It was a disappointing way to end the season for the senior members of Campbell County High School’s football team.
However, the Cougars’ underclassmen may view Friday’s 33-3 loss to District 3-AAA runner-up Oak Ridge as the catalyst for a breakout season in 2010.
Sophomore Rafael Izquierdi kicked a 27-yard field goal to score the only points of the game for Campbell County, but the Cougars (2-6 district, 3-7 overall) were in the game until the Wildcats (7-1 district, 7-3 overall) completed a long touchdown pass play with around two minutes left in the first half.
“We got after them pretty good,” said Campbell County coach Dewayne Wells.
“We should’ve scored (more). We moved the ball on them. Next year we are going to be a junior/sophomore-dominated team. We’re going to surprise some people.”
The Wildcats seemed surprised when Izquierdi cut into their 12-0 lead with his kick, which came with 3:56 left before halftime.
Almost two minutes later, Oak Ridge quarterback Bradley Zulliger hit Tyrus Henderson from 39 yards out to make it 19-3 at intermission.
The Cougars couldn’t find the end zone in the second half, but sophomore quarterback Tuffy Shoupe picked up 107 yards on 20 carries while running Campbell County’s version of the Georgia Tech flex option offense.
“The last couple of games, he’s gotten a lot better,” said Wells.
“You’ve got to remember that he’s only a sophomore. He’s starting to catch on.”
A 12-7 homecoming win over Knoxville Central on Oct. 9 had given Campbell County hope of making a third consecutive playoff appearance.
But injuries have taken their toll on the Cougars all season long.
“We didn’t have the same 11 (players) on the field two weeks in a row,” said Wells.