High School Sports

Football preview: Camden

The Camden Bulldogs enter the 2008 football season as a team in a mission in the wake of two straight losing seasons.

The task will not be easy, if only because Jimmy Neal’s squad has a demanding schedule and a new region home that features Class 3A powerhouses Wilson, Marlboro County and Crestwood.

To make a serious run at a winning season, the Bulldogs simply must get a lot better on offense. Camden went back to the spread attack a year ago and the results were not impressive. Neal’s team was shut out four times, scored a meager 146 points in 11 games and turned the ball 22 times.

A lot of pressure will be on new quarterback Josh Council, a junior. The top returning running back is SaVonn Wingate, who ran for 416 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards a carry after taking over the job in midseason as a freshman. Blake Walker and Jonathan Marshall, who led the team in receiving last season with 15 and 14 receptions, respectively, are back for more. Three starters return on the offensive line.

Senior linebacker Chris Outten, junior lineman Roland Johnson and junior defensive back T.J. Perkins are the headline returners on defense. Outten led Camden with 83 tackles last season, Johnson finished with 56 tackles including nine tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks and Perkins had 43 tackles, three pass break-ups and two interceptions.

The Bulldogs have a tough season opener at historic Zemp Stadium against Hartsville on Aug. 29. Camden also has tough outings with West Florence and neighboring Lugoff-Elgin on the non-region slate.