HOPE – The Hope Bobcats have an opportunity for conference play redemption Friday night, but it will be among the toughest tilts of the season for the Cats against the Camden-Fairview Cardinals in Camden.
Game time is 7 p.m., and tickets will be available only at the Camden stadium gate.
The Cats will have a chance to put themselves at .500 for conference play with a win, but Camden has some weapons.
Hope is 1-5 on the season and 1-2 in 5A South conference play, while Camden sits at 4-4/2-2.
Camden’s scoring is in its running game and aggressive defensive play. The Cardinals have posted 2,314 yards on the ground this season on 330 carries for 25 rushing touchdowns.
That is Camden’s game… run, run, run. They average 7.0 yards per carry and have averaged 289.3 yards per game, while passing for 137 yards on 65 throws and seven TDs.
The Bobcats will need to step up their defensive attack to take away the clock in the Cardinal running game and force fumbles. Camden has fumbled three times with one recovery. The Cardinals can also be fenced in on special teams, averaging 16 yards on kick returns and 14 yards on punt returns.
Defensively, the Cardinals like to get into their opponent’s backfield, with 19 sacks on the season and 8 interceptions.
But, for all of the ground gained, Camden has averaged only 32 points per game this year, scoring in all four quarters; while Hope has put up 23 points per game on average.
The Bobcats were air bombed early by the Lakeside Rams at home Oct. 16 and were never able to recover in a 42-10 conference loss.
The vaunted Lakeside air attack struck early, and the Rams scored 21 points in the first quarter, adding 14 more in the second; but, the Cats held Lakeside to only 7 points in the second half of the game.
Hope’s inability to crank up its offense was compounded by a fumble with six minutes left in the first quarter that Lakeside returned for its first score, and an interception late in the third quarter that blunted the Cats’ momentum.
The Rams also hit hard on defense, dropping Hope behind the line with four sacks in the game to disrupt the Bobcats’ attack. Lakeside passed for four touchdowns and ran for two on the night, piling up 215 yards on 22 carries on the ground and 293 yards from 15 of 19 passes.
The Bobcats struggled to overcome the first period fumble, giving up a second touchdown on a 19-yard bolt by Lakeside at the end of the quarter.
Hope moved within field goal range early in the second quarter, but the attempt was not good. That stuck with Bobcat Kicker Chris Torres, who got another shot with under a minute left in the first half. Torres booted a 32-yard kick through the uprights that put Hope on the board before the intermission.
Hope finally found its rythm late in the fourth quarter, the Bobcat defense holding the Rams to turn the ball over on downs and taking possession on the Bobcat 23-yard line.
With three minutes left in the game, Hope Quarterback Ammorrion Dempsey unloaded a pass to Chelerome McFadden for a 71-yard touchdown to end the night for the Cats.
Dempsey was 9/23 with 184 yards and one TD in the air on the night, with one interception. He rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries.
McFadden caught four passes for 119 yards and one TD, while Kenneth Anderson pulled in one pass for 37 yards on the night.