. "I thought our offense really came along.
They did a great job getting everything together and really got better
in the protection and the run game.”
The Pirate quarterbacks were a collective 24-of-35 for 245 yards and
The Saturday fun continued with a visit to “Piratefest” in uptown
Funny thing about some of these ‘Blackbeards’ — I think a few of them
think they really are pirates.
I even had a chance to visit with a couple of mermaids to cap off a
Where else can you see Pirates on the football field and pirates roaming
the streets on the same day?
Only in Greenville, NC, and I am thankful that I get the chance to live
in such a great place.
What a day!
Now if football season would just hurry up and get here.