Campbell County came into Friday night’s District 3 football opener at rival Anderson County with a solid game plan.
Once again, however, the Cougars proved to be their own worst enemy, and mistakes killed any chance they had of upsetting the state’s fourth-ranked Class 5A team on its home field.
The unbeaten Mavericks (2-0) rode the strong left arm of all-state quarterback Tanner Williams to a 56-7 victory. Williams, a senior who was hospitalized just two weeks earlier with an unknown viral infection, put up PlayStation-type numbers during an otherworldly first-half performance. He completed 18 of 23 passes for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns before AC coach Davey Gillum began sending the subs in.
Williams went 22-of-32 for 456 yards and 5 touchdowns the previous week to lead a 55-29 destruction of Morristown East.
“He’s healthy,” said Gillum.
“I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but he threw the ball real well tonight. They kept fumbling the ball, and we got great field position out of it.”
Anderson County drove from its own 34-yard line to the Cougars’ 33 on the opening possession but was turned away when senior defensive tackle Keenan Evans sacked Williams for a big loss near midfield. Campbell County fumbled the ball right back, and the Mavericks were quick to take advantage. Two plays later, senior running back Creighton Hutson scored from the 8. The point-after kick was wide left.
A shanked punt led to Anderson County’s second touchdown. Three plays after the Mavericks took possession at the Campbell County 30, Williams hit Dylan Sain with a 21-yard TD strike. Hutson ran for the 2-point conversion and a 14-0 Anderson County lead with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars fumbled an option pitch on their next series. Anderson County wasted little time in capitalizing on the miscue, as Josh Mayes fired a halfback pass to Zane Roberts for the touchdown. Caleb Brubaker kicked the PAT for a 21-0 AC advantage with 5:37 to go.
Brandon Long struck a blow for the Cougars (0-3 overall) when he scooped up a Mavericks fumble and raced 24 yards to the end zone for a touchdown with 3:06 left. Wesley Cook added the PAT kick to get Campbell County within 21-7.
Hutson ran for another touchdown to close out the first quarter with Anderson County leading 28-7.
The Mavericks scored three times in the second quarter. Williams connected with Avery Oaks on a 51-yard TD pass play and hit Mayes with a 49-yarder just before halftime. Hutson scored on a 10-yard run.
Anderson County held a commanding 49-7 lead at intermission.
"You're not going to stop them, but we couldn't even slow them down," said Campbell County coach Dewayne Wells.
"They play well in space, and we don't. It's as simple as that."
Sophomore Alex Hamel scored the only touchdown of the second half. He opened the fourth quarter with a 3-yard TD run.
The Mavericks finished the game with 23 first downs to 13 for the Cougars. Anderson County also piled up 522 yards of total offense, with 415 of that through the air.
Campbell County had 180 yards of total offense, with over 100 yards of that on the ground. Quarterback Tuffy Shoupe was 9-of-16 passing for 67 yards and 1 interception. Isaac Phillips caught 6 passes for 45 yards. Cook and Shoupe rushed for 50 and 41 yards, respectively.
Brandon Long’s older brother Donovan, a senior, was in on eight tackles, recovered 2 fumbles and deflected a pass the previous week against White County.
The Cougars will host Karns tomorrow (Fri.) night for another district game.