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Top-ranked Red Foxes to invade Zemp for Bulldogs’ home opener

Posted: August 30, 2012 12:27 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2012 5:00 a.m.

HUNTER RANKIN ... CHS offensive tackle

One of the several facts which have become evident in the first two weeks of the Camden football season is that the Bulldogs have been slow coming out of the blocks.
In a season-opening 51-38 loss to Cheraw, the Dogs trailed, 16-0, at halftime. Last Friday night, West Florence rattled off the first 20 points before Camden dented the scoreboard in what turned out to be a 36-13 Knights’ victory.
In both instances, the CHS offense woke up and started to reel the opposition back in to make games of it. Tonight, it might be best that the Dogs do not let Hartsville get going early as the Red Foxes have shown a propensity to run off and hide with the lead.
In week zero, HHS blitzed Mid-Carolina, 40-0, in a lightning-delayed contest. Against Lamar a week ago, Jeff Calabrese’s squad raced to a 48-12 lead in the opening two minutes of the second half in what became a 62-38 rout.
Tonight, said Camden head coach Jimmy Neal, he would like to see his team play with the lead and mount some pressure against the state’s top-ranked AAA team which has had its way in back-to-back games.
“Slow starts have hurt us, there is no question about that,” Neal said. “How do you remedy that? I don’t know. You look at trying to get the tempo going faster in practice when you go to team offense.
“Our guys just need to keep plugging away and hanging in there to give ourselves a chance. But I’d love to start out being up 14-0 instead of being down 14-0.”
In the win over Lamar, all three Red Fox senior running backs ---  Dominic Robinson, Trey Samuel and Trey Rogers --- went over the 100-yard mark with Samuel going for 178 yards on six carries with two touchdowns. Robinson went for 101 yards on six carries with three scoring runs while Rogers had 118 yards on nine carries with a pair of scoring jaunts.
Throw in senior quarterback Shaquille Johnson clicking on five of his seven pass attempts with a pair of touchdown strikes of 23 and 26 yards to senior Trey Gattison and the Red Foxes have an explosive offense which can light up the scoreboard like a slot machine out of the Wing-T formation.
“The thing they do so well is that they will pop you inside with Rogers off the belly play and with the speed sweeps,” Neal said of the HHS offense. “They really put pressure on the perimeter. They do a really good job of hitting all the angles and making you be sound on defense.
“If you guess and you guess wrong, it’s six (points.) So, you have to be as solid as you can and you have to beat blocks on defense.”
With the Wing-T formation, Neal said the Camden defense can ill afford to get caught up in looking at the running backs, who had scoring runs of 70, 77 and 81 yards a week ago, and forget about the speedy, 6-foot-1, 175-pound Gattison.
“Gattison really makes you put a bunch of people to cover him because he can beat you deep if you are bunching up against the run,” Neal said of his defense needing to cover the entire field and not getting tunnel vision with the running game.
What tonight’s guests also have is an offensive line which fires off the ball and has created huge running lanes for the Red Fox tailbacks to run through.
Defensively, Neal said the 38 points which Lamar put up a week ago is a bit deceiving since Hartsville had the game well in hand early in the second half. The Silver Foxes scored 26 of their points in the final 20 minutes of play in a one-sided affair. Neal did say that Lamar has a solid team whose sophomore quarterback, Quan Brown, threw for 190 yards on a 12-for-25 night while running for another 64 yards on 15 carries.
 What Neal said the Red Foxes will do on defense is to make an opposing offense one-dimensional. In its first two games, Camden has been fairly even with the passing and rushing game. The Dogs have thrown for 394 yards while getting another 299 on the ground.
“They play really, really hard on defense and they are aggressive. They are fast on the perimeter and in the secondary,” Neal said. “They are doing a little more blitzing and stunting than they have done in the past.
“Their coaches have always done a good job. They are going to do all they can to take something away from us which is what you want to do defensively. They did a good job of that against Lamar with a 3-2 and a 4-1 look and forced Lamar to try and run the ball against them.”
Led by 26 seniors on their roster, the Red Foxes have been pointing toward this season as being the one Calabrese and company have been waiting for. Neal said HHS has the swagger of a top-ranked squad.
“They’re confident and their coaches are very confident,” he said. “They have a bunch of good athletes and they feel good about where they are. This is one of their better teams.”
Neal said the Dogs need to play better than they have to this point in the young season and may need a break or two to get them going tonight. In the same breath, he said neither he nor his team are waving the white flag. After having shown improvement from the first to the second game, Neal looks to take another step in the right direction tonight against a long-time rival.
“We’ve said from the beginning with this team that the most important thing we can do is improve from week to week and keep our heads up. If we can do that, I’ll be pleased,” he said. “If we can go out and do good things (tonight) and get after people, play more aggressive, play lower and don’t have the missed tackles that we’ve had … this is a hard team to show improvement against, though. But this might be the week that we do it.
“Our guys get to wear the gold and black. They represent a lot of people who have played on this field and in this game before. Hopefully, we’ll go out there and play well.”


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