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Dogs bark loudest in topping Demons, 46-35

Posted: September 15, 2012 2:54 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2012 5:00 a.m.

On a night of firsts, Camden got the one which mattered most.
In a game in which each side scored a touchdown the first time --- literally --- that it touched the football, it was the visiting Bulldogs who used a three big plays in the second half to turn a 28-19 halftime deficit into a 46-35 victory over Lugoff-Elgin in the 33rd edition of the cross-river rivalry.
Both teams came into this 33rd edition of the cross-river rivalry in search of their first victory of the season. And it would be CHS (1-3) which snapped an eight-game skid, lasting nearly a full calendar year, by putting up some big numbers against the Demons, who fell for the fourth time in as many starts this season and 10th in a row dating back to a 17-10 victory over White Knoll in week five of the 2011 campaign.
Regardless of how his team got one, Camden head coach Jimmy Neal had the look of relief on his face after what proved to be as entertaining a game in the history of the series.
“They’re excited,” Neal said as he gave a nod of the head to his team’s celebration taking place behind him. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won a football game and, to beat your cross-county rival is pretty big. I’m just happy for our kids.
“It’s like I just told them, I thanked them for keeping the faith and hanging in there. They’ve done that. They’ve worked hard since pre-season started. They continue to do it.”
Across the way, L-E head coach Scott Jones offered no excuses following the setback which came a week after the Demons scored 28 unanswered points in falling short in a 34-28 loss to West Florence. On a night in which the visitors rolled up a season-best 531 yards, Jones said there was no doubt as to what his team’s problem was in spite of accounting for 284 yards themselves.
“The bottom line here is,” he said, “we couldn’t stop them. You have to play some defense, sometimes, and make some plays, which we did at times. We’re just not very good there.”
In a game which opened with L-E sophomore Daniel Quattlebaum returning the opening kickoff for a 65-yard touchdown, only to be answered by Camden junior Brandon Hampton sprinting for a 76-yard touchdown on the Dogs’ first play from scrimmage to even things at 7-7 just 37 seconds into the game, the outcome came down to a pair of timely plays by the guests and an untimely turnover --- the only one of the night --- by the hosts.
Having closed the gap to 35-32 thanks to a 22-yard Josh Council to Dontrell Miller touchdown pass with 6.8 seconds left in the third quarter, CHS decided to go for broke following the score.
Calling on kicker Nelson Semple to dribble an onside kick to his left, the Dogs seemingly stripped a Demon of the football. And, when the pile was sorted out, it was Semple who came away with the elusive pigskin which may have changed hands more than once in the scrum as the guests took the ball at the Demons’ 48.
Jones later said his return team was warned about an onside kick, of which CHS has recovered two this season.
“We talked at halftime about any kind of a letdown with a turnover or a momentum change in the kicking game could mess it up for us,” he said. “Unfortunately, we had just said ‘Watch out for the onside kick.’ Our guys were prepared for it, but the ball takes a funny bounce sometimes.”
“I could feel the momentum changing after that onside kick. We were trying to convince our guys to hang in there and keep it up.”
Neal credited assistant coach Casey Faulkenberry for making the call on the kick. Faulkenberry also wanted to try it again after Camden took a 46-35 lead with 2:32 left in the contest. The Bulldog boss said the reason for the onside try was two-fold.
“One reason is because we hadn’t stopped them very much and the other was, it was a good time to do it,” Neal said. “We kind of had to get ‘one-up’ on them right there. I thought it was a good call.
“Coach Faulkenberry wanted to do it again with two and a half minutes left. We were scared because they were returning the ball on us. We hadn’t had much trouble with that all year, but we certainly had trouble with it tonight, obviously.
“We got lucky with that ball popping out and our guy getting it.”
From the 48, Council shrugged off a defender some 17 yards behind the line of scrimmage and scrambled his way for a five-yard gain as the third quarter expired.
Council, who completed 22 of his 34 pass attempts for a career-best 292 yards, called his own number to open the final the final stanza and went for a gain of 24 to the L-E 19 before being run out of bounds. A Hampton 18-yard carry to the one was followed by fullback Kendrice Slater going in for the touchdown to give the visitors their first lead with 11:23 to play. Semple’s PAT boot made it 39-35.
After the first half of Jones’ doomsday equation reared its ugly head, the second part came when on the first play from scrimmage, an L-E fumble was recovered by Camden safety DeMarius Alexander at his own 45.
Continuing with a “hurry up” offense which hit another gear on Friday, Camden shrugged off Allen Jenerette’s tackle of Council for a loss of four on first down. The Bulldog signal caller then found Cedric Cook over the middle for a gain of 12 on a crucial third and eight from the 47. Council would later hit Miller for a dozen yards on a second and 14 pass from the 27. But the Demon secondary came up big by batting down a fourth and two pass from the 15 to take over on downs at their own 15 with 7:56 to play in the contest.
Needing to get something going, L-E was forced to punt on a fourth and five. Miller’s 15-yard return of a bouncing ball to the L-E 40 had another 15 yards tacked onto it by an unsportsmanlike penalty called versus the hosts with 5:38 to play.
For the first time all night, CHS milked the clock with 25 yards to navigate. On third and seven, Council zipped a spiral to Cook for a gain of 15 to the seven. Three snaps later, Slater plunged in from the two, a play after he was thrown for a one-yard loss.  Semple’s kick would follow as with 2:32 left, the Dogs went up by two scores at 46-35.
“We scored 35 points and we moved the ball pretty well most of the night, until we had to there at the end of the game,” Jones said of being forced to punt in the closing six minutes. “We have to build on that and develop some kind of a passing game if we’re going to compete against the people we’re playing against.”
The Demons attempted just six passes on the evening with halfback Derrick Miller recording the lone completion to Keenan Myers on a 29-yard double pass in the third quarter.
This game started out looking to be the horse race, which most had predicted, after Quattlebaum’s kickoff return and Hampton’s scoring run opened things.
On its first series from scrimmage, L-E lined up in the Wing-T and kept the ball on the ground, marching 52 yards on nine plays with the longest carry being that of quarterback Shon Belton, who went for 12 yards on the first snap. Four plays later, senior tailback Jalen McCaskill, who went for 126 yards on 14 carries, broke off a 10-yard run to the seven which led to a Belton one-yard keeper and a 14-7 Demon advantage following Robert Frame’s PAT kick with 6:41 left in the opening quarter.
Camden, again, answered with a 71-yard scoring drive in which Council found Miller, Alexx Cooke and tight end Chase Truesdale with passes of six, 11 and nine yards. Truesdale’s first varsity reception went to the 14, from which point Council pulled the ball on the quarterback bootleg and went in for the score. A bad snap led to a blocked PAT try and with 5:05 showing on the clock, CHS trimmed the deficit to 14-13.
But the scoreboard operator was put to work quickly as on the first snap from scrimmage, McCaskill took a handoff from Belton and sailed, untouched 65 yards into the end zone. Frame’s kick put the hosts ahead, 21-13 with 4:53 to go in the first.
The wild start to the game left both coaches wondering if they would need to get the calculators out in order to tally the final score.
“It was unbelievable,” Jones said of the ‘take your breath away’ opening. “I think I predicted 80-something to 80-something. In that first quarter, I thought that was going to be the case.”
“I thought Scott was going to be right, for a minute, when he said it might be 84-80 the other day,” Neal added.
After being held on downs and forcing a pair of L-E punts, Camden closed the gap to 21-19 with a 50-yard drive in which Council hit all three of his pass attempts for a combined 38 yards. Slater would put the finishing touches on things with a three-yard run into the end zone to make it 21-19 with 3:14 left before half after the Demons turned aside a two-point conversion try.
That was more than enough time for the L-E offense, which took over from its own 46 following the kick. A 16-yard Belton keeper set the ball at the 32. On third and seven from the 29, Jones went to an old Demon standby as Belton flipped a pass to Miller, who stopped in his tracks and sent a perfect toss to a wide-open Myers, after the CHS secondary bit on the first pass. Myers’ touchdown, with 49.8 seconds left before intermission gave L-E a 28-19 lead to carry into the locker room.
“That’s one of our old trick plays and we caught them sleeping,” Jones said of the double pass. “It was a beautiful pass. Derrick did a great job.”
Camden answered the second half bell with a crisp, nine-play scoring march which went for 69 yards. Council was on point with his two pass tries, spotting the 6-foot-5 Truesdale with consecutive strikes of 28 and seven yards to the L-E 28. Slater would go over from three yards out before Semple’s kick made it 28-26 with 8:44 to go in the third.
L-E responded in kind, keeping the ball on the ground and going 57 yards on nine carries, including a three-yard Belton keeper on fourth and two from the CHS 37. Belton went the final 21 yards himself as he followed up his 14-yard run to the seven by recovering his own fumble, on one-hop, for a seven-yard touchdown run which put the Demons on top, 35-26 with 3:43 showing on the third quarter clock.
With the evening getting more humid, Camden’s quick-paced offense would start wearing the L-E defense down in the second half, starting with the ensuing drive.
What may have been the play of the night for the guests came when Council’s third and 27 pass from his own eight, intended for J.D. Wilson was batted into the air. An alert Cook sprinted behind the play and made the shoestring grab at the L-E 47 for a gain of 45 yards to keep the key drive going.
Later, Neal called that the tide-turner for his team.
“Guys were fighting for the ball and people were taking a chance,” he said of the play. “That was all about effort on Cedric’s part. He did an outstanding job.”
Council would later find Truesdale for 14 yards to the L-E 24 on fourth and inches from the 38. On fourth and eight from the 22, Council hit Miller on the aforementioned fly pattern pass for the score which drew the Dogs to within 35-32 and led to the onside kick and later, the recovered fumble.
Turning up the heat on its no-huddle offense, Camden cooked tackle Delton Bradford, who did not play in the second half due to severe cramping after having played both ways in the first half. Also, Cook left the game once due to cramping for the Dogs. On the other sideline, Jones said his team was trying to keep defensive players as fresh as possible.
“That offense really (bothered us),” Jones said of his defense. “We don’t have a lot of depth there. As amatter of fact, near the end of the game, we ran out of defensive linemen. We put some jayvee guys over in there.
“Their offense looked so much better tonight. That week off did them good. God, they’re big up front. They just wore us down at the end.”
Neal said the decision to speed things up on offense was the result of having the bye week to expand the offense.
“Coach (Emet) Reyes, Coach (Daniel) Sisk and Coach (Ron) McKie really did a great job this week in practice with running that thing fast and pushing it,” he said. “We started cramping, a bit, and it started bothering us. It bothered L-E, too; they were tired. Everybody was tired though.
 “The biggest thing was that we didn’t have a turnover and they had one and, that got them.”

Rivalry Ramblings: The CHS student body raised more than $16,000 for the United Way while L-E eclipsed the $11,000 mark. That meant for the first time since the United Way Fund contest entered the football rivalry, the school which won the United Way challenge won the game … L-E’s Quattlebaum is the younger brother of Glenn Quattlebaum, who was Camden’s leading receiver in the 2009 season … Camden ran 76 plays on offense to L-E’s 49. The Demons rushed for 255 yards on 43 carries while the Dogs went for 239 on 42 rushes … The guests threw for 292 yards as compared to L-E’s 29 … Hampton led all rushers with 133 yards on 14 carries while McCaskill was next for L-E with 126 yards on 14 runs. Belton had 89 yards on 15 carries … Council found seven different receivers on the night with Cook leading the way with five catches for 111 yards. Miller had six grabs for 63 yards while Truesdale had what Neal termed his “coming out party” with four grabs for 58 yards from the tight end spot.

 

 

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