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Dogs moving on after first defeat

Posted: September 6, 2018 11:29 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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DEVIN ENGRAM ... CHS safety

Facing county and longtime rivals has been the norm for Camden after three weeks of the current football season. As second-year Bulldog boss Brian Rimpf has said, those are the games in which his coaches need to say little to their players to get them excited about that week’s game.

Tonight, not so much.

The Bulldogs head to Fort Mill for what could be considered their first true road game given that the contest at Lugoff-Elgin two weeks ago ate up all of about a buck and a half worth of gas. This marks the first time the two former conference rivals have squared off since 1995 meaning no player from either side was born when the two sides last met.

When that scenario was posed to Rimpf, he said his team is not concerned about facing a relatively unknown opponent. All his players want to do, he said, is to try and correct what went wrong in last Friday’s 35-21 loss to Hartsville.

“I think they’re just ready to get back to work after last Friday’s game with Hartsville; a game we felt like we had a really good chance to win,” Rimpf said of his team’s approach. “I think the guys’ attitude has been is to get back to work and get back on the winning track. It’s a good attitude to have, especially for an older team like we have. They’re excited to play each week.”

Against Hartsville, the Dogs let two golden scoring chances go by the board which the visiting Red Foxes capitalized on and turned into a pair of game-altering touchdowns. While there is the glass half-full argument that CHS was right there with the state’s top-ranked 4A squad, there is the other argument that more work needs to be done for the Bulldogs to get where they want to be.

“In a close game against a good team,” Rimpf said, “the team that makes the most mistakes is the one that is not going to win. That’s what we did. We got inside their 10 yard line twice last week and didn’t come away with points either time. And, there were other times when we had the chance to get them to the ground but, we didn’t do that.

“There is certainly a lot of stuff to build on, though. We have to learn from that and get better. We have the chance to do that this week against Fort Mill.”

The Yellow Jackets are led by first-year head coach Rob McNee on a roller coaster ride thus far in yielding 61 points to River Bluff, coming up short in a 28-21 loss to Chester before falling to Lancaster, 42-14, last Friday. All three Jackets’ opponents, it should be noted, carry perfect records into tonight’s games.

McNeely has brought the spread offense with him with Dylan Helms as the triggerman. The junior quarterback has thrown 76 passes and completed 40 for 436 yards this year which means the CHS secondary will be tested. On the ground, senior tailback Sebastian Lach has rushed for 463 yards with seven trips into the end zone.

“Their quarterback  throws the ball around pretty well and he has some receivers that run great routes and are there to catch the ball,” Rimpf said. “Anytime you put the ball in the air consistently, you give yourself a chance.”

While the Yellow Jacket defense is allowing nearly 44 points per contest, Rimpf attributes that more to the quality of competition which FM has faced rather than that unit being porous. But the CHS boss said he hopes that his offense can create problems for the hosts tonight.

“We feel like we have a good offensive football team,” he said. “Their defensive line is pretty good so, we have to make sure that our offensive line is taking all the right steps and on the right assignments so that we can get our back to the next level of the defense and see if they can’t break a tackle.”

A week ago, Camden opened the game with an exhausting 16-play, eight and half minute scoring drive. Two other times, the Dogs went from 30 to 30 without cashing in on those chances. The Bulldogs did have a pair of what Rimpf termed “explosive plays” when tailback Shymeik Corbett and Mikah Davis turned screen passes into 78 and 45-yard touchdowns, respectively.

Rimpf is looking for his team’s playmakers to make more such plays while taking the chance of turning the ball over on long drives out of the equation. 

“We have to find ways to have more explosive plays, like we did in the second half against Hartsville, “ he said. “We are challenging our guys this week to not let Fort Mill bring them down with one tackler. Certainly, we are going to need big plays and, hopefully, we will have some this week.”

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