Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tough Loss for Camden

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tough Loss for Camden

Article excerpt

KINGSLAND, Ga. -- It has been an improbable football season so far in South Georgia.

But in a year that has already seen what seems to be an endless stream of last-minute wins and losses, the most unlikely of all may have come on the sodden turf of Chris Gilman Stadium Friday night in front of an estimated crowd of 3,500 rain-soaked, astonished fans.

Trailing 7-6 with 33.7 seconds left and the ball at the Camden County 43 after a shanked punt, Savannah Benedictine quarterback Lamar Owens hit reserve wide receiver Kenny O'Neal's shoulder pads with a Hail Mary pass that bounced high in the air. The freshman made a diving catch off the bounce at the 17. The play accounted for 26 of the Cadets' 45 passing yards in the game.

Then, after a bizarre exchange of illegal procedure calls moved the ball back and forth and two timeouts, reserve placekicker Brandon Mell kicked a 35-yard field goal to give Benedictine its first lead at 9-7 with 9.5 seconds left in the game.

Mell, subbing for injured kicker John Porzio, had missed a 27-yard PAT kick caused by a unsportsmanlike conduct call for celebration after Owens had scored on a 13-yard run to make it 7-6 with 6:07 left.

Camden had one play after the kickoff, with 0.5 seconds left, but quarterback Dane Best's desperation pass sailed out of bounds and the Wildcats lost their second game in a row. Camden is 2-2 heading into Friday's game at 3-1 Glynn Academy, which was idle.

After shaking hands with Tom Brackett of Benedictine, whose Cadets are 4-1, first-year Camden coach Jeff Herron spent a few seconds with his hands on his knees, staring into the wet grass near midfield.

"I don't know that I've ever lost one like this in my whole career," said Herron, who led Oconee County to the Class AAA state championship last year. "I don't know what I'm going to say to the kids. All I know is that we've got to regroup and come back against a very good Glynn team next week."

Though the game against Benedictine and this week's game against Glynn will not count in the standings since Camden is in a different sub-region of 3-AAAAA, a loss is a loss, especially one like this. …

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