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Hartsville takes down Dogs, 35-21

Posted: September 4, 2018 8:33 a.m.
Updated: September 4, 2018 8:33 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

CAMDEN TAILBACK WILLIS LANE extends his arm to try and fend off Hartsville defensive back Zay Peterson in first quarter action from Friday's game at Zemp Stadium.

What type of graduation present do you get for someone who has done nothing but cause you heartache, aggravation and grief for all of their four years of high school?

Camden will have some nine months to ponder that question as to what would be the perfect going-away and, stay away present for Hartsville’s Tiyon Evans.

After not having practiced all summer and the preseason while missing the first game of the 2018 season due to a collarbone injury sustained in last May’s spring game, the Red Fox senior was cleared to practice late Wednesday afternoon. A little more than 48 hours later, the 5-foot-10, 210-pound tailback-turned-quarterback gave Camden something to remember him by as he passed for 148 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another 115 with two scores in leading the state’s top-ranked 4A entry to a 35-21 win over the host Bulldogs at Zemp Stadium.

The loss was the first in three outings for Camden which made its first appearance in the AAA state rankings --- ninth --- in nearly a decade.

Early in the week, Camden was under the assumption that Evans would probably be sitting out his second straight game. By Friday, word had leaked that Evans would be on the field for a few offensive series. Instead, he took all 39 snaps from behind center. His two trips into the end zone were the 12th and 13th he had made in four games against Camden.

“We didn’t know,” said second-year CHS head coach Brian Rimpf when asked whether his team had any concrete information as to Evans’ availability on Friday, one way or the other. “In high school, you don’t have injury reports. We were betting on him playing. We wanted to play the best Hartsville team we could play and with him, they certainly were. He’s a good player.”

In defeating Camden for the 10th time since taking over the Red Fox helm in 2009, Jeff Calabrese said he was in the dark as to when he might get Evans back. When he got the news on Wednesday, he was as surprised as anybody.

“We found out Wednesday after practice. He hasn’t been practicing a lot,” Calabrese said. “He’s kind of been rehabbing off to the side but the doctor said everything, the X-ray and everything, looked great. We kind of made the decision to go ahead and play him tonight, through mistakes and issues.

“The kid played a tremendously well tonight. We didn’t plan on playing him the whole game but he felt good and he wanted to keep going.”

Camden, which has taken more than its share of shellackings at the hands of the Red Foxes since Calabrese took over for Lewis Lineberger, was threatening to snap a nine-year skid versus the visitors only for HHS sophomore linebacker picked up a Camden fumble at the Red Fox eight and ramble 92 yards for the scoop and score which put the guests on top by three scores, at 35-14, with 4:35 left in the game. The 14-point swing was one of two key junctures in this game.

Midway through the second quarter, Camden drove from its 20 to a first and goal at the Hartsville five, with a 39-yard Bryce Jeffcoat to Landon Goodwin flare pass going for a first down at the Red Fox 31.

An 11-yard Jeffcoat to Shymeik Corbett jet sweep pass had another five yards tacked onto it by a horse collar tackle to set the ball at the five. On third and goal from the one, the Dogs went to their “rhino” package which has senior defending end Javaris Holliday (6-3, 280) taking the direct snap from center only for the Red Foxes to snuff that play out at the line of scrimmage when the visitors’ defense stopped Deldrik Jones for a loss of one at the two to preserve their 14-7 lead, it left Evans and the offense 3:52 and 98 yards of real estate in front of them.

A pair of 18-yard Evans runs got the Foxes out of the hole. A 19-yard Evans to Jaivon Hough set the ball at midfield from which point Evans found J.D. Pendergrass along the line of scrimmage with a screen pass which Pendergrass took torwd the seam before bouncing outside and sailing into the end zone for the touchdown and a 21-7 HHS lead with 33 ticks left in the first half clock.

Again, the Foxes turned what looked to be a golden scoring opportunity into points for themselves.

“For the most part,” Rimpf said, “our guys really played well except for the (fourth quarter) fumble and our not scoring (in the first half.) You take those two out, it’s a different ballgame but, you can’t take those two scores out. You have to play the entire football game.

“(Hartsville) is a good football team. I think that we can be that way, too. We just didn’t have what it took in a close game.”

Calabrese concurred with Rimpf in saying “Camden is going to win a lot of games this year” before addressing the final four-plus minutes of the first half starting with his defense’s goal line stand.

“That was a big-time drive and a big play,” he said of the late-half scoring play. “It’s funny because that was probably the first time the screen has worked for us in the past 18 years but, it came at the right time.”

Camden opened the scoring with an exhausting 16-play, 59-yard drive which came after Corbett returned the opening kickoff to his own 41.

The Dogs chipped away with the ground game and used a 10- and 11-yard pass from Jeffcoat to Goodwin and Jones, respectively, with the latter going for a first down at the HHS 24. Jeffcoat, who was 14-for-23 with three scoring passes and a career-best 258 yards, capped the drive by finding a falling Mikah Davis in the middle of the end zone with a 10-yard, third and seven pass for a 7-0 lead with 3:17 left in the opening stanza.

Hartsville needed one-quarter of that drive to go 73 yards on five plays with Evans spotting Hough in the seam with a 55-yard pass to the CHS 27. Three snaps later, Evans called his own number and bounced around right end for the 16-yard equalizer which came with 63 seconds left in the first quarter.

Evans struck again after the only CHS punt of the night as the Foxes set up shop at their own 43. An illegal shift on a 43-yard Montrez Williams carry pushed the guests back to their own territory. Evans would later break off a 23-yard run to the Bulldogs’ 33. He would go the final 18 yards on his own as he broke through tackles on a first down carry which ended him scoring for the 13th time against Camden to give the Red Foxes the 14-7 advantage with 7:14 to play before intermission.

Camden was ready to answer as Jeffcoat completed all three of his passes on the ensuing drive for a combined 50 yards with the 11-yard jet sweep to Corbett giving the Dogs a first and goal from the five on what became an ill-fated drive which left the hosts staring down a 21-7 deficit at halftime after the 50-yard Evans to Pendergrass scoring pass.

Camden’s defense came up big in starting the second half by getting the Red Foxes off the field on the opening series as Evans was stacked up at the Bulldogs’ 30 after a gain of two on a fourth and sixth call.

The Bulldogs put together an extended drive --- marching from their 30 to the Hartsville 30 --- only to come away with nothing to show for it after Jeffcoat and Goodwin were unable connect on a fourth and seven pass as Hartsville’s Owen Taylor was draped on the Camden junior wide out.

It was the second consecutive series in which the CHS offense got into a rhythm only to come away with nothing to show for it. This was in stark contrast to games one and two when the Dogs cashed in on those chances.

“We can be good between the 30 and 30 but, once we get into the red zone, we have to get in the end zone,” Rimpf said. “That’s something we have done all season. We have to do better at that and, we’re going to work on it going forward.”

Hartsville had no such problem getting into the end zone after taking over on downs at its own 30. A 22-yard Bishop Collins second down run to the Camden 47 turned into 34-yard Evans scoring run as he swept right end for the touchdown and a 28-7 lead with 37 ticks left in the third quarter clock.

Camden closed the gap to a manageable 14-point deficit when it needed just three snaps and 95 seconds to travel 80 yards. The final 78 of those came on Jeffcoat flipping the ball to Corbett on a middle screen in which the senior tailback left a series of HHS defenders in his wake as with 10:25 to play, the Dogs climbed back to within 28-14.

Forcing a Hartsville punt, Camden took over at the Red Fox 30 with 7:19 left in the game. Corbett went for 11 yards on a double-reverse on the first play. On first and goal from the seven, the aforementioned fumble and Carroway’s scoop and score provided the guests with some breathing room.

Not ready to call it quits after the disappointing way in which their previous drive ended, the Bulldogs came right back with a five-play, 79-yard scoring drive. On third and a pair from the Camden 29, Jeffcoat and Corbett hooked up for a gain of 26 yards to the HHS 45. On second and 10 from that spot, Jeffcoat dropped back and spotted Davis over the middle of the field with the junior tailback splitting defenders and sprinting into the end zone to cut the Red Fox lead to its final 35-21 spread with 3:01 remaining in the contest.

Playing what will probably be the quickest team it will face in the regular season, Rimpf said his players were able to flash speed of their own against the Red Foxes.

“We had our shares of explosive plays tonight, also,” he said. “We got to showcase some of our speed. Shymeik Corbett is one of the fastest guys around and so if Mikah Davis. They were both able to break away from a really fast Hartsville defense.

“We’re going to have to have big plays this year on offense. You can’t count on having 10- to 15-play drives, consistently ... too many things go wrong. We have to have that big play and I’m glad that we had a couple tonight.”

Camden had a dozen of its 64 plays on offense go for 110 or more yards while the Red Foxes, who passed for 148 yards and rushed for another 242 for 390 yards, had 11 of its 37 offensive plays going into the double-digit category in this 92nd edition of a series which started 96 yards ago.

“It was a great game,” Calabrese said. “It certainly lived up to the Hartsville-Camden rivalry.”

Rimpf, whose team will play a non-traditional rival opponent for the first time this year when the Dogs travel to Fort Mill on Friday, said his team can and will move forward after going toe-to-toe with the state’s top 4A entry.

“I kind of challenged our guys,” Rimpf said. “I told them this was a game between two good teams and whenever it’s a close game, one play matters; the fumble return for a touchdown and the fourth and goal from the two. At the end of the game, those plays matter because nobody could really separate itself from the other team.

“There were other plays that happened throughout the game where we missed some tackles on some of their long runs where we can get better at doing. In close games, you have to be really good every single play. We weren’t that tonight.”

Bulldog Bites: Among those taking in Friday’s game was former Camden and Appalachian State standout Richie Williams who, in 2000, quarterbacked the Bulldogs to the AAA Lower State championship game and then, at ASU led the Mountaineers to the program’s first FCS national championship in 2005. Now a member of the pit crew for NASCAR Sprint Series driver Chris Buescher, who was driving in Sunday’s Southern 500 in  Darlington, Williams was in the stands watching his nephew, CHS sophomore wide out/backup quarterback Jaffari Pearson who was playing in his first varsity game and had one catch for 10 yards ... Jones led the Dogs with 15 carries for 40 yards ... Jeffcoat’s favorite target was Goodwin who had four catches for 56 yards but Corbett led the way, yardage-wise, with two grabs for 104 yards ... No pass-catcher was more productive than was Davis whose two catches went for 55 yards and two touchdowns ... After having committed 27 penalties for 230 yards in the first two games, Camden was flagged twice for five yards on Friday ... The Bulldogs had been batting .600 on third down conversions coming into the game and did not hurt themselves in game three, converting on nine of 12 third down situations. Hartsville was 0-for-2 on third down and was stopped on its lone fourth down attempt of the game.

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