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Dogs trade win in for injuries

Morrow goes down as CHS goes to 5-0 with 33-14 victory

Posted: September 27, 2010 9:33 a.m.
Updated: September 27, 2010 9:23 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

Camden nose guard Jerel Robinson (73) tracks down AJ quarterback Darrian Henderson after having flushed him from the pocket in the second half of Friday night's CHS win in Kershaw.

KERSHAW -- More injuries, another win.

In both instances, you won’t hear Camden head coach Jimmy Neal whining and/or complaining.

On a night in which Neal’s Bulldogs had more unhappy returns than a disgruntled Christmas shopper, eight-ranked Camden ran the table in non-region play with a 33-14 dismantling of homestanding Andrew Jackson on Friday.

In the process, CHS (5-0) lost starting quarterback Dillon Morrow with an injured right foot midway through the second quarter. Later, in the fourth quarter, leading rusher Jo Jo Brevard was sitting on a table with a large bag of ice wrapped to his ankle. Throw in the fact that the guests had three scores whistled back by penalties, had a pair of red zone turnovers, dropped a pair of would-be interceptions, while surviving a 51-pass night from the Volunteers (2-3) and it was not the prettiest of games for the Dogs.

The numbers, however, were there.

Camden piled up 428 yards in offense, in spite of having 125s yards of scoring plays called back. Before leaving the game, Morrow was 7-of-15 passing for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His replacement, Josh Council, brought a new dimension to the offense with the option game. The sophomore had four carries for 99 yards, including a 71-yard scoring dash.

While probably doing enough to stay eighth, if not move up a notch or two in this week’s AAA state poll, this win left Neal scratching his head, a bit. Even though this game came on the heels of a victory over rival Lugoff-Elgin, Neal said his team needs to take things up a notch with Friday’s trip to Crestwood opening the Region 6-AAA campaign. He said the choice is up to his players.

“We’ll talk about it Monday, when we meet with our guys, and see if we want to play like we’re capable of playing or not play the way we’re capable of playing,” he said. “We’ll find out what they want to do.

“We’ll do it either way. We can play football for fun and nothing but fun and play around all the time or, we can be serious about our assignments, go out there and try to learn what we’re doing, concentrate, listen to the coaches and get better. Those are our two choices.”

Playing in a much more sedate environment than a week earlier, Camden was hit quickly as, on the fourth snap of the game, 5-foot8, AJ quarterback Darrian Henderson made himself even smaller in getting lost in a mass of bodies. By the time the Bulldogs thought they had tackled the man whom they thought had the ball, Henderson had crept through the debris and sprinted home, all by his lonesome, for a 68-yard scoring run. Tyler Denkins tacked on the kick and with 10:17 showing on the first quarter clock. The hosts stunned the Dogs, many of whom came off the field thinking the first down play had been whistled dead.

“(Henderson) just got lost in there,” Neal said of the slow-developing quarterback keeper. “It’s happened before, but it sure is frustrating when it happens to you. I think that’s the first time something like that has happened to any team that I’ve been a part of, but it happens. It was a dadgum mess out there and, the next thing you know, he’s out.”

CHS wasted little time in answering the opening salvo as on its first possession, Morrow found Alvonta` Jenkins with a pretty fly pattern pass which went for a 66-yard touchdown on a third and eight call. The score was Jenkins’ sixth of the year. Ethan Smith then booted home the game-tying PAT kick and with 8:54 left in the first stanza, this game looked as if it might turn into a track meet.

AJ was stopped on two fourth down plays inside its own 40 in the first quarter. The first unsuccessful attempt came on its second possession when Henderson missed his target on fourth and two from his own 33.

After Morrow found DaVante` Hayes for 19 yards on second down, Brevard scored on the next play when the junior tailback broke a tackle along the line of scrimmage and sprinted into the end zone with his sixth touchdown of the season. Smith’s kick made it a 14-7 game with 7:09 left in the first.

Camden failed to cash in on a Tayler Workman interception at the CHS 38 as both offenses started finding the going tough both in the air and on the ground.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” Neal said, “their defensive front gave us fits. We couldn’t block them. They really played well, but it was probably a poor job on my part of prepping our guys this week. But they still did a great job of getting after us.”

Carrying that seven-point cushion into the second quarter, CHS went up by a pair of touchdowns early in the second quarter, taking over at the AJ 30 after a 13-yard punt return by Hayes. On third and nine from the 29, Hayes finished the three-play drive, as he came across the field from his wide receiver slot, grabbed a Morrow pass a few yards from the line of scrimmage and dashed down the left sideline into the end zone for a 21-7 lead with 9:13 to play in the first half.

As soon as the momentum got behind the Dogs, it left as a muffed Denkins punt was recovered by AJ’s David Holt at the Camden 28. On second down from that spot, a blown coverage allowed a scrambling Henderson to find a wide-open Quincy Grier for a 28-yard score. And with 7:52 remaining before the break, AJ closed the gap to 21-14.

Things looked even worse for the Dogs, two snaps later, went Morrow went down after injuring the top of  his right foot as Council was called into duty in a half in which AJ avoided further damage when Henderson picked off a third down pass at his own four with 30 ticks left in the first half clock.

Camden had two golden opportunities to put this one well out of reach in the opening two-plus minutes of the second half.

Denkins’ pooch-kick opened the third quarter and the “jump ball” was grabbed by CHS up man Steven Reid, who out-wrestled a Volunteer for the football. Rather than calling for a fair catch, the linebacker tight-roped his way down the home team sideline for 57 yards, before stepping out of bounds at the two. A botched snap killed that chance as the Vols recovered at their own four.

“In Josh’s defense,” Neal said of the play, “that’s probably the first snap from under center in a competitive situation that he’s ever taken. It happens. It kind of snuck up on him.”

With that chance gone by the boards, Workman’s scooping, second pick of a Henderson pass --- this one which bounced off the hands of his target and a CHS defender --- gave the guests the ball at the AJ 23.

The first CHS score to be called back came when Brevard’s 16-yard jaunt was negated by a holding infraction. Two plays later, on fourth and 13 from the 26, Council hooked up with Jenkins for what appeared to be a 26-yard scoring pass. But this apparent score came back due to an illegal formation penalty as the Dogs had nothing to show for two trips inside the AJ 16.

Not being able to get things going from close range, Council used his legs for the long-range score. This time, the 6-footer faked the give to Brevard and sprinted through the AJ defense, which was unable to make up any ground as he went for his first touchdown on a 71-yard scoring sprint which gave the visitors a 27-14 lead with 5:55 to play in the third.

In addition to his 99 yards rushing, Council also threw for 41 yards in a relief role.

“I thought Josh played very, very well. He did a good job, like we knew he would,” Neal said, matter-of-factly. “There was no doubt in my mind that Josh would do well. I thought he threw the ball well and that he ran the ball well.”

Camden put this one away after a short Denkins punt set them up at the AJ 49 with 5:29 left in the third.

It took nine plays, eight running with Council tearing off runs of 14 and 15 yards, for CHS to find the end zone. This time, it was Brevard doing the honors from three yards away with 2:38 left in the third.

Content to run the ball with backups in the backfield, Neal watched as AJ brought another defender to the front line, knowing the Dogs were trying to eat the clock. On first and 10 from their own 17, with 8:29 remaining in the contest, the Bulldogs called a shovel pass from Council to Hayes. The play worked to perfection as the 210-pound Hayes jetted into the end zone for what looked to be the longest play from scrimmage of the season. But as he appeared to be on the other side of midfield, a flag dropped as CHS was called for another holding penalty, one which Neal argued, but to no avail.

Later, the Bulldog boss said he did not want to put the ball in the air, but had to in order to protect his quarterback.

“We had to find something to do,” he said of his hand being forced to loosen the AJ defense with the pass. “They ended up coming in with a five-man front with that end and trying to stop us. You feel funny throwing passes there, but when they have all those people in there, you have to do something or your guy is going to take a beating if you don’t. But, I do I think we blocked better in the second half.”

Camden’s 33-point total could well have registered 50 or better had it not been for miscues in execution and penalties. Neal said he was not concerned about window-dressing a win with points, but was, obviously, not pleased with the infractions.

“I don’t care about if we could have score 50 or 60 points,” he said in answer to the question of the score looking closer than the game was itself. “I’m disappointed that we had those penalties and that we didn’t keep our hands in.

“The last three games, we’ve only averaged two or three penalties a game. Tonight, we must have had about a dozen. That was very frustrating.”

Neal said he was unsure as to the health of both Morrow and Brevard, saying only that they “would be gimpy” if they were able to play against Crestwood. And, at the halfway point of the season, Neal challenged his team as they prepared to play the game which will decide their fate.

“You have to feel good about being 5-0. The question is, ‘Can we get this thing going, again?’” he said. “We need to feel better about ourselves.”

Bulldog Bites: CHS was penalized seven times for 53 yards, but had 125 yards negated on the three scores which were called back … Due to the 8 p.m. kickoff, this game did not end until after 10:30 p.m. … Brevard ran for 68 yards on 17 carries. His backup, senior Brandon Louden had a career-best 82 yards on eight fourth quarter carries with carries of 20 and 21 yards in helping the Dogs to 253 yards on 39 carries … Buoyed by Henderson’s 68-yard scoring run, AJ rushed for 107 yards on just 18 carries. The Vols threw the ball 51 times, completing 17 for 186 yards. Most of the patterns were stop routes in the middle of the field … Three of Camden’s five scoring drives were of three plays with another just two and the last one, a nine-play march.

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