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Cameron Dragons Overcome Adversity on Way to Postseason

Cameron visits St. Marys Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Cameron’s Noah Neely will be ready to run wild on Friday night as the Dragons travel to take on St. Marys in the first round of the Class A playoffs. Photo by Alex Kozlowski

ST. MARYS — Things could not have started much worse for the 2019 Cameron football team.

In his first season on the sidelines Coach Tim Brown watched his youthful team, which was seriously lacking experience, lose the season opener to West Greene, 61-20, go through a team tragedy and eventually lose three of its first five games.

“We were a young, inexperienced football team going through some adversity early in the season,” Brown said. “A lot of kids, a lot of good football players graduated last year and then we had a few injuries early on.”

But good teams and good coaching staffs persevere, play the hands they are dealt and move on and that is exactly what the Dragons did, rolling off five consecutive victories to cap a 7-3 regular season.

Friday night Cameron will take the No. 11 seed to St. Marys (8-2) as the Dragons look to take the next step in the first round of the West Virginia Class A football playoffs against the No. 6 Blue Devils.

“Our three seniors took on great leadership roles and we had some younger kids really step up to get us to where we wanted to be,” Brown said.

Cameron is coming off it’s bye week after dropping Bridgeport by a 33-22 count in week 10 to put itself in position for the postseason. Meanwhile, St. Marys solidified its position, and home-field advantage in week 12, with a hard-fought 43-34 victory over Tyler Consolidated last Friday.

“The bye week gave us some time to assess ourselves and heal up a little bit,” Brown said.

Sophomore Cole O’Neill returns to the lineup after missing the last five games with an injury while freshman Cade Norris, who has missed the entire regular season, has also been cleared to play for the Dragons this week.

The three seniors who have led the squad are also Cameron’s three major statistical leaders on offense.

Jessop Broughton has had a fine campaign under center, completing 111 of 179 passes for 1,575 yards, 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Noah Neely is the leading rusher with 147 carries for 830 yards and seven scores while Garrett Scott has 44 receptions for 475 yards and eight touchdowns.

There have been plenty of other kids step up including the likes of sophomore Isaac Ball, who had six catches for 177 yards and a touchdown in the season finale at Bridgeport.

During their rugged start the Dragons were outscored by a 107-46 margin during their first five games with a heart-breaking 13-6 loss at Madonna on September 27 finishing off that run.

However, since then Cameron has outscored its opponents by a 144-85 margin in cruising to the regular season finish line with five straight wins.

Coach Jodi Mote’s Blue Devils won their first two games of the season before losing two of three to small school powers Ritchie County (32-2) and Williamstown (35-0) before also finishing with five consecutive victories.

St. Marys had allowed just 54 points in seven of its wins before allowing the Silver Knights to put up 34 last week.

Mote likes to spread the wealth in his offense with proof coming last week against Tyler Consolidated in which four different players ran for touchdowns as the Devils racked up 484 yards on the ground.

Brennan Boron has hit 72 of 143 passes for 1,333 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions and was one of the four players who found the end zone on the ground last week.

Ben Long is the team’s leading rusher with 113 carries for 596 yards and six touchdowns while William Steele had a 42-yard touchdown run against the Silver Knights and six carries for 102 yards. Cyle West ran for three touchdowns a week ago while Richard Dornon also made a trip to the end zone.

Lucas Lipscomb has caught 26 passes for 700 yards, an average of 26.9 a grab, and six touchdowns while Jason Clayton has added 12 for 229 and a score. Darrien Bortley has four sacks on defense while Dylan Patterson has intercepted three passes.

“St. Marys is the only high school in its county and has quite a few kids to pick from and they usually end up with a pretty good mix of freshmen to seniors every year,” Brown said. “They run multiple formations on offense and their defense really comes at you trying to hold you to negative yardage.

“But our kids will be ready to go Friday night. This group came in young and yes, we stumbled out of the gate early, but we ended up getting enough wins to get to the dance and I feel like St. Marys is a good dance partner for us. Hopefully we will be able to come out and make a few more plays than they do.”

Friday night’s winner advances to the state quarterfinals against the survivor of No. 3 Pendleton County and No. 14 Moorefield next week.

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