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Bruins' Spates to play for VUL Dragons

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LHS defensive lineman gets second chance

By Robert Howey

 

Lancaster High School head football coach Bennie McMurray said he sees it as a second chance.

Bruins’ nose tackle Donte Spates said he plans to take advantage of the opportunity.

Spates, a three-year player on the LHS varsity, missed the bulk of his senior campaign with a thumb injury, but he’s getting a second shot at Virginia University at Lynchburg.

VUL, known as the Dragons, is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and competes as a NCAA Division II member.

“This is a good opportunity for Donte to go to the next level, getting the chance to extend his education and play football,” said McMurray of Spates, who has signed with VUL. “It says a lot about him that he missed most of his senior season, but has received the chance to play at the next level. He showed a lot of determination to receive this chance to go to the next level.”

Spates, a six-foot, 295-pounder, visited the school and liked what he saw.

“I like the campus,” he said. “It’s a good program and I look forward to going there and being a part of the football program.

“I know the competition is going to be tough, but I’m up for the challenge.”

When Spates was healthy, he was a solid contributor for the Bruins.

In his junior season, he racked up 15 unassisted tackles, six tackles for loss, 23 first hits, 34 assists, five sacks, four caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

“The coaches at Virginia University at Lynchburg like what they saw in him as a junior and are giving him a shot,” McMurray said. “He will have to prove himself, but I know he’s capable.”

In addition to football, Spates also wrestled one season for the Bruins.

“Donte’s a competitor and I feel he will go there and give it his best shot,” McMurray said. “It’s a good opportunity for him to go to school and do something he enjoys. I’m happy he has this chance and we wish him the best.”

Virginia University at Lynchburg opens its 2013 season Sept. 7 when it hosts Lane College of Jackson, Tenn.