Dragons see improvements, fall to Fighting Irish in homecoming game
The Cameron Dragons hosted Lafayette’s Fighting Irish for the final home game of the season last Friday, September 30.
The Dragons offense was unable to deliver in the first quarter, while the defense picked up the slack by recovering a fumble, only allowing a single Fighting Irish touchdown with 6:25 left to play, and forcing a turnover on downs that gave the home team the ball on their own 40 yard-line to begin the second quarter.
The Fighting Irish finished their first drive of the second quarter with a six-yard quarterback keeper touchdown run, stretching their lead to 13-0 after a fumbled PAT attempt resulted in an failed two-point conversion. The opposing team found the end zone once more in the before halftime, and the Dragons were left trailing by a margin of 20 points going into the third quarter.
Cameron’s offense put a dent in the deficit early in the second half, when junior Joe Bryant carried the ball for a Dragons touchdown, and senior Dawson Cox ran for a successful two-point conversion, making the score 20-8. The Fighting Irish then answered with a kickoff return to the Dragons’ 20 yard-line, resulting in a touchdown. Lafayette squeaked one additional touchdown by the Dragons before the end of the third quarter with a failed two-point conversion, and, with one quarter left to play, the home team found themselves behind 33-8.
In a defensive fourth quarter, junior Parker Whitacre intercepted the ball on the Irish’s 38 with 8:45 left in regulation. This drive was inconclusive. Neither team was able to put up six for the remainder of the game, although the Fighting Irish picked up two via a safety with 1:40 left, and the Dragons were conquered 35-8.
For the defense, stat leaders included senior Joseph Roach who picked up five tackles, seven assists, and two sacks, senior Dawson Cox with seven tackles, senior Matthew Simmons with six tackles, eight assists, and a sack, and junior Jaxson Frazier with five tackles and four assists.
On offense, stat leaders included junior Joe Bryant, who rushed for an average of 6.3 yards per carry for a total of 57 yards in 9 attempts and picked up the touchdown, and Dawson Cox, who rushed for an average of 3.2 yards per carry for a total of 63 yards in 20 attempts.
“Our record isn't want we thought it would be at this point in the season, but that hasn't changed how hard our players are working.” Head Coach John Kliewer said. “I thought we played more physical than we had been in recent weeks. I think our guys are getting more and more comfortable with each other and gaining more confidence in themselves and their abilities every week. For the most part our defense did a really good job of keeping their mobile quarterback in the pocket. He still made some great throws, but I think our guys played a much better game than in recent weeks.
“Getting guys back from injuries this week helped us a lot. Just having older guys on the field was something that would help any team trying to improve. But overall we played with more composure this week, again I think our guys are gaining confidence in themselves and each other.”
As for the remainder of the season, coach Kliewer remains hopeful. “We still have a couple weeks left before Districts playoffs start, if we get more guys back from injury and keep improving, I feel like this team has the talent to put a great game together and play our best at the end of the season.”
The Dragons will travel to take on the Benton Cardinals this Friday, October 7.