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Ball-hawking Dogs take down Demons

CHS turns four turnovers into 27 points in 47-14 win

Posted: August 27, 2018 2:10 p.m.
Updated: August 28, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

L-E DEFENSIVE BACK Ethan Wolfe (14) grabs onto Camden tailback Willis Lane to help bring down the sophomore in first half action from Camden’s 47-14 win over the Demons on Friday night.

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There were worse predicaments which Matt Campbell and Lugoff-Elgin could have found themselves in after a forgettable first 24 minutes of Friday’s game with visiting Camden.

The host Demons played a wretched first half, giving away a pick six and a scoop and score, to their cross-river rivals while spinning their wheels on offense only to see the Bulldogs “only” carrying a 20-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

L-E closed the gap to 34-14 early in the fourth quarter and had the football in CHS territory only to lose another fumble which led to a Bulldog touchdown and, eventually, a 47-14 win for the Dogs in the 39th renewal of the Wateree River Rivalry contested at Lugoff-Elgin Stadium.

Four Demon turnovers directly resulted in 27 Camden points as the visitors improved to 2-0 on the season and scored their 31st victory in the series.

“In the first half,” Campbell said after his team fell to 0-2, “I thought our defense gave us a chance to stay in the game. We gave up two turnovers for 14 points. That’s tough to overcome.”

The L-E offense was unable to keep drives alive in the first half as that group was 0-for-8 on third down.

After a 2017 campaign in which Camden picked off only four passes and recovered seven fumbles in 11 games, second-year Bulldog boss Brian Rimpf made creating turnovers a focal point for his team. With two picks and two fumble recoveries on Friday, CHS already has three of each through two games this season.

“It was great for our defense,” Rimpf said of creating four turnovers on Friday. “That is something that we worked on all spring. We didn’t do a good job of that last year. It’s exciting for us to not only create turnovers but, to score off them. It certainly got our team excited and, it got our fans excited.”

Six different Bulldogs found their way into the end zone with senior tailback Shymeik Corbett scoring on a run and a pass reception while linebacker Brock Dalton scored on a first quarter 25-yard interception return with senior classmate Devin Engram picking up a fumble at the Demons’ 38 and sprinting into the end zone on the ensuing possession to put the guests on top, 20-0, less than eight minutes into a contest which had all the earmarks of a rout.

Camden’s offense, which had 382 yards on 61 snaps, got off to a quick start in taking off at its own 46 after the Demons went three and out to open the game.

A 31-yard flare pass from Bryce Jeffcoat to Corbett set the Dogs up at the L-E 29. On third and eight from the 15, Jeffcoat found Landon Goodwin in the middle of the field with the junior wide out stretching out to the three for a first down. Senior fullback Nathan Gallman did the rest following a two-yard carry with a one-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead after Bennett Caldwell’s kick with 6:41 showing on the first quarter clock.

L-E, which netted 70 yards in offense in the first half, hurt itself with turnovers on consecutive possessions. The first resulted in Dalton’s rambling untouched into the end zone after his interception at the Demons’ 25 for a 13-0 lead with 5:44 left in the opening quarter. Three snaps later, Engram came up from his safety post to grab a loose football which he carried into the end zone from 38 yards out for a 20-0 lead with 4:17 to go in the first.

As was the case in the win over North Central a week earlier, Camden’s offense was its own worst enemy and stopped itself on three separate occasions. An illegal shift negated a five-yard Javaris Holliday carry for a first down at the Demons’ 34. A botched snap on second and eight from the L-E 30 resulted in a loss of 15 yards while a block in the back call turned a first down carry from Willis Lane into a third and 20 at the CHS 31.

Camden was guilty of nine infractions for 55 yards in the first half and was penalized 15 times for 125 yards on the night. By comparison, L-E was flagged five times for 50 yards.

Rimpf said his team needs to become more disciplined after having been penalized 27 times for 230 yards through the season’s first pair of games. Many of the calls have come on the offensive side of the ball.

“It probably didn’t feel as bad as it was because our defense was playing so well,” Rimpf said of the penalties. “They weren’t moving the ball and we were able to get the turnovers from them. 

“We challenged our offense, again, at halftime. They only scored one time in the first half, even though we had 20 points. I’ll tell you what, though, they did a good job in the second half scoring four touchdowns on their own.”

For the second straight week, the CHS defense pitched a first half shutout after carrying a 10-0 lead into intermission a week earlier against North Central.

The Camden offense had a statement series to open the second half.

Taking possession of the kick from their own 15, the Dogs marched 85 yards on 10 plays --- all on the ground --- with the offensive line creating holes for the backs to run through. An 11-yard Willis Lane carry to the L-E 48 was followed by Corbett going for another 11 yards on the counter. Corbett capped the drive when he swept 30 yards over right tackle and into the end zone for the touchdown and a 27-0 lead with 7:35 left in the third quarter.

A stagnant L-E offense came alive in the second half. The Demons were able to get something going in the first half by catching Camden’s defense napping with a tempo scheme run by sophomore quarterback Josh Gary.

Hustling back to the line following each snap, the Demon offense converted on its first third down play when Gary went for four yards to his own 48 on third and one. Facing a fourth and two from the CHS 44, Gary took the snap and went for a gain of three on the seventh consecutive running play of the drive. With CHS playing the run, Gary found wide receiver Jordan Williams, who beat one-on-one coverage, over the middle with a 41-yard scoring strike. Alex Bowers followed with the PAT kick and with 4:39 showing on the third quarter clock, the Demons dented the scoreboard and trailed, 27-7.

“They were not getting lined up in a hurry and we wanted to go tempo,” Campbell said of quickening the pace on offense. “We thought we might be able to catch them coming off the ball. We were doing that we do. We were executing two out of every three plays but, that one play was killing our drives.”

Camden came back on the ensuing possession by putting together an eight-play, 80 yard scoring drive which included Corbett sweeping left for 23 yards to the L-E 42 on the third play. A 13-yard Corbett carry to the 21 set up a second and two from there before Jeffcoat found Corbett at the five with a pass which Corbett took into the end zone for his second touchdown in as many offensive series as the CHS lead grew to 34-7 with 2:15 remaining in the third.

“They did a great job running the counter in the second half. It was tough to stop,” Campbell said of the Camden’s offense. 

“We felt like we had some advantages in the middle,” Rimpf said of his team’s success in running between the tackles. “They were out-leveraging us on the outside and we felt there were opportunities in the middle. We also felt we have the guys to run that with. We have some big guys on the offensive line and with our running backs and Bryce (Jeffcoat) checking us to the right place, the offense did a good job. You can’t score four (second half) touchdowns without them executing like they did.”

Sticking with their high-energy offense the Demons answered Camden’s second touchdown of the second half with their second touchdown in as many possessions.

A pass interference call on the second snap gave the hosts a first and four from their own 29. Gary then found senior wide out Caleb McDonald, who climbed the ladder to come up and down with a nine-yard reception for a first down at the 38. Sophomore tailback Tyler Dixon later followed a seven-yard carry with one of 10 yards to the CHS 43. A personal foul call against Camden would give L-E a first down at the Bulldogs’ 32.

Gary picked up another first down by going for 12 yards on a keeper to the 12. Senior tailback Randall Brown got the call on three of the final four snaps in the 12-play march and crashed over from the one for the score which made it 34-14 with 10:53 to play.

The Demons gained further momentum when Bowers’ high chopper of an onsides kick was grabbed by teammate Jasper Tucker at the Camden 46. The energy was stunted when Engram recovered a fumble at his own 43 with 10:12 remaining in the contest.

Staying on the ground, Camden traveled 57 yards in nine plays with Lane going the final 24 yards on a scoring carry in which he burst through a tackle at the 20 before the sophomore sprinted into the end zone with his second touchdown run of the season.

Camden’s second interception of the game came when Rasheed Sutton picked off a tipped pass at the 50, returned it nine yards before a personal foul call at the end of the play allowed another 15 yards to be backed onto it.

On third and 14 from the 31, Jeffcoat sent a scoring pass to Goodwin as Camden did some window dressing to take a 47-14 lead with 4:27 left in the contest.

After being stymied in the first half, the L-E offense played better in the second 24 minutes and finished with 215 yards on the night with 145 of those coming in the second half. Gary passed for 55 yards with a touchdown while also rushing for 33 yards on 11 carries.

Campbell said his team, which has allowed 100 points in the season’s first set of games, played better after the break but said more work must be put in by a young squad.

“We had bright spots, here and there, but we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. 

Camden, which is 2-0 for the second time since 2016, hosts Hartsville, which defeated South Florence, 31-12, in its opener on Friday. Rimpf said before the Bulldogs can look ahead to facing another rival, they will relish their first pair of wins.

“Our first team goal was to be county champions; that we something that we could control and we accomplished one goal,” he said. “Now, it’s on to the next one. Obviously, our next four non-region opponents are all good teams and are all schools that are bigger than us.

“We’ll see how special this group is. We have 27 seniors who have played well together and we’re looking forward to this team continuing to play well.”

 

Game Notes: With the game being broadcast live as WACH Fox TV’s Sonic Rivals Game of the Week, the pace was slowed due to the numerous TV timeouts . With 6:23 left in the game and after the clock had already struck 10, one of the officials half-jokingly asked the woman who came on the field to let the officials know when it was all right to put the ball in play if they could play the remainder of the game without a commercial time out … The 47 points scored by Camden were the third most in the history of the series. Camden’s 50-0 win in 1990 remains the most ever scored by the winning team in the rivalry … Individually, Corbett led Camden on the ground --- with 117 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown --- and in the air, hauling in four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Lane was next for the Dogs with 74 yards on eight carries and a touchdown run … Jeffcoat clicked on eight of his 14 pass attempts for 114 yards with two touchdown tosses … The Demons were led by Brown, who rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries with Dixon going for 55 on 11 hauls … Williams had one catch for a 41-yard touchdown while Gary was 6-for-17 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 11 times for 33 of L-E’s 160 yards on the ground … Camden won the first down battle, 20-10, and was six-for-11 on third down conversions while L-E made good on five of its 14 third down calls … Camden clicked on both its fourth down attempts while the Demons were 0-for-3.

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