“They didn’t do anything special. It was just straight, physical, downhill football.”
That one quote from Indian Land head coach H.B. Blades told the story from Indian Land High School on Friday night — and simultaneously seemed like an understatement.
Camden rushed for just over 430 yards in a dominating performance on the line, defeating Indian Land, 51-27.
Indian Land (3-6, 1-2) broke the seal on its second drive, going 51 yards on eight plays in just over three minutes. A wild play capped the drive, as quarterback Blake Goode pulled back his first pass attempt, then rolled left and threw a tipped pass, which a diving Jacob Cooley snared to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
Camden (8-1, 3-1) answered in near-immediate fashion, going 69 yards in six plays and taking just shy of two minutes. Bulldog quarterback Jaffari Pearson followed a 36-yard completion down the left sideline with a three-yard dash up the middle, putting his side in front, 8-7. Pearson notched his second scoring run later in the period, putting a 10-yard score just inside the left pylon to provide the Bulldogs a 15-7 advantage.
The homestanding Warriors appeared poised for a huge defensive stand early in the second quarter, pinning the Bulldogs inside their one-yard line on a beautiful punt. Camden shrugged off the starting field position, however, and marched 99 yards — all on the ground — in just seven plays and extended its lead to 23-7 on a three-yard Mikah Davis carry.
“(That was) very key,” said Blades of the drive. “You get them pinned back there, you want to keep them back there, and possibly get a safety. We had them on third down and had the chance to get off the field, and we missed the quarterback in the backfield twice. He scrambled for a first down, and that prolonged the drive.”
Another call-and-answer segment happened later in the first half, as T.J. Thomas punched in a two-yard score to cap a 10-play, 68-yard drive and pull Indian Land within a 23-14 margin. Camden cashed in the ensuing possession, as Willis Lane sprinted 46 yards to the paint on third-and-three to make it 30-14 in favor of the Bulldogs.
It took exactly 57 seconds of second-half play for that lead to further swell. Lane ran nearly untouched up the middle for a 53-yard trip to the house and gave his club a 37-14 margin. A 30-yard Goode-to-Cooley connection on the ensuing drive continued the pattern, as Indian Land knifed the score to 37-20.
A crazy sequence then unfolded, as Indian Land picked off a Camden pass and started a drive at the Bulldog 18. Two plays later, however, Camden returned the favor, jumping in front of an Indian Land toss and beginning its drive from the exact same spot. The Bulldogs then marched 82 yards on seven plays, with Davis notching his second score on a 43-yard touchdown to make it 44-20.
Lane made his third trip to pay dirt midway through the fourth quarter, with his two-yard score making it 51-20. Cooley then grabbed his third touchdown of the night on a 28-yard throw from Goode with 2:20 to play, providing the final margin.
Goode was 17-for-25 for 207 yards for the Warriors, hitting Cooley for three scores. Cooley hauled in six passes for 99 yards, with Deaviaun Qwiy snaring 9 for 92. Thomas carried 24 times for 120 yards, adding a touchdown.
Lane notched just over 250 of Camden’s rushing yards. Davis added nearly 120, with the two combining for five rushing touchdowns. Pearson added 40 rushing yards and two scores.
“They pushed us back, and they beat us up front,” said Blades. “We didn’t do a good job of staying gap-sound. Hats off to them. They did a great job.”
Both teams close the regular season and region play next week. Camden will host Keenan and could win Region 4-3A with a victory, while Indian Land travels to Fairfield Central. Both games are slated for 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.