COLUMBIA, SC–It was a dark and rainy day in Columbia on Saturday, but the Benedict Tiger football team lined up for its annual spring game showing nothing can stand in the way of the 2023 goals.
Head coach Chennis Berry said he’s proud of his team’s accomplishments in 2022, but it’s a new year and time to turn the page and start from scratch as they work to win a national championship.
One of those fresh starts comes at the quarterback position as the Tigers look to replace the void left by John Lampley and Eric Phoenix. Berry said he’s liked what he’s seen from Zay Foster, although he was out sick Saturday. Berry said Foster’s has gotten the reps with the staters during all 13 spring practices.
“He played for us in 2021,” Berry said. “And to see his growth from first practice, to practice 13, I think he really improved probably more than any other quarterback.”
On the field Saturday were sophomores Zayshaun Rice and Kendall McCoy. Rice was on the Benedict roster last season as a freshman and said he was able to learn a lot from Phoenix and Lampley.
Slowing the game down
“Really, you just gotta slow the game down for yourself,” Rice said. They really just slowed the game down and they took it one play at a time. Mistakes will come, but they always bypassed the mistakes and continued to play the game, really finished the game. No matter what, any mistakes that happened, they kept the team uplifted and just kept on, just kept the energy high.”
McCoy joins the team after transferring from Gardner-Webb University. He’s looking to bring a necessary locker room presence and said the team chemistry is making his transition an easy one.
“I definitely can bring some leadership. I’ve only been here for like three months and I’ve been able to create a bond with these guys,” he said. “This is an amazing team. What coaches preach, they’re family, they love everyone, forget about me, I love you, like all that has to come and play. These are your brothers, this is a brotherhood. What all the coaches preach to us every day, it really pays off.”
Berry said the young duo has some work to do but they’re learning and growing. Berry also noted that he’s not quite done adding to his quarterback room at Benedict.
“We signed a transfer quarterback, we signed a high school quarterback and we’re gonna sign another transfer quarterback,” he said. “So ultimately, at the end of the day, we’ll be ready when the ball kicks off on September 2.”