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Camden (3-0) Gets 41-27 Road Win Over Hartsville As Pearson, Lane Lead Way On Offense With Copley Leading Defensive Charge

Camden (3-0) Gets 41-27 Road Win Over Hartsville As Pearson, Lane Lead Way On Offense With Copley Leading Defensive Charge

By Billy G. Baker


HartsvilleCamden (3-0) needed a strong opponent early in the season to verify it’s emergence as a contender in AAA football and their 41-27 road win at AAAA Hartsville Friday night (first win over the Red Foxes since 2008) served notice that the Bulldogs, under the direction of former NFL player Brian Rimpf, have great potential for this season with next level talent scattered throughout their roster.

Coach Rimpf gave a lot of credit to Camden’s defense after the win. “We came into the game down two linebackers who are out but when they were having trouble scoring it seemed to give our defense more and more confidence,” said Coach Rimpf. “I am really proud of our defense. They showed some grit tonight. This was our second straight truly physical football game with both teams getting after it. It’s always good to have a lead and play with a lead.

“Last year we lost to Hartsville by two scores and we were down by one score in last year’s game when they scored late,” said Coach Rimpf.  “We talked about week three being a win three for us. We felt like coming into the game we wanted to get win three and we are confident and playing well right now. We knew Hartsville would not quit and they are always a very competitive team.  This team is like a six- headed monster with our offensive line, our two running backs, our quarterback, our skill guys. plus our defense. We wanted to throw the ball more, but our running game was working so well we stuck with it.

“You hate to take the ball out of Mikah Davis’ and Willis Lane’s hands when they were running as well as they were tonight. You must give some credit to our offensive line and how well the receivers blocked down field that helped the running game go.

“Our linebackers in the middle (Darius Peebles, Marchellus Juggins, and Jaheim Williams) really stepped up this week and made some plays stepping up and meeting their running backs in the hole. They had very few big runs against us tonight. I am really proud of our second level tonight.” Coach Rimpf also cited the play of the four defensive linemen upfront led by Copley, senior Alex Thrash, sophomore Johnathan Chavis, junior Jaxon Hembree and Shaki Salmond.

Hartsville head coach Jeff Calabrese gave Camden a lot of credit for winning the game with hard play.  “We are not doing anything very good right now, but we do see glimpses of some good things but it no- where as consistent as we need it to be,” said Coach Calabrese from the field after the game. “Give Camden credit. They played their butts off and they deserved to win this game. It’s not about Hartsville tonight. You must give them credit for playing hard all game. We didn’t do many things well tonight. We have a lot of work to do. We do have good hard working athletes, but we have a lot of things to clean up before we go play Conway next week.”  

Coach Rimpf took over the program three years ago and in his system he prefers to keep all freshman and sophomores on the jayvee to give them maximum experience while playing 80 per cent juniors and seniors on the varsity. This has developed into four juniors on the team being ranked among the HSSR’s top 30 junior 2021 prospects that can be found on the home page of hssr. com. All four prospects had major roles in the team’s big win on Friday night.

Junior quarterback Jaffari Pearson (6-3, 200) completed 14 of 17 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown against the Red Foxes. Junior running back Willis Lane (5-9, 185-4.5) gained 136 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns. Lane, bursting on the scene in SC as a top 2021 running back has now has rushed for 601 yards on 51 carries with 8 touchdowns in three games. Senior running back Mikah Davis had 9 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. Junior defensive back prospect Joseph Byrnes scooped up a fumble and raced 25 yards for another score while causing a fumble on a big hit and having one interception. Sophomore Anthony Lyles caught a 51-yard touchdown pass in the first half and senior Landon Gordan caught 8 passes for 66 yards to lead Bulldog receivers.   

The defense against Hartsville, and for the season, has been led by defensive end John Copley (6-1, 226) rated as the 38th best senior prospect in the 2020 class by the HSSR. Copley has also played tight end and he has caught a touchdown pass as well as making several sacks this season. The Camden offensive line has been led by veteran senior and HSSR Top 100 member Banks Mosier (6-4, 275) and sophomore tackle prospect Donovan Edwards (6-3, 240). Edwards might be a better prospect on defense, but he is playing in the offensive line exclusively for now. Another big booster to the secondary as been the play of senior Matt Cassidy, a baseball prospect who decided to play football this year after last playing as a sophomore.

Hartsville scored first in the game on a three-yard run by junior Darian McMillian capping off a six play 41- yard drive with 4:54 left in the opening period. The PAT was no good.

Camden took the lead for good just over a minute later on a 51- yard pass play to Lyles who broke a couple of tackles on the way to the end zone. Place kicker Thomas Burkott made good on the PAT and the Bulldogs led 7-6.

With 1:26 left in the opening period Davis scored on a 10-yard run capping off an 86-yard 13 play drive that had only one attempted pass.  Burkott made the PAT to make it 14-6 and that was the score at the half. In the first half Camden held Hartsville to around 20 yards of total offense.

In the third period Camden made it 21-6 on a special team’s error when the long snapper hiked the ball over the head of the Red Fox Punter. Byrnes scooped up the ball around the 25 and ran it in for touchdown. Burkott’s PAT made it 21-6 at this point.  With 6:32 left in the third Camden increased their lead to 28-6 after taking over on downs at the Red Fox 41. On second down Lane gained 21 yards and three plays later he scored from the one and Burkott’s 4th PAT made it 28-6.

From this point in the second half Hartsville went to a rare all-out passing attack featuring the speed of recent USC baseball pledge Dariyan Pendergrass who proved to be difficult to defend. In a 72- yard seven play drive Pendergrass caught a 39-yard pass for a touchdown from junior quarterback Owen Taylor for a touchdown with 4:00 left in the third period. The PAT made it 28-13. Camden’s next touchdown with 2:42 left in the third was set up by a 56-yard scamper by Davis down to the 10. Lane scored on a 10-yard run on the next play and the PAT was blocked to make the score 34-13.

The Red Foxes started their next drive at the 32 and Taylor completed three straight passes to Pendergrass of 22, 16, and 18 yards. Four plays later McMilliam scored from the one and the PAT made it 34-20.  Camden then started their final scoring drove of the game from their 30. It took 9 plays, all on the ground, with Lane going around right end on a 26-yard burst for a touchdown. The PAT made it 41=20 with 8:51 left in the game.

Hartsville got a touchdown with 4:40 left on a 13-yard pass to round out the scoring for both teams.  Pendergrass caught 7 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Taylor completed 10 of 22 passes for around 187 yards and one touchdown. No Red Fox running back netted over 30 yards.

Next week Camden will host Fort Mill (1-2) while Hartsville will travel to Conway (0-2).

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