Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
At the end of four quarters, the final score stood Camden County Wildcats, 14, Valdosta Wildcats, 10.
The tough matchup between region rivals featured a night of defense. Camden County won the turnover battle with an interception on Valdosta’s final drive and a costly fumble that could have been called an incomplete pass. Valdosta’s defense caused a fumble with two minutes left in the game to give their offense one last hope to win the game, but the offense couldn't convert.
“I thought it was two good football teams that battled for 48 minutes,” said Valdosta Wildcat Head Coach Rance Gillespie.
Camden was able to score on their first drive after milking the clock for the first 8 minutes of the game. On a drive filled with all running plays, the Camden Wildcats ran all wing-t plays, and constantly dished the ball to the outside runner, due to the middle being clogged by defensive tackle Darrius Sapp.
On Valdosta’s first offensive drive, the Wildcats went three and out after three straight run plays for a gain of zero yards.
The Valdosta defense had a number of memorable plays throughout the game. Sapp had a big sack on a 4th down when the Camden team went for it deep in Valdosta territory. Defensive back Rashay March also made a critical 3rd down stop on the same drive.
The momentum of the game began to sway once the VHS Wildcat defense forced a safety. Linebacker Anthony Smith was the player who forced Camden running back Kevin Hutchinson into the end zone for the two points.
Receiving the ball back before the half on the safety punt, Valdosta began to piece together a drive. After a catch by Alex Cason, the Wildcats were penalized with an ineligible receiver downfield call that visibly infuriated Gillespie.
Coming back from halftime, Valdosta looked sharp as running back Nelson Herring took off for a 60 plus yard touchdown run. Deciding to go for two points, the Wildcats converted and the score became Valdosta, 10, Camden, 7.
After a long drive, Camden was able to score on a quarterback sneak, giving them the lead 14 to 10.
With four more chances to score, the Valdosta 'Cats could not sustain a scoring drive.
After a fumble by Camden with two minutes left, Valdosta completed a couple of passes to move the ball down field. The drive looked promising until it was ended by Camden's Antonio Winbush interception of sophomore quarterback Seth Shuman.
The Valdosta running game never got going as needed and for the first time this season, the Wildcats were forced to turn to the pass.
The Wildcats will have a chance to regroup this week as they have a bye week before they travel across town to face the Lowndes Vikings on October 11 at 8p.m. at Martin Stadium in the Winnersville Classic.