The No. 2 Camden County Wildcats came to the Georgia Dome for a matchup against No. 8 Peachtree Ridge with something to prove. Despite boasting a squad complete with a loaded offense and a swarming defense, most of the preseason love was given to Grayson and steered away from the Wildcats.
Camden County head coach Jeff Herron, who has won three state titles during his time in Kingsland, said earlier in the week that Grayson deserved top billing. However it was hard to agree with that statement after the 42-0 decision the Wildcats earned against Peachtree Ridge. Herron’s Wildcats have announced they should take a backseat to no team.
Herron, though, still thinks that rankings don’t necessarily matter this early in the season.
“The great thing about high school football is you get a chance to prove it on the field,” said Herron. “We’re one of a lot of teams that have a chance right now. We’ve gotta get better or we can’t do it, that’s the bottom line.”
Camden County took the opening kickoff and marched down the field with ease before missing a field goal. The defense quickly got the ball back and J.J. Green dominated the second Camden County drive. On second and goal from the two-yard line, the Lions guessed Green would once again get the carry, but Herron’s Wing T offense fooled them as Antonio Wimbush plowed in on a wingback sweep for the 7-0 score.
Peachtree Ridge tried to answer as Mark Fleetwood dialed up a steady mix of runs, passes to Joe Horn and a long completion to Montez Wedgeworth. Just as the momentum seemed to be favoring the Lions, Camden County appeared to pad its lead as Antwaun Lewis recovered a fumble and returned it for a score. A penalty would nullify the score and return the ball to the Lions. Peachtree Ridge would attempt a 41-yard field goal, but the attempt came up short.
Jaccob Johnson and Camden County would take advantage on the subsequent drive with the fullback powering in to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead. The Wildcats weren’t done as Brice Ramsey hooked up with his future Georgia Bulldogs teammate on a 34-yard scoring completion to make it 21-0 with plenty of time left in the second quarter.
Peachtree Ridge would make one final attempt at points, but a 27-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
“I thought (the defense) played well other than the little letdown before halftime,” said Herron. “That’s part of growing up. I’m sure we’re going to look at the film and we’re going to find a lot of things wrong, but I’d rather fix them after a win.”
The second half started off with a Camden County pick-six as Kalvarez Bessent picked off Bryson Sellers and took it 46 yards for a touchdown. Several minutes later, Ramsey found Conner Lockhart from 16 yards out to make it 35-0. He would finish off the scoring soon after with a 63-yard strike to Marcus Jordan for a 42-0 lead. The fourth quarter was played under a running clock.
“Brice certainly gives us the ability to take advantage of what people are doing in the passing game,” said Herron. “When you run the ball in the Wing T, it is going to open up things in the passing game, so I was very pleased with that. He took advantage of that.”
Ramsey’s arm and Green’s legs were on full display Saturday night and will likely be piling up numbers all season.
“We have some big-play capabilities with those kids, so we’ve got to use that,” promised Herron.
Camden County will face the Vanguard School (Fla.) next Friday, while Peachtree Ridge faces Region 8-AAAAAA contender Parkview.
“The key now will be, ‘what can we improve on?’” said Herron. “We can’t let this go to our head cause we didn’t play that well.”
Teams across the state of Georgia may be shuddering thinking about just how much better Camden County can be and if they will be returning to the Georgia Dome in mid-December to end its season in the same manner it started.