Dragons make their debut at scrimmage
The Cameron Dragons will see their first live action against an opponent since the end of the 2019 season Friday for their annual preseason jamboree.
The Dragons will host East Buchanan, Lawson and Savannah 6 p.m. Friday as part of a four-way jamboree, which has players excited to take the field following last Friday’s Black and Gold Scrimmage.
“We did pretty good. We were slow to start off, but we were really just nervous,” junior quarterback Ty Campbell said of last Saturday’s scrimmage.
“We’re just really excited to show people the new Dragons, a new era ... We could definitely work on getting the play in faster. We could always improve on everything, but once we got the plays rolling we hustled and hit hard.”
Cameron’s starting offense seemed to find success against its second-string defense, opening the scrimmage with a 14-yard touchdown by receiver Ty Speer on a jet sweep. Campbell found his rhythm early on the next series, hitting receiver Bryson Speer on a 10-yard corner route in the back of the end zone.
Following a Bryson Speer interception after the first-team defense’s reps, Campbell returned to form by connected with running back Tanner Riley on a 60-yard TD on a screen pass, then found pay dirt himself on a 50-yard read-option run. Another interception, this time by linebacker Kacy Kellerstrass, capped off another successful series for the first-string defense before coaches seeded the scrimmage to the junior varsity and freshmen.
“I thought our performance was pretty strong, but it could have been stronger for sure,” said Cameron senior Zachary Jones, who saw significant time with the first-string offensive and defensive line Friday. “We are miles ahead of where we were last year as a unit. I’m pretty proud of us, but I know we can do much better.”
One noticeable change Saturday night was the bulk put on by the linemen throughout the summer strength and conditioning program, coordinated by Cameron Regional Medical Center. Jones said he can feel significant gains since beginning the program at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
“We might not have the height other teams have, but with our size we can get big enough to move people off (the line of scrimmage) and use it to our advantage as far as pulling blocks,” Jones said. “We have a weights program that’s actually going to work and there is no doubt about it, we will be stronger by the end of the year. [The defense] did pretty dang good. We started slow at first, then we picked it up. We’re good, but we need to be ready by the first snap.”
Although facing tough teams such as Savannah, who finished near the top of the standings in the Midland Empire Conference behind Maryville, first-year Cameron coach Jeff Wallace said he will not use Friday’s jamboree as a measuring stick for his team’s progress. Instead, he will use it as an evaluation to see where his players can improve before the Aug. 30 season opener at Northeast Kansas City.
“It’s not a game. It’s still a practice/scrimmage situation. We want to get better at what we do,” Wallace said. “If I’m a lineman, then I’m working on my fundamentals and trying to get better at my schemes. If I’m a linebacker, them I’m not going to miss a tackle and take care of my job in situations. It’s the same with DBs and on and on. We’re working on fundamentals and technique and next week is just an extension of the practice field.”