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Chapman Dominates Camden 63-27 To Win AAA Upper State & Advance To Play Rival Dillon In Finals This Saturday At USC

Chapman Dominates Camden 63-27 To Win AAA Upper State & Advance To Play Rival Dillon In Finals This Saturday At USC

By Billy G. Baker


InmanChapman (14-0) punched their ticket to their third AAA state football finals in four seasons with a dominating 63-27 win over vising Camden Friday night and the Panthers will now be preparing for their third meeting against rival Dillon (11-1) in the finals at USC’s Williams-Brice Stadium this Saturday at 3 p.m.

Mikele (Colasurdo) played really well tonight and he recognized the coverages really well, read the free safety, and got the ball where our guys could catch,” said Chapman head coach Mark Hodge in his 8th season at the head coach. “From the protection to the route running, everyone was really dialed in well tonight. Mikele is the guy that makes it all come together and I would not have anyone else back there. As far as I am concerned, he is the best quarterback in the state.

“We like to snap it quick and runs plays and the only bad apart about this is that we can score in two or three plays and our defense is right back out on the field,” said Coach Hodge. “Our coaches do a great job of keeping everything in perspective for our players and we do everything at a very fast pace.”

The Panthers can also come right at you with a strong running game led by senior Dante Smith (5-8, 170). “We have said all along that he is one of the best backs in the state and he is physically strong with great hands and we feel blessed to have him,” said Coach Hodge. “Then when he is not on the field, we have number four Brandon Jones in at running back and he is talented also.”

Then in the receiving corps Dashun Mitchell came into the game with 51 catches for 1,126 yards and 17 touchdowns. Ben Rollins came into the upper state championship with 40 catches for 1.030 yards and 12 touchdowns.  “We have five good receivers like Walt Brice and Carlos Parks we can count on also,” said Coach Hodge.

As far as playing Dillon once again in the finals Coach Hodge said, “We talked the last time we played that if could every season playing each other in the finals that would be a good thing. We have some history with team, and they are a well-coached team.

“This team is more than likely the best all-around team I have had at Chapman,” said Coach Hodge. “It is by far our best offensive group as a unit. What helps prepare us for game is that we get to practice against ourselves every day in practice and with the skill players we have it get us ready to play most anybody.”

Mikele Colasurdo said he learned a lot as an under- study to former HSSR Player of the year Colton Bailey, now at Newberry College. “He taught me a lot about composure and how to handle yourself as the quarterback and a leader of the team,” said Colasurdo. “We have different playing styles but in terms of leadership we are very similar in that regard.

“I can’t say enough about our offensive line and this is one of the most under rated groups on our team,” said Colasurdo. “You do not see a lot of 6-3, 6-4 300 pond linemen on our team. They are doing a great job and I am very proud of them. From top to bottom I agree with Coach Hodge that this is the best team we’ve had at Chapman. My goals are to win the state title next Saturday and they help Georgia State win a Sunbelt Championship.”   

Coach Hodge said the Panthers were starting their fourth or fifth different offensive lineman group against Camden due to injuries. The main three offensive linemen are guard/center Tyler Craft, Tyler Rogers, and Lucas Garrett. The defensive line is held down by Terrell Lamone, Triton McSwain, and nose Gabriel Martin.

   Chapman came into the game with Camden very balanced on offense with their 7,318 yards evenly divided between the pass and room. Senior quarterback Mikele Colasurdo, 6-1, 200. a firm Georgia State pledge completed 8 of 10 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone as the Panthers built a 42-13 lead by halftime. Colasurdo came into the game Friday night having completed 143 of 207 passes for 2,855 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Against Camden four of Chapman’s first six touchdowns were capped off by four two play drives.

With 6:39 left in the third quarter Chapman had built a 42-21 lead and running back Dante Smith had 12 carries for 162 yards at that point. Smith finished with 235 yards on 14 carries including three touchdowns on runs of three, 43, and 67 yards. Smith will come into the Dillon game this week with over 1,725 rushing yards to his credit.

Chapman took the opening kick-off and scored on their third play of a 61- yard scamper by Colasurdo. Jake Cothran made the first of his 9 PAT’s without a miss on the night. The Panthers next two first half scores came on a 79-yard bomb from Colasurdo to receiver Ben Rollins and on a three- yard run by Smith that capped off a 97-yard six play drive and the Panthers led 21-0 with 10:44 to go in the second quarter.

On their possession Colasurdo passed 15 yards to Rollins and then followed up with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Rollins that made it 28-0 with the PA added with 8:18 left in the half.

Camden got on the board with their first score on a 41-yard pass from junior quarterback Jaffari Pearson to Davea Cauthen with 10:44 left in the second period.  

Chapman made it 35-7 with 5:10 left in the half on a 43-yard burst by Smith up the middle and the PAT made it 35-7.   Camden cut the deficit to 35-13 on a six-yard pass from Pearson to Anthony Liles capping off and 53-yard 13 play drive. The two- point run failed. Chapman closed out the half on a 34-yard scoring pass from Colasurdo to Rollins and the PAT made it 42-13 at the half.  

In the second half Camden added two scores on four- yard touchdown run by Willis Lane with 9:50 left in the third and John Copley added a two- point conversion. The final Bulldog score came on a three-yard run by Lane with 9:50 left in the game.

Camden is a team loaded with next level junior talent and they will come into the 2021 season near the top of all AAA polls for sure. “We missed out on a lot of opportunities in the first half and we had several penalties hurt us,” said head Bulldog coach Brian Rimpf. “We got stopped inside the five- yard line twice so you have to get their defense credit. We have had a very good season all-in-all and we are pleased with where we are as a program and we are looking forward to next season.”   

In the second half Chapman added three insurance scores after a big half-time lead. Brandon Jones scored on a four-yard run to make it 49-21 with the PAT at the 6:28 mark of the third period. Smith got loose on a 67- yard scoring run with 9:32 left in the game to make it 56-27 and Panthers used a razzle dazzle play to score their final touchdown. Colasurdo threw a sideways pass to Walt Waddel and then he threw a touchdown pass to Rollins from 35 yards out and the PAT made the final score 63-27 with 6;03 left in the game.

For the game Chapman rolled up well over 500 yards of total offense. Camden has around 275 net yards of offense led by Lane who had over 100 yards rushing.

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