|Camden hangs on to end Charger streak, season
|Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 6:58 pm
In a game that featured great efforts by both squads, it was the Westview Chargers who came out on the gut-wrenching short end, falling 20-17 to the host Camden Lions in the TSSAA Class 3A Playoffs Friday night.
Blocked — For the second week in a row, the Westview special teams unit swatted down a point after kick. During the season-ending 20-17 loss to Camden last Friday night, the blocked PAT with just 3:25 remaining in the contest kept the Chargers close and
Camden overcame the loss of its starting quarterback, while the Chargers twice made late drives in their comeback attempt.
The defeat ended Westview's seven-game winning streak and their 2009 playoff run.
"It’s tough for either team to lose a game like tonight. I thought both teams played extremely hard and, overall, played well," Westview head coach Don Coady said.
With the loss, the Chargers' season ends with a 7-5 record. Camden (11-1) will advance to the Class 3A quarterfinals, where it will square off against the undefeated Milan Bulldogs at 7 on Friday night in Milan.
In the see-saw game, Camden regained the lead late in the fourth with an 11-play, 62-yard march led by back-up QB Derek Easley. Easley replaced standout starting signal caller Michael Gaskin, who went down with an ankle injury mid way through the third quarter. Easley, who was the Lions' leading receiver in the game before shifting to QB, completed 1-of-2 passes on the drive. Camden stayed on the ground primarily, twice converting third downs to keep the chains moving. Trae White carried three times for 17 yards and caught Easley's lone completion of the game. Devon White ran three times for 18 yards. Easley had a three-yard sneak to convert a third-and-one, and Maurice Whitfield ran the ball twice, including a five-yarder for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:25 remaining in the game.
After the TD, Easley had to fill in again for Gaskin as holder. Place-kicker Tanner Hudson's point after try was low, and a surge by the Westview defenders allowed the kick to be knocked down, keeping the Chargers a field goal away from tying the contest at 20-17.
The Chargers started the ensuing drive at their own 37. The WHS offensive line opened a huge hole for running back DeMarcus Williams to gallop through for 16 yards to move into Lion territory. Fullback Chevy Taylor romped for 14 on the next snap to move the line of scrimmage to the CHS 33. On first down, Westview quarterback Tanner Spencer tried to fire a pass over the middle to Seth Waterfield, but Lion defensive back Kyle Blackburn stepped in front and picked off the pass at the 17-yard line and returned it to the Camden 36.
"The blocked extra point gave us a shot to get back down the field and keep it to within a field goal. Unfortunately, we turned it over on that possession, but the defense did a nice job to get the ball back and give ourselves one more opportunity," Coady said.
With just 2:22 left in the fourth frame, Westview's Logan Callins and Jake Vincent hauled Whitfield down in the backfield for a three-yard loss. Coady immediately signaled for a timeout. Devon White rushed for two yards before Jalen Griggs brought him down, and again Coady got a timeout. On third down, Easley picked up eight yards, but was shy of the first.
Facing fourth down, Easley again had to fill in for the injured Gaskin — this time as punter. The junior came through for the Lions booming a punt that took a long Camden roll before coming to rest 39 yards later at the Westview 23-yard line with just 1:07 left in the game.
CHS was whistled for an offsides penalty to give Westview five free yards. After an incompletion thanks to a tip by Trae White on a pass intended for Matt Melton, Spencer found Waterfield in the flat for a seven-yard gain and a first down to the WHS 35. Spencer then rushed for seven yards before stepping out of bounds to stop the clock with 43 ticks left.
On second down, Mark Tucker made a catch in the left flat good for 12 yards into CHS territory before getting out of bounds with 36 seconds remaining. On first down from the 46, Spencer again found Melton over the middle for a seven-yard gain to the 39. Tucker made his second catch to move the ball to the 28, where with only five seconds remaining, Landon Prather came onto the field to try a game-tying 45-yard field goal. Prather's kick was on target, but landed short of the goal posts in the end zone.
"That’s awfully far for (Prather). We were asking him to do a job that at this stage in his career is a long shot. We had no options. We had no timeouts, didn’t have enough time to realistically get another play off. We had to give it a shot, and that’s what you practice for. It’s a tough kick for a high school kid," the WHS coach noted.
With 1.5 seconds left in the season for the Chargers, Easley took the snap and then a knee to begin the Camden celebration.
"It’s high school football and those things happen. I thought our kids did a great job of keeping their heads in the game and not giving up on themselves and giving themselves an opportunity to win at the end," Coady commented.
It was the Chargers who had the first reason to celebrate in the game. After the Westview defense forced a punt to halt the inaugural Lion drive, the Chargers put together a nine-play, 58-yard march mixing Spencer passes and runs with Williams runs. Spencer was 3-for-3 on the drive, completing passes to three different receivers. Waterfield caught one for eight yards. Tucker had a nine-yard catch, and Melton hauled in a 19-yard completion. Westview converted twice on third down, and Williams rushed three times for 17 yards. The final Williams rush came on first-and-goal from the seven. Williams dodged a tackler in the backfield and went around the end for the TD with 5:31 to play in the first quarter. Prather's kick was true for a 7-0 Westview edge.
Camden responded on its next drive, with Gaskin twice connecting with Easley for gains of 24 and 28 yards. Whitfield took the scoring honors with a five-yard run. Hudson's PAT knotted the score at 7-all with 1:32 to play in the first quarter.
Westview's next drive ended in a punt, while the third Lion drive was halted by Will Thompson picking off Gaskin. WHS earned a first down on an 18-yard screen pass to Williams, but turned the ball over on downs with 3:19 left in the half.
Starting at their own 28, Camden's Whitfield picked up 37 yards on five carries. Easley made a leaping grab along the sideline for a 24-yard completion, and Gaskin ran through WHS defenders at the goal line to score as time expired in the first half. Hudson booted the PAT to send the Lions into the locker room with a 14-7 lead.
Westview took the kickoff to begin the third quarter. Big plays in the drive included Spencer hitting Melton for an 18-yard completion and a completion to Tucker over the middle for a 24-yard gain. A Williams run picked up 17 yards to the CHS 12-yard line, but from there the Chargers were unable to move the chains. Prather cut the Camden lead to 14-10 with a 27-yard field goal with 8:03 left in the third.
Camden then looked like it would add to its lead, facing third-and-goal from the Charger 5. Whitfield was stopped by Tevin Evans and Bryce Hawks for no gain. Going for it on fourth down, an Easley pass was batted down by Barkley Legens to give WHS the ball at its own 5 with 1:26 left in the third.
Spencer then completed all four pass attempts, including twice to convert third downs. Westview picked up five first downs before Williams scored from five yards out. Prather's kick put Westview on top 17-14 with 8:15 left in the game.
The loss ends the high school football career of Westview seniors Mark Tucker, Chevy Taylor, Tremaine McKinley, Matt Melton, DeMarcus Williams, Bradley Hahn, Matt Smith, Bryce Hawks, Blake Pullen and Brian West.
TSSAA Class 3A Playoffs Second Round
Westview 7 0 3 7—17
Camden 7 7 0 6—20
WHS — DeMarcus Williams 7 run, (Landon Prather kick), 5:31
CHS — Maurice Whitfield 5 run, (Tanner Hudson kick), 1:32.
CHS — Michael Gaskin 6 run, (Hudson kick), 00:00.
WHS — Prather 27 field goal, 8:03.
WHS — Williams 5 run, (Prather kick), 8:15.
CHS — Whitfield 5 run, (kick blocked), 3:25.
First Downs 20 22
Rushes-yards 28-150 50-222
Passing yards 186 97
Comp-Att-Int 16-21-1 7-13-1
Punts 1-36 2-28.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-25 4-20
Rushing — Westview, DeMarcus Williams 12-84, Chevy Taylor 7-41, Tanner Spencer 7-18, Matt Melton 1-7, Abraham Haddad 1-0; Camden, Maurice Whitfield 20-122, Devon White 10-41, Trae White 4-28, Michael Gaskin 12-22, Derek Easley 4-9.
Passing — Westview, Spencer 16-21-1 186; Camden, Gaskin 4-9-1 88, Easley 3-4-0 9.
Receiving — Westview, Melton 5-58, Mark Tucker 4-56, Seth Waterfield 5-48, Williams 1-18, Brian West 1-6; Camden, Easley 4-88, T. White 1-9.
Records — Westview 7-5, Camden 11-1.
Next Game — Westview's season has ended, while Camden will visit Milan with kickoff at 7 on Friday night.
| RSS Support Feed