Camden coach Jimmy Neal hoped playing a challenging non-conference schedule would toughen his team up for region play.
It worked as the Bulldogs used a physical running attack and scored on their first possessions of each half in defeating A.C. Flora 27-12 on Thursday at Memorial Stadium in the Region 4-3A opener for both teams.
Camden went 2-3 in the non-region, playing the likes of Hartsville, Lancaster and West Florence, but it got it ready for the defending region champion Falcons.
“Our non-region schedule is a dadgum, bear,” Neal said. “We play some good teams and you learn to be physical or you wilt.”
Brendon Coleman ran for 77 of the team’s 192 yards on the ground, and Ethan Harris returned a fumble 76 yards for a touchdown.
Taylor Kelly and Lance McCray each had TD runs for Camden, which improved to 17-8 all-time against A.C. Flora.
With Camden leading 7-6, the Bulldogs’ Harris picked up a botched snap on an A.C. Flora field goal attempt and returned it 74 yards for the TD and the 13-6 lead with 3:05 in the second quarter.
Barrett Coleman: Camden running back rushed for team-high 77 yards.
Taylor Kelly: Bulldogs’ running back/receiver rushed for 43 yards and a TD and caught four passes for 38 yards.
7: Number of different Camden ball carriers in the game.
2 of 11: What A.C. Flora was on third downs against Camden.
THEY SAID IT
“Great way to start the region. I’m proud of my guys and we got some guys that laid it on the line here.” – Camden coach Jimmy Neal
“The wheels came off tonight … we came out flat and they came out ready to play and ran right at us. We got to do a better job all the way around. It’s game six and we should be getting better, but we took a step back this week.” – A.C. Flora coach Reggie Shaw
HOW THEY SCORED
C – Kelly 23 run (Warnock kick), 7:39
ACF – Riley 24 pass from Greene (kick failed), 7:47
C – Harris 74 fumble return (Warnock kick), 3:05
C – McCray 3 run (pass field), 2:19
C – Rankin 31 pass from Beckley (Warnock kick), 7:51 left
ACF – Greene 1 run (run failed)
Rushing – C: Coleman 18-77, Kelly 6-43, Beckley 6-9, Harris 3-8, McCray 9-34, Jones 1-12, Watson 1-4. ACF: Gist 9-64, Greene 13-10, Watson 9-26, Botkin 1-8
Passing – C: Beckley 7-12-0 77. ACF: Greene 8-14-1 101
Receiving – C: Kelly 4-38, Rankin 2-37, Watson 1-2. ACF: Riley 3-36, Holliday 1-31, Hollingsworth 3-22.