COLUMBUS, Ohio — Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.)
learned first-hand Monday that a big-play defense and a steady running game can overcome a series of miscues even on the biggest of stages.
Facing a Glenville (Cleveland)
team making its second consecutive appearance in the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic in Ohio Stadium, the Wildcats lost three fumbles including one at their own 21-yard line before a national audience on ESPNU.
Glenville, as it turned out, was considerably sloppier.
Camden County took advantage of 120 yards in penalties by Glenville and intercepted three passes on the way to a 23-14 victory that improved its record to 2-0.
"We didn't play real well, but an ugly win is better than an ugly loss," said Jeff Herron, who has gone 133-15 in 11 seasons as Wildcats coach with three titles at Georgia's Class 5A level. "It wasn't one of the prettiest wins ever, but we were resilient. It seemed like we had 100 turnovers, but we did lose every starter (from last year) on offense and we knew our defense would have to come through for us."
That hope came to pass, with players such as seniors Devlyn Cousin
, Vincent Hollerman
and Shaquan Brock
leading the way. Cousin, who has verbally committed to play for Southern Mississippi, and Hollerman both had tackles for losses. Brock and seniors Damien Butler
and Joseph Patterson
all had interceptions.
According to Brock, who has offers from Chattanooga and Southern Mississippi, Glenville should rival any team on Camden County's schedule in terms of its athleticism.
"We just tried to contain them," Brock said. "We tried to have everybody get to the ball and not have a lot of missed tackles. We had some in the first half but we corrected that in the second half."
Glenville fell to 0-2. The Tarblooders opened with a 17-14 overtime loss Aug. 27 to St. Edward (Lakewood), which is ranked No. 9 in the Xcellent 25 national rankings.
Glenville looked ready early on against Camden County, however, as V'Angelo Bentley
returned a punt 86 yards with 9 minutes, 49 seconds left in the opening quarter to give his team a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing possession, Camden County moved 50 yards and scored on a 20-yard run by Allen Hopkins
with 7:45 to go in the first quarter but missed the extra point to make it 7-6. A facemask penalty on Glenville on third-and-5 from the 33 gave the Wildcats the ball at the Tarblooders' 20 and set up the score.
Glenville made it 14-6 with 2:23 to go in the opening quarter when Bentley recovered a fumble by J.J. Green
and went 27 yards for a score. Green compensated for the mistake on the ensuing kickoff, returning it 71 yards. Hopkins then plunged in from 3 yards on the next play to cut the deficit to 14-13.
The Wildcats took their first lead at 20-14 with 2:03 to go in the first half when Hopkins scored on a 3-yard run on fourth-and-1. That completed a 71-yard drive that took 6:35 to complete. Camden County's final points came on a 45-yard field goal by Keith Pecko with 2:20 to go in the third period.
"It felt amazing being here with my teammates and doing what I could for my team," Hopkins said. "(Glenville is) probably the toughest team we're going to see this year."
Kevonn McKenzie led Camden County with 76 yards on 15 carries, Hopkins had 73 yards on 15 rushes and Green added 49 yards on 11 carries. Junior quarterback Brice Ramsey, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder who has verbally committed to play for Georgia, was 3-for-6 passing for 18 yards in the Wildcats' run-first offense.
"I really feel like this is a good team, especially when you see how well we can run the ball," Ramsey said. "We've been preparing for this team since the summer. I expected (Glenville) to be really aggressive, and just leading the team to victory is all that matters."
Bentley rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries to lead Glenville. Quarterbacks Quan Robinson and Christopher Overton combined to throw for 119 yards and each was intercepted once.
Devan Bogard, who has verbally committed to Ohio State as a safety, had nine tackles. He also was intercepted on his only pass attempt.
"I'm just going to make sure we keep working," Bogard said. "If we work hard, it's all going to come together. This is my team, and I know we're going to bounce back."
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