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Dogs chase Bobcats from postseason in 52-10 romp

Posted: November 12, 2018 3:02 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

WILLIS LANE RAN FOR TWO touchdowns in Camden’s 52-10 win over Seneca in Friday’s first round AAA Upper State playoff game.

For its three-plus hour trek to Seneca for last Friday’s AAA Upper State playoff opener, Camden packed as much gear as would fit in the bus. The Bulldogs also brought plenty of intangibles to the Upstate  along with them.

The result was a 52-10 blowout of the host Bobcats, snapping a nine-year CHS playoff drought while advancing to this Friday’s second round pairing at defending AAA Upper State champion Chapman. The Panthers scored 22 unanswered fourth quarter points in getting past visiting Emerald, 42-28, on Friday.

Camden (8-3) jumped to a 28-3 lead early in the third quarter on a night in which the visitors piled up 426 yards on the ground --- coming from 28 carries --- while adding another 90 in the air for 516 yards in offense.

The Bulldog defense surrendered one touchdown on the evening as the Bobcats, the runners-up in Region 1, managed 267 yards in offense with 175 of those coming on the ground.

Winning in runaway fashion on the road and topping the half-century mark for the second straight game and third time this season, was just what the doctor ordered for Brian Rimpf’s Dogs.

“The last game (a 57-8 win over Keenan two weeks earlier), we played well coming off two tough games to end the (regular) season,” Rimpf said following his first playoff win as the CHS head coach. “It was good to get a win in the playoffs, which is something the last (nine) teams here in Camden were not able to do. We were really proud of our guys for doing that.

“We played really well. As we got to the stadium and were warming up, after all that preparation, we were feeling really good about the game. We had some confidence going in. The guys played really well. They practiced really well. It was just a good week for us.”

It was an especially good night for a Camden ground game which had three ball carriers rush for 82 or more yards. Senior fullback Deldrik Jones, who entered the game with 506 yards rushing, went for a season-best 158 yards on 10 carries while leading rusher Shymeik Corbett had 104 on six hauls with a touchdown while adding a 34-yard touchdown catch. Sophomore Willis Lane went for 82 yards and a pair of scoring runs on just three carries.

Quarterback Bryce Jeffcoat was not asked to do much in the passing game but the senior hit on six of his nine passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

Rimpf said the game plan going into the contest was to try and beat the Bobcats by running the football behind a large front line of Jason Harris, Josh Barnes, Derrick Leonard, Jerome Robinson, Caleb Huggins and Banks Mosier. That group blew open holes in the Seneca defense throughout the night.

“We thought we had some advantages on the ground based on the defensive scheme that they had,” Rimpf said. “We thought we would have some opportunities to really run the ball pretty well.

“Our guys up front did a really good job. They did some things this past week that they hadn’t done all season. We blocked the outside zone really well and were able to get the outside edge a number of times. Even when we ran in the middle, toward the A and B gaps, we had great double-teams and were able to get to the linebackers.”

Camden answered a 30-yard A.J. Roberts game-opening field goal --- which came after the SHS defense held Camden on a fourth and two in Bobcat territory --- by scoring the next 28 points with the first 21 coming before the break.

The Dogs found their way into the end zone on their second offensive series as the guests marched 83 yards on five plays with a 65-yard Jones run to the SHS 25 on third down eating up a large chunk of that yardage. Two snaps later, Mikah Davis went around left end for the score and with 1:35 left in the opening quarter, the visitors led, 7-3, following Bennett Caldwell’s PAT kick.

A stop by the Bulldog defense and a short punt set Camden up at its own 48 with 11:15 left before halftime. On third and two from the Bobcat 44, Corbett broke loose for a gain of 25. Corbett would go for 11 yards for a first and goal from the seven with Davis taking a toss sweep and went to his left while being escorted into the end zone by a Jones block to make it 14-3 with 9:01 showing on the second quarter clock.

Camden cashed in on its next possession as a nine-yard punt return from Anthony Lyles set the ball at the Camden 48. It took all of nine seconds for Lane to travel 52 yards, running through a hole between the right guard and tackle to hike the lead to 21-3 with 7:41 in a first half in which the score stayed that way.

A 26-yard return of the second half kick by Lyles got the Dogs’ offense going again. A 47-yard Jones scamper on second down set up a first and 10 from the Bobcat 24. Corbett took care of that by sprinting untouched with the 24-yard scoring run as the lead increased to 28-3 just 57 seconds into the third quarter.

“Those two long runs were big plays early in the game,” Rimpf said of Jones’ two lengthy carries. “They really set the stage for us to score the points that we did.”

Seneca chopped the deficit to 28-10 with a 25-yard scoring pass from quarterback Malachi Hunter to Aireeze Alexander, which was followed by Lyles breaking free for 53 yards on the ensuing kickoff to put the Dogs back in business at the SHS 40. 

On the second play of the drive, Jeffcoat spotted Corbett, running a wheel route, for a 34-yard touchdown; Corbett’s 18th of the season.

Camden struck again a little more than eight minutes later as safety Devin Engram picked off a pass as he made a diving, over-the-shoulder grab at his own 12. From there, the Dogs marched 88 yards on 11 snaps with the longest play coming on a 22-yard Corbett carry to set up a first and goal from the five. Three plays later, on third and goal from the seven, Jeffcoat sent a bullet to Lyles, who was running a slant route, for the score and a 42-10 lead with 74 ticks left in the third quarter clock.

Another interception on the next Bobcat series, this from linebacker Blake Dalton, gave the Dogs a first down at their own 41. A 21-yard Jeffcoat to Landon Goodwin pass put the ball at the SHS 23. The series ended with Caldwell drilling a 36-yard field goal for the 45-10 lead with 8:36 left in the game.

The guests tacked on their final score with sophomore Jaffari Pearson at quarterback after Seneca was stopped at their own 30 on a fake punt. The final 27 yards of the two-play drive were supplied by Lane, who went in around right end with 5:15 remaining in the contest.

Camden finished the game with 11 explosive plays which are runs of 15 or more yards and passes of 20 yards or better. That, Rimpf said, made things easier for the offense.

“Those chunk yardage plays flip the field for you and put you in better field position. We were able to score on all of them,” he said. “It certainly gives you momentum and, our defense plays better when we have the lead. Our defense played fantastic the entire game against a really good running back (Jeremiah Mackey) who is going to the North-South All-Star game and the turnovers our defense forced were important, especially in the playoffs when they become even more important.

“You always feel good about going into the playoffs playing good defense and our defense, I can’t say enough good things about them. They’ve done a good job the entire season.”

Rimpf said his defense, which lowered its points allowed average to 15 points per game, thrives in the cooler conditions such as those in Seneca.

“It’s getting kind of cold, the conditions are getting nasty and the field is wet. We’re kind of built for that. That’s right up our alley,” he said. “I think our guys love that aspect of it, especially defensively.”

Bulldog Bites: Camden broke up its long trip to the Upstate by stopping for a meal and then having a pre-game walk-through inside Clemson University’s Football Operations facility, aka, Dabo World … Corbett went over the 100-point mark for the season with his two touchdowns which gave him 18 for 108 points. The senior has divided those touchdowns evenly with nine coming on the ground with the other nine on pass receptions … The 36-yard field goal from Caldwell was his fourth in five chances this season and tied for the longest he has made in his career. He connected from 36 yards away against West Florence in game six last month ... Jeremiah Mackey, Seneca’s North-South All-Star selection, had 133 yards on 17 carries while no other Bobcat had more than 25 yards rushing. SHS sophomore quarterback Malachi Hunter was nine-for-22 passing for 92 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown … Goodwin led all Camden receivers with 49 yards on four receptions … Defensively, Camden welcomed back senior lineman Chase McKoy who missed most of the Indian Land game and was held out of the Keenan contest with an illness. His return on Friday included getting to Hunter three times for sacks while ringing up 10 tackles … CHS sophomore safety Joseph Byrnes, again, led the Dogs in tackles with 11 with six solo stops. Blake Dalton was next with eight tackles from his linebackers’ post.

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