UNCP gets 1st round bye in playoffs

Scott Schlaufman Sports Editor

November 17, 2013

PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team is headed back to the Division II playoffs.

The Braves received the No. 2 seed in Super Region 2 and will have a bye in the first round before hosting a second-round game on Nov. 30.

“This is what we wanted,” coach Pete Shinnick said. “We wanted the opportunity to be at home, we wanted the opportunity to have the bye, so it couldn’t have worked out better. I’m extremely proud of our guys for having a setback and not letting the setback keep us from what we were trying to accomplish.”

The second round game will be held Nov. 30 at Grace P. Johnson Stadium against the winner of No. 3 North Alabama vs. No. 6 Tuskegee, which will be played Saturday.

It is the second playoff appearance in program history. The Braves received the region’s No. 5 seed and lost 41-13 to Arkansas Tech in the first round in 2009.

“This a very exciting moment and a very exciting today for me, this being the second time that I’m in the playoffs,” said senior Fred Thompson, who is one of the few players left from the 2009 team. “To have so many young, experienced players on our team, this is their first time, so I’m very excited for them. We’re looking to go all the way to the national championship.”

The team watched the playoff selection show on Sunday night with fans and family members at the school’s University Center Annex. Several hundred people attended the event.

When the show started, the room went silent. Five minutes later, a feeling of pure bliss swept across when North Alabama came up as the region’s No. 3 seed, meaning the Braves would be No. 2.

Shinnick left his first row seat, raised his arms in the air and turned around to acknowledge the crowd as players hugged and high-fived. The previously silent room was filled with cheers and a UNCP player jumped on the stage to lead a chant.

“When everybody saw North Alabama, they knew where we were,” Shinnick said. “What that did really was give us great confidence in where we were going to be and I think we got rewarded for playing a tough schedule. We played one of the tougher schedules in Division II, we didn’t back down from anybody and it paid off for us.”

The Braves (9-1) finished the regular season on Saturday with a 63-0 win against Virginia- Lynchburg. Along the way, they beat both Valdosta State and Winston-Salem State, the two teams in last year’s Division II championship game. A win over FCS program Charlotte 45-22 was among the big wins the team picked up, playing three televised games.

Newberry, the only team to beat the Braves this season, is the No. 5 seed in Super Region 2, and Winston-Salem State is the No. 4 seed in Super Region 1.

Season ticket holders and Braves Club members will have the first chance to purchase reserved seat tickets for the home playoff game in a Priority Sales Period that will run from 9 a.m. Monday until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Any reserved seat tickets not purchased during this time will be released for sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Reserved seats will cost $25 and general admission tickets will cost $10. Both can be purchased beginning Monday by visiting or calling the Givens Performing Arts Center box office at (910) 521-6361. A $5 convenience fee will be added to all phone orders, and a $2 convenience fee will be added to all credit card orders.

The school will have an event the week of the game to give students a limited amount of tickets free of charge and remaining student tickets will be available at a discounted price.

NCAA Division II playoffs

Super Region 1

First Round, Nov. 23

No 5. Slippery Rock (9-2) at No. 4 Winston-Salem State (9-1)

No. 6 American International (9-2) at No. 3 West Chester (10-1)

Second Round, Nov. 30

WR/WS winner at No. 1 Shepherd (10-0)

WC/AI winner at No. 2 Bloomsburg (10-1)

Super Region 2

First Round

No. 5 Newberry (9-2) at No. 4 Carson-Newman (9-2)

No. 6 Tuskegee (8-2) at No. 3 North Alabama (8-2)

Second Round

N/CN winner at No. 1 Lenoir Rhyne (10-1)

T/NA winner at No. 2 UNC Pembroke (11-1)

Super Region 3

First Round

No. 5 Emporia State (9-1) at No. 4 Minn. Duluth (10-1)

No. 6 St. Cloud State (10-1) at No. 3 Henderson St. (11-0)

Second Round

ES/MD winner at No. 1 Northwest Mo. St. (11-0)

HS/SCS winner at No. 2 Minn. St. Mankato (11-0)

Super Region 4

First Round

No. 5 Saginaw Valley (9-2) at No. 4 Grand Valley St. (9-2)

No. 3 West Texas A&M at No. 3 Indianapolis (10-1)

Second Round

SV/GVS winner at No. 1 Colo. State-Pueblo (11-0)

I/WTAM winner at No. 2 Ohio Dominican (10-0)

Quarterfinals, Dec. 7

Semifinals, Dec. 14

Final, Dec. 21