Campbell County High School football players and coaches will, no doubt, look back on Friday night’s homecoming game against District 3 rival Clinton as one they let slip through their fingers.
The Cougars, who outgained the Dragons 329 to 313 in total offense, matched or exceeded their opponents everywhere except on the scoreboard, where Clinton won, 34-21.
“We had opportunities, there’s no doubt about that,” said Campbell County coach Dewayne Wells.
“We kept putting ourselves in position until late in the fourth quarter.”
Opportunity number one came knocking not long after the opening kickoff. Cougars linebacker Phoenix Asher recovered a fumble at the Clinton 22-yard line with 7:14 left in the first quarter. On the following play, quarterback Tuffy Shoupe hit tight end Brandon Long with a 22-yard touchdown pass. Wesley Cook booted the extra point for a 7-0 Campbell County lead.
The Dragons (3-1 district, 3-3 overall) marched downfield to tie the game, two minutes later, on senior running back Jeffrey Daniel’s 8-yard touchdown run and Dusty Manning’s PAT kick.
Daniel made two more touchdown runs during the first half to give Clinton a 21-7 lead headed to the locker room at intermission. His second TD came just two plays after linebacker Corey Washington intercepted a Shoupe pass and returned it to the Campbell County 14-yard line.
The Cougars could’ve tied it by halftime but dropped a sure touchdown pass and fumbled inside Clinton’s 5-yard line.
“That drive right before halftime (which ended in the fumble) killed us,” said Wells.
Clinton pulled out to a 20-point lead in the first two minutes of the second half when senior running back Dee Shannon scored on a 66-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Alex Willard. Campbell County senior lineman Keenan Evans blocked the PAT kick.
Later, Evans scored on an 11-yard run to get the Cougars back within two touchdowns. Cook’s PAT kick made it 27-14 with 6:32 left in the third quarter.
Dragons defensive back Jon Albright intercepted Shoupe late in the third to set up yet another Clinton touchdown drive. Heralded sophomore Camion Patrick (100 yds. on 12 carries) took a direct snap out of the wildcat formation and bolted 10 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds to go. Manning’s PAT kick pushed the Dragons’ lead to 20 points again, 34-14.
Evans bulled over from the 2-yard line to score the only points of the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 55 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on just seven carries.
The Cougars rushed for a season-high 274 yards and had two backs approach the century mark. Cook picked up 88 yards on 14 carries, while Shoupe gained 84 yards on 15 totes.
Campbell County return specialist Bo Farris ran back four kicks for a total of 78 yards, which were 33 more than the Dragons gained. Cook nearly matched Clinton’s Manning in the punting department. Cook averaged an outstanding 41 yards on three punts, while Manning averaged 42.7 on three punts.
Defensively, Washington led all tacklers with 16 total hits for Clinton, 11 of which were solo, a quarterback sack and an interception that he returned 43 yards.
Linebackers Chris Shouse and Rafael Izquierdo each had a quarterback sack.
“We put 21 points on the board in our last two games, and that encourages me,” said Wells.
“We’re executing better on offense. Defensively, we’re still giving up big plays, which puts us in a bind.”
The Cougars have a week off before going to Knoxville Central for a district game on Oct. 8.
Harriman blanks Jellico
In a battle of Blue Devils, Harriman shut out visiting Jellico, 45-0, Friday night in a District 4 game.
Ryan Irwin broke a 60-yard run that allowed Jellico to set up shop on Harriman’s 5-yard line. Harriman’s defense made a goal line stand and then turned the ball over to the offense, which proceeded to march 95 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
“You’ve got to be able to score from the 5-yard line,” said Jellico coach Danny Oakes.
“I didn’t feel like we competed at a high level, especially when we got behind.”
Jellico gained only four first downs the entire night.