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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Campbell County cruises past Ryle, 51-20

Written by Richard Skinner
Enquirer contributor
Before Campbell County senior quarterback Tyler Durham did his usual damage running the football, he continued to show his improvement and evolvement as a passer.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Durham completed 7 of 9 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first three quarters, before rushing for 93 of his 118 yards and three touchdown over the final three quarters in leading the Camels to a 51-20 win over Ryle on Friday at Bob Miller Stadium at Campbell County Middle School in Alexandria.
The win clinched a second straight Class 6A, District 6 regular-season championship for Campbell County (5-3 overall, 3-0 in the district), while Ryle (3-5, 1-2) must either beat Dixie Heights next week or have Boone County lose to Campbell County to finish in at least the top four in the district.

Durham became Campbell County’s full-time starter at quarterback four games into last season and was an extremely effective runner, but struggled as a passer. Over the last six regular-season games, Durham rushed for 970 yards and 11 touchdowns on 190 carries and then had 213 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries in a first-round playoff win over Lexington Tates Creek, but completed just 32 of 66 passes for 440 yards, seven interceptions and no touchdowns over those final six games.

He has continued his effectiveness as a runner this season, having gained 1,103 yards and 13 touchdowns on 103 carries heading into Friday’s game, but also his improvement as a passer. After Friday’s game he has completed 51 of 114 passes for 947 yards, seven touchdowns and only four interceptions.

“He’s been so calm the past few weeks throwing the football,” said second-year Campbell County head coach Stephen Lickert, who has led a team to four straight district titles after his last two teams at Holmes won Class 4A, District 5 titles in 2009 and 2010. “We’re simplifying it for him and we’re making it easy and those receivers are out there catching the football and when we’re catching it and we’re protecting him, he’s a good passer. We just didn’t have time to work on it last year. We’re going to pass it as much as we need to do to win the game. We kept them off balance tonight.”

A Durham turnover on a fourth-down play in which he dropped into punt formation only to fumble the ball, recover it and get sacked at the Camels 28, helped Ryle jump out to a 7-0 lead a little less than four minutes into the game.

After Campbell County closed to within 7-3 on its next possession on a 23-yard Grant Mahoney field goal, Durham hooked up with speedy junior receiver Jake Zabonick on a 63-yard touchdown pass on a 3rd-and-20 play to put the Camels on top for good at 10-7 with eight seconds left in the first quarter.

The speedy Zabonick, who has the school record in the 100-meter dash, made a finger-tip grab and despite stumbling a bit and almost falling, stayed on his feet and raced untouched for the score.

“He’s really hard to overthrow,” said Durham. “He’s just so fast off the line.”

Zabonick finished with 102 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions and senior receiver Bobby Moore had 103 yards on five receptions.

“He’s gotten a lot better as a passer,” said Zabonick. “He’s more comfortable and he’s worked at it. We just worked on it over the summer and we’re all getting real comfortable together.”

Durham’s eight-yard TD on the Camels next possession upped the lead to 17-7 with 6:39 left in the first half and then Lickert used a couple of trick plays, one over the waning seconds of the first half, and the other to start the second half, that quickly put Campbell County up 31-7.

On the first play following an interception by Campbell County senior Paul Griffis with 11 seconds left in the half, Durham handed off to junior Avery Wood on an end around, but Wood pulled up and hit a wide open Zabonick for a 30-yard TD pass with 4.9 seconds left in the first half.

Campbell County then recovered an onside kick to start the second half and six plays later Durham passed 11 yards off play-action to a wide open Wood for a touchdown.

“It makes it tough to defend us,” said Lickert, whose team has averaged 36.0 points per game over the last four games. “We’ll run power one way and then we’ll run pass off it the next play, so teams don’t know what to do: am I going to force the play and stop Durham or am I going to let them pass it? They decided to let us pass it and we made plays.”

Ryle 7 0 6 7 -- 20
Campbell County 10 14 7 20 -- 51

R-Pulice 4 run (Mead kick)
CC-FG Mahoney 23
CC-Zabonick 63 pass from Durham (Mahoney kick)
CC-Durham 9 run (Mahoney kick)
CC-Zabonick 30 pass from Wood (Mahoney kick)
CC-Wood 11 pass from Durham (Mahoney kick)
R-Pulice 5 pass from Davis (run failed)
CC-Durham 7 run (kick blocked)
R-Baumann 25 pass from Davis (Mead kick)
CC-Durham 40 run (Mahoney kick)
CC-Howard 5 run (Mahoney kick)

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


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