In the much-anticipated cross-county rival between Cameron and Rockdale, it was Cameron that did all the talking on the field.
The Yoemen left little doubt that they are the “real deal” as they dominated all night at a packed Yoe Field. When the final horn sounded the Yoemen laid claim to a 34-0 shut out and ownership of the storied “Bell.”
In a game that was full of punts and turnovers it was a determined Yoemen squad that provided all the game highlights. Rockdale won the coin toss and elected to defer their option to the second half, putting the Yoe offense on the field. The Yoemen started at their own 35-yard line and were able to move the ball both thru the air and ground but the drive stalled on a fumble that Rockdale’s Preston Ehler recovered at the Tiger 27.
The Tiger offense moved the first down chains on three consecutive plays with a 29-yard pass and runs of 10 and 11 yards. The much talked about explosive Tiger offense had already collected 50 yards on its first three plays, however they would only gain 45 yards the rest of the game.
Enter the Yoe defense, a unit that has seemed to gel and improve each week. The defense was working on all cylinders and they stopped the Tiger drive and forced a punt with 6:10 remaining in the first quarter. The Yoemen set up camp at their own 20-yard line and systematically put together 12 play, 80-yard drive that gave the Yoemen the only points they would need.
The Yoe offense gave Rockdale a steady diet of Keaton Denio on the ground and QB Jason Kopriva targeted six different receivers on the drive including a pass to Zach Felts in the right flat for a diving touchdown. Edgar Luna split the uprights and Cameron led 7-0 with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Yoe defense forced a quick three and out putting the Yoe offense back in business. Cameron showed its quick strike offense on the second play, Kopriva found Austin Christy along the Tiger sideline with a quick pass. Christy split a pair of Tiger defenders and ran away from the pack enroute to a 71 yard score. The extra-point attempt failed and the Yoemen led 13-0, just minutes into the second quarter. Same story, different series as the Yoe defense once again turned away the Tigers and forced another punt.
The Yoe offense started at midfield but gave the ball back on an interception. The Rockdale team seemed to have received the break they needed as they took over with a little momentum at the midfield stripe. Rockdale handed the ball off on the first play around the left side and the Tiger running back was met by most of the defense causing a fumble which was promptly scooped up by safety Tyler Sapp. Sapp weaved his way in and out of traffic and found daylight racing 54 yards for another Yoemen TD. The extra point was good and the Yoemen led 20-0 with 6:31 left before half.
The Yoe defense continued to play lights out, pressuring Tiger Ethan Brinkley and the Rockdale offense. The Yoemen would force another turnover before half when Colton Labay out jumped the Tiger receiver and hauled in his third interception of the season. The remainder of the half would remain scoreless and the Yoe took all the momentum and 20-0 point lead into the locker room.
After an inspiring halftime show from the Yoemen band, it was back to business on the field. Neither offense seemed to gain the upper hand in their initial possessions of the second half.
Midway thru the third quarter, Rockdale took over at their own nine-yard line. After completing passes of 16 and 23 yards, Tiger QB Ethan Brinkley was sacked by linebackers Randle Lane and Somari Wright causing a fumble that noseguard Edgar Luna dribbled and snatched up enroute to a 40 yard rumbling gain.
Two plays later, Kopriva found Felts again for his second 5-yard touchdown catch of the night. Colton Shuffield split the uprights and Cameron increased their lead to 27-0 with 4:19 left in the third quarter. Both teams traded punts on the next several possessions with the Yoemen steadily winning the field position battle and spending the second half in Rockdale territory.
With 7:01 left in regulation, Cameron started at the Tiger 27 with another score on their minds. After several positive rushes, the Rockdale cornerback cheated towards the line and was burned on a 22-yard pass from Kopriva to Shuffield to close out the scoring. Following the successful PAT, Cameron led 34-0. In one of the more defensive dominated games in recent Yoe history, Cameron held Rockdale to just 94 yards passing and one yard on the ground while forcing several turnovers and penalties.
Somari Wright led the defense in tackles with 11 and was credited with a half sack and forced fumble. Linebacker Josh Smitherman recorded 10 tackles and blocked a Rockdale punt. Randle Lane had 7 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1.5 QB sacks. Lane also recovered one of the fumbles he forced. On the offensive side of the ball, Jason Kopriva finished with 178 yards going 19-30 and tossing 4 TD passes. Keaton Denio led all rushers with 62 yards on 21 rush attempts. Leading the Yoemen receiving corps was Austin Christy with 87 yards and a TD. Zach Felts hauled in two touch down passes and 10 yards. Colton Shuffield had 44 yards and a TD catch.
The Yoemen have a bye prior to the start of district action. They will host the Salado Eagles on Friday, Sept. 28, in the district opener for both teams.