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Dogs leave Knights stuck in the mud, 28-0

CHS defense limits Crestwood to negative total yards in offense

Posted: October 4, 2010 10:21 a.m.
Updated: October 4, 2010 9:58 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

A PAIR OF Camden Bulldogs tackle a Crestwood Knight during CHS' 28-0 rout Friday night.

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REMBERT -- For the better part of the season, opposing offenses have shied away from trying to run the football between the tackles against the Camden defense.

Friday night, you found out why.

Playing on a soggy Sumter County District 2 Stadium field following Thursday’s torrential rains in the region, the visiting Bulldogs shut Crestwood down and out in opening the Region 6-AAA season with a 28-0 win over the host Knights.

The soft playing surface did not benefit either side, in particular. Crestwood appeared, however, to be spinning its wheels in the mud as it was held to minus (-8) yards in offense, including being throw back for minus (-5) yards on 34 rushing attempts.

The shutout was the first for Camden since last season's 14-0 victory over Crestwood.

“It was a tough field to play on. I thought our guys played pretty good defense,” said Camden head coach Jimmy Neal after his team improved to 6-0 on the season. “Tonight was great, our defense played great.”

The field conditions, the one-sided outcome and the health of several Camden players led Neal to giving more players additional playing time on Friday. The most notable switch came in the first quarter when Jo Jo Brevard, the Dogs' leading rusher, was taken out of the game after just one, three-yard carry. Brevard, who injured an ankle in the previous week's 33-14 win over Andrew Jackson, was replaced by senior Jeffrey Belton, who was seeing his first action since injuring his left knee in game two. All Belton did was to run for 118 yards on 17 carries, including a back-breaking 81-yard scoring jaunt on the third snap of the second half, which gave Camden a comfortable 21-0 advantage.

As for Brevard, Neal said, "Jo Jo is still a little gimpy and (his ankle) didn't feel real good out there so, we just had to get them out."

Senior quarterback, Dillon Morrow, who is battling turf toe, was lifted early in the third quarter. His replacement, sophomore Josh Council, came on and threw his first career touchdown pass, a 17-yard, late third quarter strike to Jerrod Beaufort, who had two scoring grabs on the evening.

Having squandered a last-minute scoring chance, which would have put his team up by 21 going into halftime, Neal said Belton's 81-yard bolt all but put this one in the books.

On third and seven from his own 19, Belton took the handoff from Morrow, made a slight move to his right and then found nothing but pieces of grass and mud in front of him in the middle of the field. Belton out-raced a pair of defenders into the end zone on Camden's longest run of the season from scrimmage.

"As good as Crestwood's been in the past," Neal said, "still, when you're down 14 and then, we stroked that thing to start the second half, it took a lot of the wind out of their sails. That was real big. Obviously, it was good blocking on the play and Jeffrey hit the hole the way you are supposed to hit it."

That was more than enough support for the Bulldog defense which did not allow a Crestwood (1-5, 0-1) play go for a gain of more than seven yards on the night.

The hosts gave the Bulldogs a little help from the start with bad snaps to quarterback Willie Glover resulting in the loss of 30 yards in the Knights' first three possessions. The Knights, who are a Wing-T offense, opened in the spread to start the game. A bad omen came on the first snap when Glover hit Kerrell Wills on a swing pass which the Dogs sniffed out and turned the lone completion of the night into a three-yard loss.

Neal said Crestwood's not starting from the Wing-T sent his defense coaches to making quick adjustments.

"They surprised us a little bit with the spread," Neal said. "I guess because Andrew Jackson had some success doing that against us that that what they were thinking they would do. But we see that a lot. We work against it all spring, so we have a base plan. I think our guys adjusted pretty well. I was very proud of them."

The Camden defense set up the night's first score when linebacker Hamid Mathis came up with a Crestwood fumble at the Knights' 5. After a five-yard illegal motion call against the Dogs, Morrow found Beaufort in the back of the end zone with the 6-foot-1 wide out doing a tight rope act in keeping his feet inbounds on a play in which Crestwood was called for pass interference. Ethan Smith tacked on the first of his four successful PAT kicks and with 8:20 left in the first quarter, the Dogs had all the points they would need.

Due to the slippery going, Neal was more conservative in his decision-making, especially on fourth downs, twice punting on fourth and medium situations from inside the Knights' 40 in the first half.

"Being up 7-0 and playing on a bad field, that was big," Neal said of his thought process. "We like to go for it, a lot, on fourth down. But tonight, because of the field conditions, I didn't want to mess the game up.

"I didn't want to mess that up. (Field position) was real big tonight; I thought that was key. A field like this changes your perspective. When it's wet and nasty like this, you just have to do what you have to do."

Crestwood coach, Keith Crolley, did not take that same approach. With his team staring at a fourth and one from their own 38, early in the second quarter, the Knights took a shot at going for the first down. The ball went to tailback David Dinkins, who was met in the backfield by Camden lineman Darren Chestnut for a one-yard loss.

After Belton was taken down for a loss of a pair on first down from the Knights' 37, Morrow went up top and found a streaking Alvonta` Jenkins, who beat a pair of defenders for the 39-yard scoring pass, for what was Morrow's 13th touchdown pass of the season. Smith knocked in the PAT kick and with 8:42 to play before halftime, the ante was upped to 14 points.

Camden had one last threat when nine-yard Crestwood punt, with a 10-yard block in the back call versus Camden, set the guests up at the Crestwood 29 with 75 ticks left in the first half clock. After being sacked on first down, Morrow found Tim Dinkins in the middle of the field with a 25-yard pass to the 12 with less than 35 seconds to go. An Antwan Moore interception in the end zone, on third and 14 from the 16, squashed the threat while effectively ending the half.

This stop came one possession after Belton was stonewalled at the line of scrimmage on a fourth and two run from the Crestwood seven with 2:54 left in the first half.

Neal admitted to being a bit frustrated in not being able to cash in on the late-half chance his team was given.

"We wanted to get another one and go in up by 21 at the half," he said. "We just couldn't get it in; they wouldn't let us."

Neal's mood would change shortly after the third quarter began, thanks to Belton's scoring jaunt which, basically, turned the lights out for a Crestwood team which was thrown for minus (-17) yards on 25 first half snaps.

"We had to change a few things at halftime with our offense," Neal said. "They gave us a little different look than what we prepared for with their defense. We kept adjusting and adjusting, which is what you have to do."

The Bulldogs' final touchdown came following a Knight punt which set the Dogs up at their own 45 with 2:44 left in the third quarter. Runs of eight and four yards by Belton got the guests into Crestwood territory. On second and 11 from the 40, Council ran the option right and, waiting until last possible second, flipped the ball to tailback Brandon Louden, who juked one defender, broke a tackle and took off for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, Council found Beaufort with a fade pass for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead with 12.6 seconds left in the third quarter.

Crestwood's lone scoring chance came in the opening 90 seconds of the game when, aided by 35 yards in Camden penalties, the Knights marched from their own 35 to the Camden 25. On first and 10 from there, Bulldogs cornerback Tayler Workman stepped in front of a Glover pass at the three for his fourth interception of the season. The senior returned the pick 60 yards before being dragged down at the Knights' 37.

While there was plenty of good which he saw on this night, Neal was none-too-pleased with his team being whistled 14 times for 110 yards in penalties, two of which gave the Crestwood its only first down of the game.

"We were a little disappointed with some penalties that we shouldn't be having, but those things happen."

All week long, Neal was wary of Crestwood, who came in with a 1-4 record. The Bulldog boss said that misleading mark came against quality competition. While this may have appeared to be a "trap" game, Neal said he has too much respect for Crolley and his staff to have allowed his players to look past the Knights.

"Their coaches do a great job. They get their players in the right position to make plays," Neal said.

"And, yes, this may have been a 'trap' game but, trust me, anybody in this league can beat anybody else in this league. We had better be prepared to come out and play the game the way it's supposed to be played every night."

 

Bulldog Bites: The shutout allowed Morrow to rest his turf toe and he had the foot iced down by night's end. The senior did not attempt a pass after halftime as he was 6-for-14 for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the first 24 minutes ... Council's lone pass completion resulted in a 17-yard scoring strike to Beaufort ... After Belton, Camden's leading ground gainer was Loudon, who went for 41 yards on seven carries ... While some Camden fans were surprised at the condition of the field, Crolley talked with Neal and several others about the rainstorm his team encountered returning home from Thursday's junior varsity game in Camden. "When we got to the four-lane part of (Highway) 521, it was raining so hard, we could just about see. We never drove over 30 (miles per hour) to get back to the school."... Camden rushed for 204 yards on 41 carries while throwing for an additional 115 yards for 319 yards in offense ... The Knights joined several other defenses which blanketed Jenkins with a cornerback and a safety coming over the top to help. That has opened things for Beaufort, a match-up nightmare with his height, who had four catches for 45 yards and two touchdowns ... In addition to Workman's interception. Camden linebacker Marcus Williams picked off a Glover pass in the final three minutes.

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