By Dave Malaska
CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The CovCath defense clamped down on the upstart Campbell County offense, allowing only 96 yards of Camels offense as the Colonels rolled to a 37-0 win Friday night in the Crosstown Showdown at Dixie Heights.
The Colonels (1-0) forced Campbell County to go three-and-out on its first five possessions in the first half, rolling up a 24-point lead by halftime, then worked the clock after the break to open their season with the win.
Junior Sam Dressman racked up 101 yards of total offense and three touchdowns to lead CovCath while connecting on four PATs and a 32-yard field goal to earn game MVP honors. Senior quarterback Blake Bir threw for 295 yards and three scores in the effort.
"We're a big game for them. They told us so before the game, and we knew they were going to try to give us their best shot," Dressman said.
As for his night, the junior was nonplussed.
"Coming into the season, I knew I was going to be incorporated into the offense a lot more. I just worked to make sure I could do my job when I got in the game," he said.
Dressman's field goal topped CovCath's first possession of the night, then the junior added a four-yard scamper around the left end on the next possession to give the Colonels a cushion. His run capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive for CovCath, which was hitting on all cylinders in its season opener.
By night's end, the Colonels had amassed 534 yards on offense.
"They're just a big, physical team," said Campbell coach Stephen Lickert, "probably a little bit stronger and tougher than we expected."
Campbell County, which revived its season last year with a running-heavy offense, vowed to add more passes to its offensive arsenal but the team couldn't find success. Senior quarterback Tyler Durham didn't complete a pass for the Camels until midway through the third quarter - a two-yard loss to junior Alex Howard - on his way to a 4-of-13 night passing for only 18 yards.
"I think we got a little shellshocked. It hurts your confidence to come out an lay an egg, but we're a better team than we showed tonight," added Lickert. "Hopefully, we'll show that the rest of the season."
While Durham went 0-for-6 in the first half and the Camels had rushed for only 47 yards, the Colonels built their halftime lead.
Bir found junior receiver Sam Hatter on a skinny post for a 14-yard scoring strike early in the second quarter to give CovCath a 17-0 lead, before beating the clock with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Matt Schmall with 24 seconds remaining before the break.
The Colonels added to their lead, going 51 yards on eight plays to open the second half, scoring on a goal line dive by Dressman to go up, 31-0, then finished the night with a fourth-quarter 17-yard pass from Bir to Dressman for the final tally.
Evan Brown led the Colonels receiving corps with six catches for 85 yards, while Hatter finished with five grabs for 59. Luke Bir led the rushers with 78 yards, followed by brother Blake's 65 yards and 41 from Dressman.
Durham rushed for 51 yards for the Camels, while Jake Zabonick caught three passes for 20 yards to lead Campbell's receivers.
The Colonels did get one scare on the night, midway through the second quarter. Bir, after scrambling for an 18-yard gain, took a hit and headed to the sideline. Instead of sliding, he was upright when two Camels hit him at the same time.
"Talk about your heart stopping a little bit," laughed CovCath coach Dave Wirth.
Though he appeared to be shaken up, Wirth says Bir only had lost a contact lens. He returned on the next play.
"You'd like your quarterback to protect himself a little better," he added. "It's a long season, so we'll get on him about that."
CAMPBELL CO. 0-0-0-0--0
CO-Dressman FG 32
CO-Dressman 4 run (Dressman kick)
CO-Hatter 14 pass from B. Bir 14 (Dressman kick)
CO-Schmall 17 pass from B. Bir (Dressman kick)
CO-Dressman 1 run (Dressman kick)
CO-Dressman 17 pass from B. Bir (kick blocked)
RECORDS: CovCath 1-0, Campbell County 0-1.
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