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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Campbell County continues turnaround with 27-20 win against Ryle

James Weber/Community Recorder
Written by
Richard Skinner
Enquirer contributor
The way Campbell County’s football game with Ryle unfolded on Friday was basically a microcosm of its season: a floundering first half, followed by a flawless second half.
The Camels, who started the season 0-5, rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit that was due in part to them committing four turnovers, by scoring on their first four possessions of the second half for a 27-20 victory at Clifford Borland Stadium in Union to win their third straight Class 6A district game and clinch first place.

With the Ryle defense focusing on junior quarterback Tyler Durham, who rushed 45 times in the game for 260 yards, including 31 carries for 197 yards in the second half alone, senior running back James Popp scored on a 16-yard touchdown run with 3:04 remaining to break a 20-20 tie.
Ryle (5-3 overall, 2-1 in the district) drove to the Campbell County 19 in the final few seconds, but after junior quarterback Nathan Davis was stopped in bounds for zero yards on 3rd-and-6 and with the Raiders out of timeouts, he then spiked the ball on what turned out to be fourth down with 3.2 seconds remaining.

Campbell County coach Stephen Lickert said he made sure his players kept believing in themselves after their turnover-filled first half, just as he had them believing they could turn things around after the 0-5 start.

“We told our kids at halftime we just played the worst half of football we could possibly play and we’re only down 13 points,” said Lickert, who is in his first season at Campbell County after successful head coaching stints at Dayton and Holmes. “Our kids just fight, fight, fight. We believe in them and they believe in their abilities. The team that was 0-5 is just gone. We’re a new football team.”

Popp admitted it was tough coming to practice after so many winless weeks, but that the players kept the faith in the coaches that things would turn around.

“It really is unbelievable to come from 0-5,” said Popp. “There are times you’re at practice and working hard and wondering is this the way it’s going to be all season. To come out here and do this and clinch the district - it’s unbelievable.”

Campbell County (3-5, 3-0) drove into Ryle territory on two of its five first-half drives and started in Ryle territory on two others only to turn it over three times – at the Ryle 24, Ryle 42 and Ryle 6 – and turn it over on downs another time – at the Ryle 19.
It was the sixth time in six games against teams from Kentucky that Ryle didn’t allow a first-half offensive touchdown and the Raiders entered the game having allowed just 10.0 points in their first five games against Kentucky teams.

Ryle took its 13-0 lead thanks to marching 64 yards in 10 plays to start the game, with Davis scoring from two yards out, and taking advantage of a fumbled punt return by Campbell County late in the first quarter that gave the Raiders the ball at the Camels 15. Three plays later Davis raced in from 12 yards out for his 10th rushing touchdown in the last four games. Davis finished with 63 yards rushing on 19 carries and was 14 of 28 passing for 152 yards with two interceptions.

“We felt like in the first half we moved the football well we just turned it over,” said Lickert. “We told the O line at halftime, ‘We’re going to win it because of you.’"

Lickert turned it over to that offensive line and kept calling Durham’s number time and time again. Durham carried 13 times for 59 yards on a 17-play, 80-yard drive that used the first 8:18 of the third quarter and bulled into the end zone from a yard out to pull Campbell County within 13-7.

“We make people stop what we do,” said Lickert. “If they’re not going to stop us then we’re not going to throw the ball just to change it up.”

Durham carried all four times on Campbell County’s next possession for 57 yards, including the final 36 yards for the touchdown that tied it at 13-13 when the extra point try hit the left upright.

Ryle, which will play Dixie Heights this Friday for second place and the right to host a first-round playoff game, retook the lead on its next drive with sophomore backup quarterback Ryan Hill racing in for the score from seven yards out just 40 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Durham touched the ball on all 11 plays of an 80-yard drive that tied the score, including a 36-yard pass to sophomore Jake Zabonick and a one-yard TD run that tied it at 20-20 with 5:47 left.

After Campbell County forced a three-and-out and a Ryle punt, Durham carried five straight times for 47 yards to take the ball to the Ryle 16, where Popp carried it into the end zone.

“They were taking away our outside, so we said let’s keep them honest and pop a trap on them and Popp popped through,” said Lickert.

Durham’s performance comes one week after he rushed for 239 yards on 39 carries in a 50-14 win over Dixie.

“Our defense kept us in the game and we thought we’d be fine in the second half,” Durham said. “We just knew at halftime we had to keep believing and pushing each other and the coaching staff did a heckuva job making us believe.”

Campbell County 0 0 13 14 –27
Ryle 13 0 0 7 –20

R-Davis 2 run (pass failed)
R-Davis 13 run (Mrozek kick)
CC-Durham 1 run (Mahoney kick)
CC-Durham 36 run (kick failed)
R-Hill 7 run (Mrozek kick)
CC-Durham 1 run (Mahoney kick)
CC-Popp 16 run (Mahoney kick)

Records: Campbell County 3-5 (3-0 Class 6A, District 6); Ryle 5-3, 2-1.


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