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Redhawks take a bite out of Dogs, 27-13

Posted: October 26, 2013 12:55 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2013 5:00 a.m.

BLYTHEWOOD – It was as if Westwood stole the sheet music which Camden was playing off of in the first half, leaving the Bulldogs out of tune in the second 24 minutes of Friday’s Region 4-AAA pairing at Richland District 2 Stadium.
For the first two quarters, Camden was hitting the high notes in carrying a 13-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. Things would go sour in a second half in which the Redhawks scored the final 20 points of the night in taking a 27-13 victory.
With the win, Lugoff-Elgin grad Rodney Summers led the soon-to-be 4A entry to their first AAA state playoff berth. The second-year Redhawk program improved to 3-1 in conference action and 6-3 overall. For Camden, barring some wild scenario, the Dogs (5-4) will be out of the post-season for the third straight year after losing their third consecutive game to fall to 1-3 in league play with conference champion Chapin coming to Zemp Stadium on Friday to close the season.
The visiting Dogs rang up 183 yards in offense on 34 first half snaps. After the break, Camden was held to 51 yards on 26 plays. Conversely, WHS piled up 189 of its 327 yards in offense in a second half in which it ran 37 snaps.
The bottom line, said Camden head coach Jimmy Neal, was that his defense was on the field too long in the third and fourth quarters. Part of the reason why the defense saw long stretches of action was that the CHS offense turned the ball over on five occasions with three fumbles and a pair of interceptions.
“We didn’t get first downs like we need to,” Neal said. “If we get first downs, we’re usually pretty good; we get things moving. We just had way too many mistakes. I don’t know why we didn’t protect the ball. The guys are trying, but we didn’t protect the ball like we’re supposed to do.”
Camden’s defense managed to hold WHS tailback Christian Brown to 106 yards on 24 carries. The senior had rushed for 500 yards in his previous two games, including a 298-yard, three touchdown night against A.C. Flora a week earlier.
Neal said he was proud of the effort which his defense turned in against a high-flying Redhawk attack.
“I thought our defense did a great job,” he said. “With all the turnovers and mistakes were made, they had to keep going back on the field and, they battled the whole night for us.”
The Redhawks, which have shown a propensity to keep the ball on the ground in spite of having tall wide outs, opened the scoring by going to the air on the game’s first series. Senior quarterback Chris Patterson hit wide receiver Vyncint Smith with passes of 12 and 26 yards, the latter setting up a first down at the Camden 23. On what would be the fourth and final snap of the 66-yard drive, Patterson sent a behind the line pass to Smith who made the grab, stopped and lofted a strike to a wide-open Adonus Lee in the end zone as the Bulldog secondary bit on the first leg of the double pass.
Brandon Howard tacked on the kick and 72 seconds into the contest, the hosts were off and, seemingly, running with a 7-0 lead.
Camden’s defense was forced back on the field when the Dogs fumbled away their first snap at their own 29. The defense allowed one yard in four plays to give the ball back to the offense at the 30.
WHS, though, was not mistake-free as a Brown fumble at his own 30 was recovered by CHS end Jace Stukes with 5:28 showing on the first quarter clock.
Staying on the ground with Brandon Hampton and Kendrice Slater alternating carries, the Dogs would cash in on their third possession after their second ended with an incompletion on fourth and 10 from the Westwood 25.
This time, a Slater second down carry went for 11 yards and a first down at the 12. On third and three from the five, Hampton got lost in the middle of a pile in the center of the field, only to appear in the end zone, confusing the officials who did not know who had the ball or where Hampton was until he made his way to the referee to hand the football over to him. Jordan Woody tacked on the PAT and this game was even at seven with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
Camden did its damage on the ground in this game, rushing for 158 yards. Neal said his offensive coaches thought they might have something for the WHS defense by going over land.
“We just stayed after it by running, running and running the ball,” Neal said of the game plan. “Our guys were hitting the holes and doing what they were supposed to and, our line was blocking and kind of wearing their defense down.
“They were doing a lot of slanting and stunting on defense and our guys were picking them up. We wanted to go right at them … stick it to them and get after them. That worked pretty well there.”
The Bulldogs’ punt team suffered another problem as for the third straight week, a blocked punt set the opposition up deep inside Camden territory. This time, the Redhawks took over at the CHS 22 with a blocked punt with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
Again, the Dogs’ defense held and forced a 33-yard field goal try from Howard which was blocked by Welton Cauthen. It was Camden’s fourth straight game in which it had blocked a field goal and/or an extra point attempt.
Camden would return the favor, however, losing a fumble after having traveled from its 25 to the Westwood 26. The second Bulldog turnover of the half gave the Redhawks the ball at their own 15. But the Hawks were not immune from the turnover bug as Brown coughed up the ball three plays later with CHS tackle Delton Bradford coming away with the loose ball at the Westwood 42.
That scoring chance went by the board one play later when Westwood’s Whitney McLeod picked off a pass at his own 23 as the two sides traded miscue after miscue.
Getting another three and out, the Camden offense was able to put together its second and final scoring drive which opened from the WHS 31 after Tyrel Smith partially block a Howard punt.
Staying on the ground, the Dogs received an 11-yard carry from Hampton on first down. Hampton’s biggest play on the drive came when quarterback Denzel Martin fumbled the snap on first and goal from the 10. Hampton scooped the ball up and took it to the one. The senior tailback did the honors from there with a one-yard plunge to give the Dogs a 13-7 lead with 2:37 left before intermission.
Westwood’s response to the touchdown was to go 59 yards on nine snaps, including getting a 15-yard personal foul call, as Howard knocked home a 23-yard field goal with six ticks left in the second quarter clock as Camden’s halftime lead was chopped to 13-10.
During the break, the Redhawks decided to go with a three-man defensive front and not take as many chances on that side of the football. But it was an exhausting 14-play, 67-yard scoring drive, after an exchange of punts which opened the second half, which gave the momentum to the hosts.
Brown, who left the game with an injury in the second quarter, came back with a vengeance on this series as he got the call 11 times and went for 58 yards, including the final four as the hosts took the lead for keeps at 17-13 with 43 seconds left in the third. The march lasted nearly six minutes.
“That was a good drive on their part,” Neal said of a series which was punctuated by short runs. “They had to earn everything they got because our defense just fought and fought.”
An Anthony Douglas interception on Camden’s next series at the CHS 49 led to a 32-yard Howard field goal and a 20-13 Redhawk lead with 9:35 left in the game.
Camden’s fifth turnover, a lost fumble at its own 34, put the WHS offense in prime field position and the hosts capitalized on it in a series which opened with a 28-yard Patterson-to-Smith pass and closed four plays later when Patterson found Lee in the back middle of the end zone with a scoring strike to make it 27-13 with 7:51 left.
The Dogs’ final hurrah ended with a punt on fourth and 12 from the own 43 on a drive which included one of six fumbles on the night being recovered by the visitors.
Neal said he did not notice much change as to what the Redhawks did on offense in the second half other than being more selective with their play-calling.
“I don’t think there was any difference other than their being a little more patient and they didn’t make mistakes,” he said. “A couple times, we fell asleep out there when they were running the ball for several plays and then, they would hit us with a pass.
“It wasn’t anything that we weren’t prepared for. I thought our defensive coaches had a great plan going into this game … I thought our offensive coaches had a great game plan. I thought it was a great plan by our coaches on both sides of the ball. Those guys did a great job.”

Bulldog Bites: Slater led the Bulldogs with 93 yards on 18 carries. The junior needs 115 yards in Friday’s game with Chapin to go over 1,000 yards for the season … Hampton was next with 62 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while Martin completed half of his 18 pass attempts for 76 yards … There will not be a winless team in Region 4-AAA after three-time conference champion A.C. Flora broke into the victory column for the first time in a big way with a 58-8 win over Lower Richland on Friday … Working the box (displaying the down) on the chain crew at Westwood on Friday was former Camden offensive lineman Greg Watts, who works the chains at both stadiums in Blythewood, where he and his family now reside. Watts played for Billy Ammons’ Bulldogs in the early 1990s … The game was halted temporarily was an official was injured in the first quarter and another official, who was injured before the game was pressed into duty and changed into his uniform.

 

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