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Bulldogs get offensive in knocking off Vols, 34-10

Council’s four TD passes help Camden snap two-game skid

Posted: September 24, 2011 1:35 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2011 5:00 a.m.

There are "must win" games and there are your "better win this one" contests.

Camden’s 34-10 victory over visiting Andrew Jackson last Friday at Zemp Stadium could be classified as somewhere in between those two scenarios.

The host Bulldogs entered their homecoming game in the midst of a two-game skid, including a 35-20 defeat at the hands of rival Lugoff-Elgin a week earlier on this same field. With conference play on deck, this shot in the arm was more than needed for Jimmy Neal’s troops and what had been a dormant, mistake-prone offense came to life on a muggy night.

Led by four touchdown passes from junior quarterback Josh Council and career-best 177 yards in rushing from senior tailback Jo Jo Brevard, the Bulldogs not only improved to 2-3, after completing the non-league portion of their schedule, but snapped the Volunteers’ three-game win streak in the process.

Throughout the week, Neal was concerned about AJ’s playmakers in the skill positions. Turns out, his defense nullified that group in posting a much-needed victory.

"It was big, but we didn’t make it an ‘end of the world if we don’t win’ kind of a deal, but it was big," he said. "It was nice to get back and get that winning feeling and enjoy it.

"I’m going to say this, though. Our players practiced just as hard this past week as they did for Lugoff-Elgin or any time this year. They hung in there and they believe in what we’re trying to do. They believe that we can become a pretty good football team and, we’ve become better; that’s the biggest thing, we’ve become better."

Like Brevard, Council enjoyed his best game in three seasons as he completed 10 of his 17 aerials for 190 yards while also picking up 60 yards on 17 carries. Junior wide receiver Cedric Cook, starting in place of the injured Tripp Speaks, had touchdown grabs of 25 and 52 yards while junior Jerel Holloman had a 49-yard scoring catch with sophomore Dontrell Miller scoring on a four-yard grab.

For Cook, the team’s fastest player, this was his coming out party.

"Cedric can run; he’s fast," Neal said. "His inconsistency in practice has been what has hurt him the most. But he was very consistent tonight in going out there and catching the ball. That was exciting for him.

"That’s what happens when a guy like Tripp Speaks gets hurt and here, another guy steps up and is ready to play. That’s neat to see."

It was the 52-yard hook-up from Council to Cook which finally allowed the Dogs to exhale on an evening when offensive touches were at a premium as both offenses opened the game with exhausting scoring drives.

Camden’s lead, which stood at 17-10 at halftime, rose to 24-10 when Council, with two defenders ready to bring him down on a fourth and goal from the four, found a sliding Miller in the end zone with a pass to cap a 10-play, 63-yard march in the third quarter.

One play later, CHS cornerback D.J. Crim picked off the first of his two passes on the night as the 5-foot-9 sophomore went up with 6-foot-4 AJ wide out Quadarius Fair to come up with the pick at the Volunteers’ 48.

On the ensuing snap, Council lofted a pretty pass to Cook, who left his defender behind him for the 52-yard score and a 31-10 CHS lead with 4:05 left in the third quarter.

"Josh was on tonight," Neal said of Council’s performance. "We’ve had these weeks like we had this week, where he was ‘on’ with his throws all week in practice. It might not have always worked on Friday, but he was comfortable out there tonight from the get-go.

"A lot of that may have had to do with our running game getting going early and taking some of the pressure off of Josh. Then, he throws that vertical to open the game and it all kind of snowballs for him."

That first vertical pass for a score came on Camden’s first offensive possession which followed an AJ three-and-out on the night’s first series.

The Dogs took over at their own 14 and immediately, the groundwork was being laid as Brevard got the call on the first five snaps, netting 28 yards. Council, who had a terrible start a week earlier, found Cook for a gain of seven at the AJ 41 on his first pass attempt. A 12-yard Brevard carry would set the ball at the 25 from which point Council sent a strike to a streaking Cook, along the left sideline, for the game’s first score at the 5:35 marker of the opening stanza. Jake Ansley then drilled the first of his four PAT kicks to cap an 11-play, 86-yard scoring drive, which was Camden’s lengthiest of the season.

The Bulldog march paled in comparison to what AJ had in store once it got the ball back.

The Volunteers used 18 snaps to move from its own 25 to get to the Camden 23. After a Ryan Phillips incompletion made it fourth and 10 from there, the guests called on Brett Lucas, who sent home a 39-yard field goal with eight minutes left in the first half to cut the lead to 7-3.

Camden’s response to that score came in the form of a 13-play, 72-yard drive which included a 16-yard Council-to-Holloman pass to the AJ 40 before successive 12- and 14-yard carries from Brevard and Council set the ball at the two. A Council slip on a second down carry and an AJ sack on third and goal left CHS with a fourth and goal from the six. Ansley was called on and converted on the 23-yard chip shot and with 3:08 showing on the second quarter clock, the Dogs went back up by seven, 10-3.

Neal said his team’s game plan was to establish the ground game which would loosen the passing lanes.

"We thought our offensive line could block their defensive line," he said. "But AJ did some sharp things on defense. They really had those linebackers in there tight and went to a five-man line one time. We knew we were going to have to loosen them up, a little bit."

Camden would put its offense back on the field after a 30-second AJ series which resulted in a punt to the Bulldogs’ 27. On third and nine from the 28, Brevard broke loose for a gain of 23. Council and Holloman did the rest as the junior wide out took a pass over the middle put a move on his defender, which led to the AJ cornerback falling to the ground as Holloman sprinted into the end zone with his second score of the season, this a 49-yarder for a 17-3 advantage with 1:25 left in the half.

AJ, however, made this one interesting.

Using a roughing the kicker penalty to re-ignite a march, the Vols maintained possession of the ball at the CHS 46 with 58 ticks left in the clock before the intermission. Phillips then found Quincey Grier over the middle for a gain of 27 to the eight. After being sacked for a loss of eight by Marcus Williams, Phillips zipped a pass to a wide-open Bobby Delly at the top middle of the end zone with 17 seconds left to cut the deficit to 17-10 at halftime.

AJ managed 112 first half yards on 28 snaps. That all changed in the second half as the visitors were held to 64 yards, many of those coming on the final drive of the evening against the Bulldog backups. Camden dominated the line of scrimmage while Crim did the rest in the secondary with his picks. But, as Neal pointed out, his first two lines of defense dominated the point of attack.

"Sheldon Wright, Chris Massey, Don Myers, Marcus Williams, C.J. Martin and our linebackers Fidel Wise, Jace Stukes, Hamid Mathis, really played well," Neal said.

Needing a get some breathing room, the CHS offense took over for the second time of the second half at its own 37 following a punt. Council would hit Miller for a gain of 11 on second down and followed that with a 12-yard keeper for a dozen to the AJ 37. Brevard then went for 11 to the 26 before nearly scoring on a fourth and one carry from the 16, which he took to the four.

On second and goal from that spot, Council scrambled to his right and found Miller for the touchdown which came with 4:25 left in the third.

Trailing 24-10, Phillips went up top the next play and was picked off by Crim at the CHS 48. Then, Council hooked up with Cook for a second time to make it 31-10 with 4:05 left in the third.

The Dogs fumbled away another scoring chance at the AJ eight but would get the ball back, three plays later, when Crim, who was wearing a soft cast on his left wrist, picked off his second pass at the AJ 26 with 16 seconds left in the third.

"How about D.J. Crim?" Neal said. "That first interception was nice. They put the Fair kid against him and D.J. went up and got the ball.

"I thought our entire secondary did a better job tonight. The best thing was that they kept everything in front of them and they came up fast on those quick-hitches and stop routes they were throwing against us. We played with more confidence back there. We showed a lot of progress back there."

Having netted seven yards in three plays, Ansley was called on to attempt a 37-yard field goal and with 11:50 left in the game, the senior split the uprights for the sixth time in seven attempts this season to give the Dogs a 34-10 lead.

Neal said that AJ "scared me to death. Their speed really had me concerned."

In what became a "fight fire with fire" mentality, Camden used a hurry-up offense in an attempt to wear down an AJ defense which had several players in the second and third lines of defense going both ways. The Bulldogs finished the game with a season-best 430 yards in offense on 62 snaps.

"We call it NASCAR," Neal said of the offensive scheme, which one time snapped the ball before AJ’s defense was fully set. "We were just going as fast as we could, especially after a big play.

"Our guys liked it … offensive linemen love that type of stuff because it does not take near as much exertion for an offensive lineman as it does for a defensive lineman. They couldn’t sub people in on defense and we were attacking and attacking them. That went pretty well for us."

 

Bulldog Bites:

Brevard, whose previous career-high in rushing yardage was 140 against Lugoff-Elgin last year, did his damage on 21 carries … After having averaged nearly three turnovers a game, Camden lost the ball once on Friday … AJ rushed for 89 yards on 33 carries and threw for 87 yards on an 8-for-25 night … In spite of what was the most humid night for a game this season, neither side had many camping issues to speak of, although, Brevard was helped off the field due to the problem late in the third quarter … In addition to Cook making the most of his opportunity, Neal also praised the effort of 6-foot-2, 230-pound sophomore lineman Maurick James, who stepped in to replace injured classmate Delton Bradford along the offensive line … Another player whom caught Neal’s eye on offense was freshman RaQuan "Bunny" Burris, who ran for 16 yards on six carries. "Bunny didn’t do anything that was unbelievable tonight, but you can tell he has something about him. He’s going to be a really good running back for us." … Camden will close out a three-game homestand on Friday when Crestwood comes to Zemp for the Region 6-AAA opener.

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