September 24, 2009

Cole Camp Crumbles Under SCR-I Defensive Pressure in 34-20 Tigers' Victory

A 6:00 a.m. departure time and more than four hours on the bus weren't enough to prevent Scotland County from improving to 3-1 on the football season with a 36-20 victory at Cole Camp on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers weathered the lengthy trip to the Blue Birds home, located south of Sedalia. Neither team looked sharp early in the contest, which kicked off at 2:00 p.m., as opposed to the normal Friday night under the lights.

Brandon Garnett returned the opening kickoff to near midfield, but the Tigers went three and out on their first offensive possession. Sabe Sears broke up a third down pass play by Cole Camp to force the home squad to punt on its first possession as well.

The Tigers came to life on the second possession of the game. Sears connected with Kyle Shelley on pass plays of 24 and 18 yards to quickly get SCR-I in scoring position. The junior quarterback then ran the ball in from three yards out with 7:31 left in the first period. The PAT kick failed, leaving the score at 6-0.

Cole Camp struck right back. Chad Wasmer connected with Tyler Harris on a 36-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 6-6 with 3:50 remaining in the opening quarter.

The fans barely had found their seats when the next score went up on the board. Cody Taft broke a 64-yard touchdown run for Scotland County with 3:13 on the clock. Rodney Sears ran in the two-point conversion to put the Tigers on top 14-6.

The Bluebirds returned the favor, putting together a lengthy drive behind the rushing attack of Harris. The senior tailback put the ball in the end zone on a five-yard run with 10:12 remaining in the second period. The PAT kick left Cole Camp trailing 14-13.

A failed onside kick gave SCR-I good field position after Will See pounced on the loose ball around midfield. The Tigers twice converted on fourth down attempts to keep the drive alive. But SCR-I eventually was forced to punt after backing itself up with a pair of costly penalties.

Cole Camp marched the ball 84-yards in less than three minutes. Wasmer hit Aaron Weller for a 31-yard completion to get the drive started. Nick Farris then broke a 31-yard run before being knocked out of bounds at the one-yard line. Harris punched it one play later. The PAT made it 20-14 with 1:00 minute left in the first half.

Scotland County looked poised to retake the lead, driving the ball into scoring position. Taft broke runs of 12 and 38 yards to put the ball in the red zone. But the Tigers turned the ball over with a fumble allowing Cole Camp to run out the clock on the first half.

The Scotland County defense came to life in the second half. The Bluebirds took the opening kickoff of the second half, but failed to move the chains.

The Tigers experienced no such problem. Actually they didn't need to move them, as Taft broke a 68-yard touchdown run with 9:46 left in the third period to tie the game at 20-20.

The two teams traded punts on the following possessions. Harely Stone gave SCR-I excellent field position when he picked off a Cole Camp pass at the 32-yard line.

Taft immediately found pay dirt, scoring on a 32-yard run, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty.

All that did was add 10-yards to the total of the following scoring play as the senior tailback took a screen pass from Sears and rumbled 42-yards for the touchdown, bowling over no less than three would-be tacklers en route to the score. The PAT was no good, leaving SCR-I on top 26-20 with 3:50 left in the quarter.

Less than 60 seconds later, SCR-I added to the advantage as the defense struck again. Safety Brock Bondurant picked off a Cole Camp pass and followed a caravan of blockers 42 yards to the touchdown. Taft ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 34-20 with 2:47 left in the third period.

That play seemed to seal the deal for Scotland County, as Cole Camp never mounted another threat.

The Tigers could have added to the final margin, but penalties, the Achilles heal of their 3-1 start, took their toll on the fourth period.

Rod Sears broke a 19-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, but the play was called back on a holding call.

The Tigers ultimately were forced to punt, but got the ball right back when Will See recovered a Cole Camp fumble. SCR-I quickly moved into scoring position again as Sabe Sears connected with Brandon Garnett on a 26-yard pass play.

But penalties again backed up the drive and forced SCR-I to turn the ball over on downs.

Stone made his second interception of the contest and returned it 18 yards for the touchdown, but yet another yellow hankie nullified the score as SCR-I was flagged for an illegal substitution.

Sabe Sears ended the final Cole Camp possession with the team's third interception of the contest and SCR-I ran the clock out on the 34-20 win.

The Tigers defense limited Tyler Harris to 107 yards on 24 carries. Cole Camp did complete 11 of 16 pass attempts for 167 yards but the SCR-I defense forced four turnovers.

Kyle Shelley was all over the field on defense, finishing with a game-high 17 tackles. Cody Taft made 15 stops while Brandon Garnett had 11 tackles and Justin Winn made 10 stops.

Taft ran the ball just 16 times for Scotland County racking up 230 total yards and two TDs on the ground. He also caught a 42-yard touchdown pass. Sabe Sears completed seven of 10 pass attempts for 144 yards. Kyle Shelley had four receptions for 63 yards. Garnett made two grabs for 40 yards.

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