Cameron running back Dominick Hurst breaks loose on a long gain against East Kansas City last Friday. Following two 200-yard rushing performances Hurst nears the 500-yard rushing mark after two games.Cameron Hedgpeth pulls down an East Kansas City player for one of his team-leading 13 tackles.Kacy Kellerstrauss returns an interception into East Kansas City territory in the first quarter Friday.

Running wild

The Cameron Dragons enter the first week of conference play against St. Pius X with a full head of steam following last Friday’s 34-21 victory over the East Kansas City Bears.

Multiple first-quarter turnovers marred what would have been a dominating performance by Cameron, allowing East Kansas City to remain competitive until the Dragons scored 28 unanswered points to run away with the victory 34-21.

“We just told them to breathe. ‘Relax.’ It was an electric atmosphere. The blood was pumping … They were freaking a little bit,” Cameron coach Jeff Wallace said. “That’s the term we like to use. They were freaking some so we had them slow down a little bit, get some oxygen in their brains. Once we increased the tempo as that quarter went on, [EKC]got tired and we were able to move the ball.”

Following an interception by Tye Speer on the opening drive, the Dragons seemed primed for a rout. Threatening in Bears territory after a pair of double-digit runs by Dominick Hurst, who averaged 7.8 yards per carry while rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns, the Dragons coughed up their first fumble. Two plays later an interception by linebacker Kacy Kellerstauss gave Cameron the ball back on their own 15-yard line only for Cameron to fumble two plays later. 

“[East Kansas City] has some serious speed and they got out a couple of times tonight,” Wallace said. “… When we missed a tackle, which we did, there were two or three kids coming to make the play. “

A sack by senior defensive end Zach Jones led to the first punt of the game, giving Cameron the ball at their own 48-yard line, only for the Dragons to cough it up again on a pick-6 by the Bears to end the first quarter with Cameron down 7-0. A pair of receptions by senior Nick Helmich and junior Brycen Speer  by junior qurterback Ty Campbell, who completed 6 of 19 passes for 85 yards and two TDs, Campbell found Brycen Speer from 5 yards out for Speer’s first TD of the season. The Dragons continued rolling from there with Hurst and Campbell acting as Cameron’s 1-2 combination with Campbell nearly rushing for 100 yards on 10 carries and a TD. When the Bears loaded the box to stymie the Dragons’ rushing barrage, Campbell found Tye Speer from 20 yards for his final TD of the night.

“[Offensively] it was great. I dropped a couple of passes, but that’s alright, you just have to move on to the next play,” Tye Speer said. “It’s always the next play. You can’t worry about the past. We have a long way to go, but more W’s in the future. We just have to work out butts off.”

While the offense settled, becoming more consistent as the night wore on, defense seems the Dragons’ most reliable weapon. Cameron nearly held a feisty Bears offense under 200 yards, with East Kansas City scoring their final two touchdowns as Cameron gave its second-string and junior varsity playing time while going on a 28-0 run in the second and third quarter.

“That team was definitely better than last year. Dom Hurst, that kid is a killer. When we get our blocks, he goes yard,” said Cameron Hedgpeth, who racked up a team-leading 13 tackles in the winning effort. “He has power below the waste. If he passes us, then we know he’s gone. I definitely see more wins in the future.”

The Dragons open conference play against the 1-1 St. Pius X Warriors, who come into Friday’s game after getting back in the win column with a 14-0 victory over St. Michael the Archangel last Friday. With sophomore quarterback Jack Mosh under center, the defensive-minded Warriors eked out 250 yards against St. Michael with 150 coming from the air during a mixed performance by Mosh, who completed two TDs along with two interceptions. The Warriors opened the season with a 49-0 loss to perennial powerhouse Odessa. Although gleeful to face their first conference challenge, Wallace said his primary concern is figuring out where Cameron fell short early on against East Kansas City.

“We have to figure out why we had white jerseys in our backfield early … I felt like tonight, when we wanted to get on the perimeter, we couldn’t do it,” Wallace said. “...  We also need to hang onto the ball. If you don’t hang onto the ball, then it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.”

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