Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early Schedule Should Keep Camden on Toes; Wildcats Begin Defense of Football State Title Today in Atlanta against Grayson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early Schedule Should Keep Camden on Toes; Wildcats Begin Defense of Football State Title Today in Atlanta against Grayson

Article excerpt

Byline: HAYS CARLYON

There are few holes on Camden County's football resume under coach Jeff Herron.

The Wildcats have lost just seven games in the last seven seasons. They will be going for an eighth consecutive region title this fall.

However, there is one final achievement Camden can reach that will solidify its dynasty. The Wildcats will try to repeat as Class AAAAA state champions this season.

The Wildcats rolled to a 15-0 record last year. A repeat performance would be Camden's third state championship since the 2003 team also finished 15-0.

They will open the season today against Grayson at 5:30 p.m. in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

"We're hoping our strengths will be the same this year as they were last year," Herron said. "We want to be a physical offensive team that controls the football and plays tough defense."

Camden will certainly be tested by the time the postseason arrives. After a game against Grayson, a state semifinalist last season, the Wildcats host two quality out-of-state teams in Jacksonville First Coast on Sept. 4 and national-power Hoover (Ala.) the following week. The Hoover-Camden game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

Herron is hopeful the early season gauntlet will help his veterans focus and not fall into the championship malaise some teams encounter.

"Our 2004 team didn't handle winning the state title real well," Herron said. "We won 13 games and reached the semifinals, but I never felt we became as good as we should've been. So far, the chemistry on this team has been great. Hopefully, our early season schedule will force us to grow up in a hurry."

Usually, playing Camden makes teams grow up in a hurry. First Coast annually is one of the top teams in Northeast Florida, but it will be a heavy underdog to the Wildcats.

"Camden runs right at you and forces you to stop it," First Coast coach Marty Lee said. …

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