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Bulldogs hope to add to Knights' offensive woes in 6-AAA opener

Posted: September 29, 2011 3:41 p.m.
Updated: September 30, 2011 5:00 a.m.

When we last left Camden and Crestwood, the two conference rivals were, basically, going through the motions in the Camden Shrine Club Football Jamboree on Aug. 12.

On that night, Camden head coach Jimmy Neal played it so close to the vest on both sides of the ball that the vest may well have been lathered with glue. The result that night, in a two-quarter contest, was the visiting Knights coming away with a dull 6-0 victory.

Things should be more exciting tonight with the two sides get together at Zemp Stadium for the Region 6-AAA opener.

The Bulldogs enter the contest on the heels of a 35-20 win over Andrew Jackson in what was their best offensive showing of the season. Senior tailback Jo Jo Brevard rushed for a career-best 177 yards while junior quarterback Josh Council had his most productive night at CHS in passing for 190 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those scoring aerials landed in the arms of Cedric Cook, the team’s fastest player.

While Camden was knocking off one AA foe, Crestwood found the going tough against Lake City in a 20-0 setback, its fourth consecutive loss after having opened the season with a 41-10 shellacking of Sumter. Since then, Keith Crolley’s offense has scored just 21 points with last week’s setback being the second time in three weeks the Knights had been shut out by an opponent.

In the jamboree win over Camden, Willie Glover’s 60-yard quarterback keeper out of the Wing-T set, was the evening’s only score. Neal said the senior signal-caller, who also plays tailback in certain formations, is the man who makes the Knights’ multiple offense go.

"They’re pretty good. They’re talented," Neal said of the Knights. "Willie Glover was the one who hit us in the jamboree with the long run and he’s a special player. They have some good skill players."

The Camden defense, especially the linebackers, will be put to the test tonight in making sure they recognize all the different schemes which they will see from the Knights. Things have gone smoothly in that area in practice, Neal said. Now, it must carry over into the game.

"The Wing-T is one thing that you have to prepare for, but they only run out of that set about 25 percent of the time," Neal said. "They run the double-wing, scrum set, a good bit. They run the two tight end ‘T’ formation and run a lot of off-tackle power out of that, like they do with the scrum stuff, and they run the spread. Then, you add the single-wing and the little option they like to run out of the Wing-T.

"They give you four offensive looks that you have to prepare for so, you can’t go into this game with just one game plan. You have to be able to adjust and our linebackers need to be able to do that depending on the personnel in the game.

"I think our guys have responded well, mentally, during practice this week and have done a good job with that. Hopefully, we’ll be fine once the game starts."

Up front, Keiton Burgess, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound center, anchors the offensive line with 275-pound senior Dylan Pate starting at guard while also being flip-flopped with Burgess to play center, on occasion.

"Keiton Burgess is a humungous center who is going to give us problems over there and Dylan Grate plays guard and center and is a very good player, too," Neal said. "They have some big guys on the offensive line that will get after you."

On the defensive side of the ball, the Knights have surrendered better than 26 points per game this season. But senior linebacker Alonzo McGee (6-2, 195) is a player whom the Bulldogs’ offense needs to keep tabs on all night as he leads a unit which is not afraid to take risks.

"They have good speed on their defensive line and Alonzo McGee is a special linebacker who has been around for a long time, now. They have some special players over there," Neal said of the Crestwood defense.

"They have a similar defensive philosophy to (Andrew Jackson.) They come at you with a 3-5-3 look and they will cover your wide outs in man or man-free stuff and they bring a lot of pressure from the other guys.

"AJ didn’t blitz us as much as we anticipated, but I guarantee you that these guys are going to blitz. They’ll blitz seven guys, at times, and then there will be times when five or six will be coming a good bit of the time."

Camden’s offense was able to handle the AJ defensive package to the tune of 430 yards in total offense a week ago. "AJ took some things away from us that other team’s had not taken away from us," Neal said. "We were good enough with Jo Jo (Brevard) and Josh (Council) to hit some other areas. We took what they gave us."

Neal was also encouraged with the numbers his offense posted both in the air and on the ground. He said that was a performance which his team can build on.

"That’s what we have to keep doing, obviously," he said. "We still have to improve on things with our passing game and we still have to improve things with our running game. It got better last week."

As for the win last week, which snapped a two-game skid, Neal said that while it was needed and important to get, it really did not affect the way the Bulldogs practiced this week … which, he said, is a good thing.

"I really think these guys have practiced the way that you want a team to practice over the course of the last three or four weeks; this week was no different," he said. "We’re 2-3, but it’s like we’re 5-0. These guys have been where they are supposed to be and doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

"They’re practicing hard and making progress. And, while that doesn’t guarantee you anything, it gives you a better chance. But winning always helps; it makes you feel better about things. It was a good win. It was a really good win for the coaches, but a really good win for the team, too."

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