Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS; Camden Claims No. 1 Win Provides 15-0 Season, First State Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS; Camden Claims No. 1 Win Provides 15-0 Season, First State Title

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT, The Times-Union

VALDOSTA -- In Saturday night's Class AAAAA state championship game, Camden ran its winged-T offense to the same level as its season record -- perfect.

The result was a 21-7 victory against host Valdosta, giving Camden a 15-0 season mark and the first football state championship in school history.

About 4,700 Camden followers packed the visitors stands and surrounded the field to watch their team complete the first unbeaten mark in school history. It left Camden coach Jeff Herron almost numb afterward.

"It's just amazing to me how well this team has played all year," said Herron, who won a state title with Oconee in 1999. "I don't think anyone would have thought we could go through the entire season, only allowing 47 points all year."

While the defense shut down Valdosta's offense, Camden relied on a number of running backs. Using any one of four runners on nearly every play, Camden's ground game took control in the second half. With quarterback Emanuel Bacon running the offense with precision, the Wildcats controlled the clock and line of scrimmage. None of Camden's runners rushed for more than 70 yards, but with five players taking turns in accumulating yardage, Valdosta had a tough time in just determining who had the ball on plays where Bacon would fake to two or three players before handing off.

The visitors finished with 244 rushing yards, much of it coming in the second half.

Following a defensive-dominated first half in which Camden scored the only touchdown late in the second quarter, Camden pushed across a touchdown in the third quarter and added another score on the first play of the fourth quarter. The drives weren't flashy or filled with game-breaking runs, just plenty of 6-, 8- and 10-yard gains by a host of backs.

Darlron Spread had the biggest run of the night when he went 44 yards around right end early in the third quarter, giving Camden a first down inside the 30. From there, it took six more plays before Bacon went leaping into the end zone from 3 yards out.

Shutting down Valdosta's attack with a stunting defense and solid line play, Camden got the ball back late in the third quarter and added its third score. Kevin Patterson, who led the Wildcats in rushing with 69 yards including four runs of 10 yards or more, scored his second TD of the game from 7 yards out.

Valdosta (11-4) averted a shutout when Cedric Hatten connected with Shawn Berrian from 35 yards out midway into the fourth quarter. But the host Wildcats couldn't get their running game on track and Hatten with 4-of-12 passing for just 70 yards, half of it coming on the TD thrown to Berrian.

When Hatten's fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 55 seconds to play, it touched off a wild celebration among the Camden supporters and players on the sidelines. …

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