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Dogs look to pick up where they left off after unexpected bye week

Posted: September 20, 2018 11:26 a.m.
Updated: September 21, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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BLAKE DALTON ... 35 tackles leads Dogs

It was hardly business as usual for Camden last week.

From Monday through Wednesday, the Bulldogs prepared for their scheduled home game with West Florence while keeping an eye toward the sky to see what Hurricane Florence might be up to while casting the other toward the computer to see if there would, in fact, be a football game on Friday.

When the Florence School District cancelled classes for the remainder of the week last Wednesday, Camden knew it would have an unscheduled bye week. When the Kershaw County School District cancelled classes for last Friday and mandated that no after school activities could be held on Thursday, it led to the Bulldog coaches going into Richland Northeast mode.

Tonight, Camden returns to the field, two weeks after a 28-16 win over Fort Mill, for its final scheduled non-region game against RNE in a game which will be played at Harry Parone Stadium at Spring Valley High School. For second-year CHS head coach Brian Rimpf, it will be a welcome return to playing on Friday night.

“We kind of treated last week like a bye week,” Rimpf said. “The first part of the week, we prepared for West Florence then, gave them Thursday and Friday off to, hopefully, recuperate from our first four games of the season. 

“We came back to work this week --- we didn’t know what the High School League (HSL) was going to say (about postponed games being made up) or, any of those things --- and prepared for the schedule that we already had.”

Due to the damage inflicted by Florence and with some schools out most of last week and some on the coast having part of it not all this week off, the HSL decided to add another week to the season to make up postponed games. That backed the first round of the playoffs to Nov. 9 as teams and regions scrambled to see what other avenues are available to them in order to not have so much time between the end of the regular season --- scheduled for Oct. 26 --- to the start of the postseason.

Camden will meet West Florence in the regular season finale --- a non-region pairing --- on Friday, Nov. 2 at Zemp Stadium.

After tonight’s game, Camden has its scheduled bye week next Friday before Fairfield Central comes to town on Oct. 6 to kick off the four-game Region 4-AAA slate.

“As far as next week being the bye week,” Rimpf said, “we’ll use it to get healthy for the start of region play.”

Rimpf said having last week off allowed some of his players who were nursing injuries time off. For the most part, however, he said his squad had gotten into a routine of practicing and the uncertainty with the weather interrupted that.

In their last game, the Dogs turned the ball over a season-worst four times --- two on fumbles along with a muffed punt and in interception --- in the 12-point road win over Fort Mill. Rimpf said practice this week has focused on holding onto the football on offense and getting more pressure on RNE quarterback Josh Boyd, who threw for three touchdowns in the Cavalier’s 21-20 win over Crestwood in game three.

“Going back to the Fort Mill game,” Rimpf said of what he and his staff wanted to accomplish on the practice field, “we wanted to improve on several things from that game that we feel we didn’t do well with one of those being turnovers on offense. On defense, we want to get more of a pass rush and play better in the passing game.

“Those are things we wanted to work on going into the Richland Northeast game. They do both of those things well. They create turnovers and they throw the ball well.”

Boyd, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior, directs an offense which was blanked in games against unbeaten 5A entry River Bluff (28-0) and then by neighboring  5A rival Spring Valley (43-0). Rimpf said the Cavs have enough good athletes to throw a scare into his team’s defense.

“They have some pretty good athletes and their tight end, (6-foot-3, 185-pound LaBruce English) is probably one of the better players at that position that we are going to see this season and their running backs are pretty quick.

“They run a spread offense with two, three or four wide receiver sets. They are going to run the zone (read) and they try to get the ball downfield and make you have to respect that.”

The Cavs’ defense has allowed opponents to score better than 30 points per game after three contests. The hosts are expected to line up in a three-man front and bring pressure from the linebackers’ post on to give the allusion of having a four-man look.

“They’ll bring a backer every single play on the run-blitz so that there are four players rushing. They will roll their safeties down, sometimes, especially if you are running the ball effectively against them.

“They have good athletes on defense. They run and tackle pretty well. In a couple of the games they played, they’ve given up a number of points but, a lot of those weren’t on big plays. Teams drove the ball on them and kept on picking up first down after first down.”

Over the past two games, the CHS offense has done a good job of sustaining and finishing drives. In a 35-21 loss to Hartsville, the Dogs had a 15-play, eight and a half-minute scoring drive. In Fort Mill, Camden had a pair of 15-play scoring marches to go along with one of 96 yards --- accomplished in just three snaps --- along with one of eight plays and 74 yards.

Rimpf said he hopes the Camden team he sees tonight will be similar to that which he said in 10 of the first 12 quarters of the season. 

“We’ve done a real good job of controlling the ball on offense and getting first downs all season,” Rimpf said. “We want that and we want getting the big play, like we did against Fort Mill, to keep on happening for us all season.

“We just want our guys to play like they did the first couple weeks of the season and, in the second half against Hartsville. They were flying around, making plays and creating turnovers. Those are things we hadn’t done as well here lately as we did at the beginning of the season.”

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