Early aerial assault puts Vikings out of reach
The Cameron Dragons made quick work of the Northeast Kansas City Vikings in a 63-0 rout last Friday during the home opener at Dave Goodwin Field.
Senior Cameron quarterback Ty Campbell, who completed 8 of 10 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, credited the Dragons jumping out to a 32-0 lead by the end of the first quarter to Coach Jeff Wallace’s up-tempo offense Campbell believes set the tone of the entire game.
“That’s all Coach (Jeff) Wallace says in practice – tempo, tempo, tempo. We’re just trying to wear out the other team and get some easy scores in,” Campbell said. “I felt pretty good. I started off rough with two incomplete passes, but after that Coach Wallace and Coach (Ben) McGee calmed me down.”
Campbell, who also rushed for a pair of touchdowns on the ground while averaging 12 yards per carry on five attempts, set up the first touchdown with a carry inside the 5-yard-line and junior receiver Ty Speer punched it in on a misdirection play. Following a three-and-out by the Cameron defense, who allowed -4 total yards last Friday, Campbell then hit senior receiver Ian Riley from 51 yards out.
“Very seldom, no matter who you’re playing, do you completely dominate the person on the other side of the field,” Coach Wallace said. “I think we did that tonight. I was proud of them. None of us have had very much practice and tonight was the product of having everybody back. They understand the mission. They understand their goals. They understand the systems and these kids are hungry.”
Another Cameron three-and-out led to another Campbell touchdown pass, this time to Ty Speer from 45 yards out. With a double-digit, three-score lead Cameron kept the ball on the ground, opting to junior Dom Hurst for 121 yards on 16 carries for a touchdown, then giving the bulk of the carries to junior Hunter Burton, who rushed for two touchdowns on 12 carries for 105 yards. As the quarters continue and Cameron’s lead became insurmountable, the Dragons began working deep into their depth chart in order to preserve the first and second string for next Friday against the Southeastern Kansas City Knights.
One aspect that may have gone unnoticed was Cameron’s the new-look 3-4 defense. Linebacker Camren Hedgpeth said the new system allows defensive players to swarm to the ballcarrier easier and that was evident Friday night.
“It’s not just the linebackers making tackles this year. It’s not all on us anymore. The D-line has really stepped up this year. The secondary has stepped up this year,” said Hedgpeth, who racked up six tackles, one sack and three behind the line of scrimmage Friday night.
The Dragons will hit the road to face the Southeast Kansas City Knights, who return from last Friday undefeated after edging Kansas City Central 19-12. Although focused on week-to-week improvement, Wallace said he tries to relish every game because at any point the season, the semester could come to an end due to COVID-19.
“You never know so we’re going to approach every game like it could be our last one,” Wallace said. “I thought our kids did a pretty good job tonight. Our effort was good and we were great tacklers, we probably need to stay on our blocks a little bit more … I promise you, after game one, everyone has a long way to go and so do we.”