Cardinals win second straight, beating Campbell County at home

Published 3:49 pm Monday, September 27, 2021

By Bryce Houchens
GRC Smoke Signals

The GRC Cardinals seem to have something working after winning their second game in a row, defeating the Campbell County Camels 27-14 Friday night at home.

After a slow start to the year they have managed to climb back to 500 on the year. Coach Chirico has to be proud of his team for continuing to fight, and stringing a couple of wins together.

The GRC defense had itself one heck of a game. Campbell County started with the ball to open the game. The Cardinal defense came ready to play and never went away.

On Campbell County’s first possession, the quarterback rushed to his left but got hit, causing the ball to pop right out of his hands.

Defensive back Zaydin Turner picked the ball up and took it to the house for six. GRC was able to get off to a very fast start to take an early lead.

The defense went right back out after the touchdown and forced the Camels to a punt.

GRC finally got to take the field on offense, midway through the first quarter. The Cards’ offensive game plan seemed to keep the ball on the ground and feed Kalen Washington.

The run game wasn’t there early on. The Camels defense came ready for it and didn’t allow many big holes. GRC was forced to punt on its first possession.

The Camels got the ball back but didn’t keep it very long. On that drive quarterback Nathan Smith threw an interception to Zaydin Turner who returned it for a touchdown. The score was called back though for a block in the back.

On the first play of the offensive possession, Washington ran in a 24-yard touchdown.

Trailing by multiple touchdowns early, the Camels needed a score to get back in the game before the end of the quarter. That they did, stringing together multiple passes that led to a Campbell rushing touchdown. At the quarter buzzer, GRC led 14-7.

After the electric first quarter action, the second quarter seemed to quiet down. Neither team could get the offense going, and both teams’ defenses made multiple stops that led to punts.

With seconds left on the clock before the end of the half, the Camels forced another Cardinal punt, in their own territory. The punt was blocked and the Camels had great field position with just over 30 seconds until halftime.

Campbell gained a first down that set up their kicker for a field goal before the half ended. He pushed it left though and the Cardinals were able to keep their touchdown lead going into the half.

The Cards had the ball to begin the second half, looking to extend their lead back to two scores. The offense still couldn’t establish the run game and the receivers couldn’t get open.

GRC went three and out to start the half and gave the Camels the ball. The punt though didn’t get off cleanly and was kicked rather short, which gave Campbell good field position.

The Camel offense made some halftime adjustments and came out hot. They were able to complete some passes, including an amazing catch by Eric Davie. The drive ended in a Camel touchdown that tied the game.

The Cardinal offense needed to respond with an offensive touchdown of its own to regain the lead GRC had maintained all game. They came short once again and were forced to punt. The GRC defense was ready though and forced another Camel turnover that was returned for a touchdown.

Campbell’s Smith completed a pass over the middle, but a Cardinal defender knocked the ball out and Arthur Haskins picked it up and ran it back for another defensive touchdown. The touchdown ended the third and GRC led again 21-14 with one quarter to play.

The fourth quarter began with GRC and Campbell County trading punts. The defenses didn’t allow any gains by the offensives but the Camels were running out of time. With 6:24 left in the game, the Cardinals had the ball and needed a score that would more than likely put the game on ice.

Quarterback Brady Denham was pressured but found Washington underneath for a short screen pass. Washington had blockers in front of him and lots of room to run. He was able to break one tackle and bust out into open space and run in for a touchdown. The touchdown put the Cardinals in front by two scores with six minutes to play.

The Camels needed to score quickly if they wanted to have a comeback. They completed multiple passes and moved into Cardinal territory quickly. The Camels completed a pass but defender Sam Clements knocked the ball out and GRC recovered with 5:11 to play.

The offense wasn’t able to punch in another touchdown but the Cards were successful in milking the clock. With less than three minutes remaining, Campbell County threw another interception that sealed the game for the Cardinals.

The defensive takeaways were a major key to the win tonight. If the offense can get going, the Cardinals could have a really successful remainder of the season.

GRC will be at home this Friday at 7:30 p.m. for the homecoming game versus Lafayette.