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Can Dogs-Chapman II be better than original?

Posted: November 14, 2018 9:31 a.m.
Updated: November 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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SHYMEIK CORBETT ... 18 TDs leads Dogs

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Upstate comes Camden at Chapman: The Sequel.

When these two teams met two years ago, in the first round of the AAA Upper State playoffs, they combined for video game-like numbers. On that night, fans were treated to 1,442 yards in offense --- 776 by Camden and 666 from the host Panthers --- in a 77-61 Chapman victory in a contest which took nearly three hours to complete.

While many of the stars --- and, even one coach --- from that night have since left each program, the scoring remains the same. Chapman has put up better than 48 points a game while the visiting Bulldogs come in scoring nearly 38 points per game.

Let the scoring bonanza begin, you say? Not if second-year head coach Brian Rimpf and the Bulldog defense have anything to say about it.

“They have a really good offense and we’ve been very good on offense, at times, this year. There is certainly the possibility of it,” Rimpf said of tonight’s contest turning into another track meet. “We don’t envision it going like that, though.

“We’ve been playing really good defense all year. For them to score all those points, 40-plus a game, like they’ve been averaging, against our defense, we find that to be a tough task.”

Another reason why Rimpf does not anticipate this meeting remsembling a pinball game is due to the weather and field conditions. On Monday, Inman received more than two inches of rain with more having been added through Thursday. With all that rain, the playing surface will probably not resemble a fast track.

“The field will probably be soggy and will probably slow everybody down and, it will be cold,” Rimpf said. “I don’t think it will be a shootout like it was two years ago but, both offenses are capable that’s for sure.”

In 11 games, the undefeated Panthers have scored 533 points which is 10 less than Dutch Fork. Junior quarterback Mikele Colasurdo directs a potent offense while having thrown for more than 2,000 yards. Junior tailback Brandon Jones is coming off a 234-yard, three touchdown rushing effort in last Friday’s come-from-behind 42-28 win over Emerald. In that game, Emerald led, 28-20, in the fourth quarter only for Jones to score three times in the closing minutes.

Against Emerald, Colasurdo was held in check, completing four of his 12 passes for 78 yards. The Panthers thrived on the ground, however, rushing for 277 with Jones having the bulk of that figure from just 13 carries.

Rimpf said his defense must be able to slow down the Panthers’ running game and take the hosts out of their comfort zone.

“They’re four-wide the entire game and they only run two formations the entire game; trips and doubles formations,” he said. “The scheme is easy to prepare for; you just have to make plays. They’ve done a good job all year of their quarterback scrambling in the pocket and buying time and throwing the ball down the field. (Jones) has had a great season running the ball and has great speed.

“On defense, we have to stop them in the box first and make them throw the ball. The conditions may not be ideal for throwing the ball; the ball is going to get wet, it’s going to get heavy, it’s going to be tough to catch and it’s going to be cold. A lot of factors will go into the passing game.”

A week ago, Emerald ran for 521 yards and passed for another 51 against the Chapman defense. In its 52-10 win over Seneca in round one, Camden ran for 426 yards and threw for another 90. At this time of the season when the  thermometer drops  and the weather changes, running the football becomes more important.

“We ran the ball really well against Seneca and, the week before against Keenan,” Rimpf said. “We think they are going to load the box against us and make us put the ball in the air. I think it’s known now that we have a good running game and the four or five backs that we roll in there, along with our offensive line, our receivers and even our quarterback are all part of our running game.

“No matter how they line up on defense, there’s a way to block it. We just have to do it and execute that. Our running backs are going to have to go out, break tackles and make somebody miss. That’s how you get your big plays and how you’re successful on offense.”

For the second straight week, Camden is hoping to live up to its “The wetter the better” mantra. Bolstered by a large front line and a stable of backs, the Bulldog offensive is, seemingly, designed for the cold and imperfect conditions which oftentime accompanies November football. The same can be said of a CHS defense which has showed up each and every week.

Rimpf said being sound in those two facets of the game usually plays well away from home.

“They say that in the playoffs, your defense travels, no matter the conditions and, the run game travels, no matter the conditions,” he said. “We run the ball well. We’re kind of built for these types of conditions. We’re big up front and were fast with our backs. ur backs one-cut on their runs and they don’t do a lot of east-west stuff. I think that will benefit us on a soft, wet field.

“The running game will be important but, so will being able to stop the run on defense. The better we do in both those areas, the better we’ll do in the game.”

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