The Cougars may have traveled to Dan Y. Boring Stadium, but there was certainly nothing boring about their game.
Facing off with one of Tennessee’s top running backs in JaJuan Stinson, Campbell County had a rough hill to climb. The speedy 5-foot-7 junior was made out to be 12-foot tall after having rushed 416 yards the week before against Clinton. That number ranks as the seventh highest mark ever posted in the state.
Against the Cougars, however, he only managed 16 yards in the first half as the Bobcats took the win, 21-7.
“Stinson is one of the best running backs in the state right now,” Ethan Miller said. “Our defense can hold anybody up. As long as we have our minds in the right spot, we can hold anybody up.”
On the night, Stinson only managed 108 yards and one touchdown, a far cry from his 416-yard, five-touchdown performance against the Dragons. However, to some, the offense needed to do its part.
“I believe our defense brought it,” linebacker Jordan Kindred said. “We brought it hard. We were hitting heads and holding them. Stinson had only 16 yards in the first half. He had 416 last week! Our defense did their part, but our offense has got to back us up. You can’t only play one side of the ball.”
Kindred returns after missing most of the season. The senior was sidelined after an ankle injury early, forcing him to cheer from the sidelines.
In Friday’s contest, Kindred finished with a team leading eight tackles, including two sacks. For head coach Justin Price, it was good to see.
“Our defense had kind of been our strong point all season,” the head coach said. “When you look at us pre-season, we thought we’d have Jordan Kindred and Ethan Simpson all season long. You see the difference that Kindred makes out there.”
To Justin Price, Kindred is doing all of those little things that the Cougars have been missing this season.
Although he led the team in tackles, he also helped by forcing runners back to the inside, setting up Nick Bailey, Slaton Allen and Andrew Evans.
Evans finished with seven tackles, while Allen grabbed six. Bailey finished the contest with five. For Kindred, this game was a long time coming, as he had a reason behind his top performance.
“It comes from six or seven months of energy built up in you,” he said. “It’s been wanting to get out, and it got out.”
Following the game, Kindred and Miller both challenged their team. Kindred said the offense needed to do its part, while Miller had a different message.
“We need to be a second half team,” Miller said. “We need to play to win. Right now, we’re playing to stay in the game. We need to get in there and smack somebody in the mouth and win this game. I want that mentality from this team.”
Matt Price, defensive coordinator, had much the same to say, saying that finishing was what they were having trouble with.
“Our kids have learned to battle,” the defensive coordinator said. “They’ll battle with anybody out there. If the Tennessee Vols lined up out there, we’d battle them, but we’ve got to learn to finish.”
Either way, to Justin Price, that moment in the postgame huddle was a welcome sight.
“Every year, you have those moments,” the head coach said. “You don’t really explain it, and you don’t know when it will happen, but it’s that moment when everybody kind of bonds together. Sometimes it’s early, and sometimes it’s late. It just seems like there was something special about that at the end.”
Central struck first with 5:37 left in the third quarter. Stinson took the ball 52 yards on the first play of their drive. Corey Plont’s point after was good, as the Bobcats led 7-0.
After the Cougars failed to complete on fourth-and-5, the Bobcats again had a chance to score. Stinson took the ball 16 yards across the ground, while catching a pass for 19 yards. The 55-yard drive was capped with Jeremiah Howard going 9 yards for the score. With 8:00 left in the fourth, the Bobcats led 14-0.
Campbell County’s 69-yard drive was highlighted with Ethan Jeffers going five-for-five through the air for 71 yards. Miller finished the drive up from 3 yards out, making the score 14-7 with 4:41 left.
Central’s next drive went for 51 yards and a 21-7 advantage. Stinson went 46 yards across the ground, as he became the lead blocker on the last play. Xavier Johnson went the final 5 yards for the score.