SUMTER, SC - Hampered by penalties, turnovers and Sumter's nearly flawless
performance, the Camden Bulldogs fell in the 2002 season opener on Friday
night at Memorial Stadium 23-20.
The Gamecocks controlled most of the first half, scoring first on Jeffrey
Taylor's 23-yard field goal with 1:46 left in the first quarter to lead 3-0.
However, after the Camden defense stopped Sumter on downs deep in Bulldog
territory midway through the second period, Jimmy Neal's troops went to
work. Facing a 2nd and 10 at their own 1, quarterback Eric McCollom hooked
up with Todd Glee on a 99-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to take the lead
The energized Camden defense then got the ball back for the offense at the
CHS 49, and it took only three plays to score from there when Randy Hooks
scampered in from 10 yards out to make it 13-3 at halftime.
Sumter came out in the second half and assumed control, capitalizing on CHS
turnovers behind running back Bryant Nelson, whose three touchdowns runs of
3, 4 and 9 yards gave the Gamecocks a 23-13 lead with 10:03 left to play.
But the defending AAA state champs weren't done. Taking the ensuing kickoff
at their own 30, Camden moved 70 yards in just four plays, capped off with
McCollom's 21-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Johnson.
That would be all the scoring, though, as the Dogs had one last chance at
the Sumter 37 with 2:33 left but costly penalties eventually led to the Dogs
turning the ball over on downs.
Statistically, Camden outgained Sumter in total yardage 331 to 252, but
committed 13 penalties for 90 yards to just 7 Gamecock penalties for 50
yards. The Dogs also turned the ball over three times (all in the second
half), while Sumter did not turn the ball over.
Camden outside linebacker Leroy Bracey was named the Sports Connection
Player of the Game for his efforts.
With the win, Sumter now leads the all-time series with Camden 32-29-3. Next
week Camden will host Fairfield Central while Sumter travels to Manning.
SUM - Taylor 23 FG
SUM - Nelson 3 run (Taylor PAT)
SUM - Nelson 4 run (Taylor PAT)
SUM - Nelson 9 run (Taylor PAT)