Camden, Westview set to open ‘new’ year
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 12:02 pm
Westview and Camden have already played once this season, but that was a long time ago.
In fact, that Sept. 9 meeting at Westview, won by the host Chargers 17-12, almost seems like another season to both head coaches.
One will end the other’s 2011 season on Friday night when the two teams meet for the second time, this one at Wright Field in Camden as the Lions host Westview in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Neither coach sees the outcome of the regular season meeting as providing a nod to either team in the postseason rematch.
“I don’t know if there is an advantage,” Charger head man Don Coady said. “We’ve done it both ways, and we’ve come out on the wrong end both ways, so I don’t know if any team has the advantage over the other. And, that was two months ago. That’s almost like another season now.”
Both teams have come a long way since that previous meeting.
After struggling to find its offense through the first half of the season, Westview has come on strong in the last three weeks with 129 total points scored and wins in each of those games.
“Knock on wood, we’re not having the turnovers or making the mental mistakes we were early in the year, and that sort of thing is typical,” Coady said of his team’s improvement. “Offenses typically are slower to develop, and ours was slower to develop than usual.”
The Lions were a young team at the beginning of the season and that showed in a 3-2 start that also included a loss to Class 1A’s No. 1-ranked Huntingdon. Camden coach William Blow believes his team has matured, leading to improved play.
“We’ve had very good improvement over the year, especially in our offensive and defensive lines,” Blow said. “Players on both sides were young at beginning of the year and really playing those spots for the first time. This year’s group has worked really hard. We had two losses to very good teams, and we feel like we’re playing better than we were at that time.”
Like Westview, Camden comes in riding a winning streak as the Lions have won their last five games to bring an 8-2 overall record into the game.
“We hope so,” Blow said when asked if his team’s win streak gives it momentum. “It’s a lot better to go in on a winning note than a losing note, so we hope we’re taking some momentum into the playoffs.”
Coady, who will coach in his 250th game at Westview Friday night, understands that teams have generally settled into their style by the 11th game of the season.
“For us, our strength is running between the tackles,” Coady said. “By Week 11, teams know who they are. Neither one of us will try to re-invent the wheel this week. We’ll both go out and do what we do well, and if it’s good enough, we’ll move on.”
Westview is a grind-it-out team with a balanced running game. Collins Alexander leads the Chargers with 783 yards and eight touchdowns on 158 carries, while three other players have between 190 and 460 yards rushing.
While quarterback Ryne Vinson is not asked to win games with his arm, he has completed 49-of-89 passes for 585 yards. Will Thompson tops the team with 15 catches for 244 yards with Alexander right behind at 14 catches for 126 yards.
Alexander leads the Chargers in scoring with 64 points.
Sophomore linebacker Hunter Beale tops the tackle chart with 91 stops, while senior lineman Damani Taylor has a team-best 12 stops for lost yards.
Westview is averaging 267.1 yards and 21.6 points to its opponents’ 221.4 and 16.4, respectively.
Camden, which won its sixth consecutive district championship this season, also prefers to run but can live off the pass.
Trae White, a senior, tops a balanced running game that has seven players with at least 100 yards, while junior quarterback Tanner Hudson has a strong and accurate arm.
Both have shown big-play flashes. White rushed for 161 yards and three TDs while also taking a kick back 99 yards against David Lipscomb, while Hudson completed 8-of-13 passes for 191 yards against Cheatham County.
Big plays are not reserved for offensive players, either.
Senior linebacker Kyle Blackburn leads the Lions in tackles, posting double figures in that category almost every week. He also has a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception for a score. Chris Nazi anchors both lines for Camden.
Both teams are playoff regulars, Westview in for the 20th time and Camden making its 14th overall appearance and ninth in a row. While Westview leads the overall series between the teams 8-7, Camden has won both playoff meetings. Published in The WCP 11.3.11