KELLYTOWN --- Corporate America CEOs should be as productive and efficient as Tiyon Evans.
Evans, Hartsville’s 5-11, 200-pound junior back, touched the ball five times in the Red Foxes’ 41-7 win over visiting Camden on Friday night on Coach Billy Seigler Field. Evans made the most of those plays, scoring on each one --- three over land and two in the air --- as he continued his personal assault on the Bulldogs’ defense for the second time in as many seasons
A year ago at Zemp Stadium, Evans rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns against the hosts.
Evans’ one-man gang act sent Camden to its second loss in three games in a contest which was, at first, moved up to Thursday night before inclement weather and a power outage at Kellytown Stadium sent it back to its original scheduled Friday night affair, albeit with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
The delay did not seem to bother Evans, whose five trips to the end zone included his breaking tackles or slicing through sets of Camden defenders who were in position to make the plays but could not finish the job. That fact was troubling to first-year Camden head coach Brian Rimpf.
“They’re a good team and have some good players,” he said of Hartsville. “(Evans) is probably going to be one of the best players we’ll face all year, I guess. Still, the plays he scored on, three or four of our guys had a shot at him.
“We have to get better at the little things like wrapping up on tackling, blocking and executing. On offense, we have to be able to convert.”
En route to extending their win streak over Camden to nine in a row in the 91st meeting between the two longtime rivals, the Red Fox defense dug in when they needed to the most. Twice, the guests marched to or inside the HHS 10 yard line and came away with nothing to show for their efforts. The first time, on the night’s opening series, a Rod Gattison interception at the Red Foxes’ five ended a CHS threat. In the third quarter, with CHS trailing 27-7, linebacker Kevon Haigler batted down a fourth down Bryce Jeffcoat pass on fourth and goal from the HHS six which was intended for a wide-open Jericho Murphy, who slipped out of the backfield unattended.
The series of near-misses provided shots in the arm for Hartsville on a night in which weather held down the crowd and provided little atmosphere in a pairing which had all the traits of a scrimmage.
“We had the ball twice on the 10 yard line and didn’t come away with any points. We went backwards, threw an interception at the (five) yard line … it was us not converting,” Rimpf said of his team’s offense not being able to finish once inside the red zone.
The first missed opportunity came right off the bat as the Dogs marched from the HHS 46 to the hosts’ 10 in what was a 13-play opening drive which included a 14-yard Shymeik Corbett carry to the 31. On fourth and five from the 16, Bennett Caldwell was called on to attempt a 32-yard field goal but HHS was whistled for an offsides penalty giving the Dogs a first and 10 from the 16.
Three plays and five yards later, on a double reverse pass, Gattison stepped in front of a Camden receiver at his own five and gave the ball to the Red Foxes for the first time.
Staying on the ground from their own six, the Red Foxes moved 41 yards on their first eight plays. On first and 10 from the 47, quarterback A.J. Joyner rolled right and was leveled as he lofted a pass to a wide-open Evans. The back manueavered around a defender near the 10 and into the end zone for the first of his five scores which gave the hosts a 7-0 lead at the 3:02 mark of the first quarter.
The Dogs answered with a quick four-play, 66-yard drive which opened with Corbett going for 53 yards in taking a jet sweep from Jeffcoat before being dragged down at the Hartsville 12. Three snaps later, on third and five from the seven, Jeffcoat kept the ball on the read option and bolted into the end zone without being touched. Caldwell tacked on the kick and with 1:28 to play in the opening stanza, this one was level at seven.
The Red Foxes, which lost five of their seven fumbles the previous week in a 26-25 win over South Florence, coughed the ball up on the ensuing kickoff as Camden’s Deldrik Jones picked up the loose football at the 48 and ran it to the Hartsville 25 to put the CHS offense back in business. The Red Fox defense blunted the threat as Murphy was dragged down after a gain of eight at the HHS 24 on a fourth and 17 tunnel screen pass from Jeffcoat.
“We created a turnover on special teams and we weren’t able to convert on it. Obviously, that would have been big for us,” Rimpf said.
Two plays later, on the first snap of the second quarter, Evans struck again. This team he took the handoff and went around left end and down the HHS sidelines, breaking arm tackles along the way, for the 68-yard scoring run and a 13-7 lead with 11:44 to go before half after Camden’s Rasheed Sutton blocked the PAT try.
After Murphy was taken down at the Red Fox 37 after gaining a yard on a fourth and four call, the Foxes extended their lead to 20-7. This time, the hosts converted on two keys plays. The first was Joyner scrambling for 21 yards on a third and eight from his own 39. On fourth and one from the CHS 16, Evans got the call again and juked a Bulldog defender a yard behind the line of scrimmage before going in for his third touchdown which came with 4:18 to play before the break in a first half which ended with CHS trailing, 20-7.
Needing a stop after three Hartsville scored three times on three straight possessions, the Camden defense got a three-and-out to open the second half only to see the HHS defense force a punt, as well.
Once getting the ball back at their own 19, the Red Foxes all but put this one away by going 81 yards on eight plays with Evans doing the honors, again, on a 49-yard run through the middle of the defense to make it 27-7 with 2:36 showing on the third quarter clock.
Camden fired one more salvo at the Foxes as Murphy bounced to his left and dashed 56 yards to the HHS 10 on the first play from scrimmage only to be dragged down by a cornerback who went untouched. The drive fizzled when Haigler batted down Jeffcoat’s fourth down pass.
Rimpf said a lack of execution may well have cost Murphy, who ran for 127 of Camden’s 257 yards in offense, a chance to score on his series-opening run.
“They’re good. They took advantage of mistakes that we made and a lack of effort on some plays on our part,” Rimpf said of the second-ranked Red Foxes. “The play that Jericho ran all the way to their 10 from some 50 yards away, our backside receiver didn’t block his corner and he’s the one who made the play.
“We’re going to show our guys that those are the little things that we have to do in order to make big plays and for us to win games against teams like this.”
Evans put the exclamation point on his night when he beat one-on-one coverage and raced to make a fingertip grab of Joyner’s pass for a 60-yard touchdown with 10:33 left in the game.
The Red Foxes tacked on a final score from their second offense with Jerred Ferrence plunging in from a yard out with 2:25 left.
Camden rotated Murphy and Jeffcoat at quarterback. The pair combined to go eight-for-21 with an interception for 70 yards with 53 of those coming on Corbett’s jet sweep, which amounts to a long forward handoff.
Rimpf said his team needs to be able to stretch the defense to help loosen things for a running game which had 187 yards on 35 carries Friday night.
“We have to work on it. It has to be effective for our offense to work,” he said of the passing game. “We’re not getting enough out of it right now but we’ve got a week of practice and we’ll get better at it.”
Having to make two trips to Kellytown in as many days and playing in a dull environment was hardly the setting Rimpf envisioned after being told of the Camden versus Hartsville rivalry. To his credit, he refused to blame the circumstances for his team’s performance.
“It was not what I expected from the Camden-Hartsville game, to be honest with you,” he said. “It was pretty quiet. There were no bands, no noise and hardly any music playing. We have to do a better job of motivating ourselves.”
“Everything’s a little off but they had to do the same thing. That’s a good team but we have to get better. We have to do a better job of handling adversity and overcoming different situations.”
Bulldog Bites: Camden’s 257 yards of offense came from 56 snaps with Murphy going for his 127 rushing yards on 19 carries … Jeffcoat rushed for 24 yards and his second touchdown in as many games. He was also eight-for-17 passing for 70 yards … Landon Goodwin led CHS with three catches for eight yards while Corbett had one for 53 … Thanks to Evans’ big night, the Red Foxes had 480 yards in offense from 48 snaps; rushing for 352 yards on 41 carries … Evans had three carries for 133 yards and three touchdowns while catching two passes for 53- and 60-yard touchdowns …Camden waited out Thursday’s rains inside the $2 million field house/locker rooms at Kellytown Stadium. While the rains finally dissipated at around 7 p.m., lightning led to a power outage in and around the area which led to the stadium lights going dark. One Hartsville official said the earliest the power might be restored to the stadium would be at 8:45 p.m.