The Cameron welcoming committee was out in full force last Friday night as the Yoemen hosted the Salado Eagles and introduced them to a new classification and to Yoe Nation.
In the district opener for both teams, the Yoemen controlled the contest from start to finish in a dominating 41-7 victory. Head Coach Rick Rhoades sang the praises of players and coaches saying it was a complete effort in all phases of the game. He sighted early turnovers and timely big catches as factors that shifted the momentum in the Yoemen’s favor in the early going.
Cameron won the coin toss and elected to defer their option to the second half and opted to put their smothering defense on the field to start the game. It didn’t take long for the defense to make their presence known and forced a fumble on the very first play that Zach Riola recovered and set the offense up on their own 41-yard line. The Yoe offense needed only three plays to cash in on the Eagle miscue. On second and 15, QB Jason Kopriva found speedy Colton Shuffield on a go route and hit him in stride for a 54 yard scoring strike. Michael Evan was true on the point after attempt and the Yoemen led 7-0 with less than 2 minutes gone in the game. Salado looked to get in rhythm on their next series with three consecutive first downs, but the drive would once again stall on another fumble that was recovered by LB Josh Smitherman.
The Yoemen would mount a 12-play drive and methodically march down the field, but the drive ended on a Yoemen fumble at the Eagle 8 yard line. The Yoe
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defense would pitch a three and out and force an Eagle punt to midfield. After a 19-yard completion to Austin Christy, the Yoemen rode the legs of RB Keaton Denio on runs of 14 and 8 yards that was capped off on a 5-yard plunge into the endzone for the first of his two TD runs on the night. Evan split the uprights and Cameron led 14-0 with two minutes left in the first. The remainder of the first quarter and the first two possessions of the second quarter featured several punts from both teams. With 9:51 left in the half, the Yoe offense took over near midfield and orchestrated an 8-play drive that spanned 53 yards resulting in another Yoemen TD. Kopriva stayed hot on the drive by completing a 12-yard pass to Colton Shelton and a 25-yard pass to Aaron Sims.
Kopriva would keep the ball on a 1-yard scamper to increase the Yoemen lead to 20-0 with 5:28 before halftime. The Yoemen only looked to be heating up before half. The defense once again forced a Salado punt into the waiting arms of Zach Felts who stood at his 46-yard line. Felts dodged several waves of Eagle defenders, finding daylight along the home sideline and raced 54 yards for another Yoemen touchdown.
Salado would take the ensuing kickoff and manage just one first down before once again punting back to the motoring Yoe offense. Cameron took the ball on the 45-yard line with 1:16 left in the half, but the Yoemen only needed 54 ticks to turn the game in to a rout at half. Kopriva completed passes to Shuffield, Felts, and a timely screen pass to Denio that went for 28 yards and the final score of the half. The Yoemen took a 34-0 lead into the locker-room. Cameron took the second half kick and moved the ball 20 yards but was forced to punt. The Eagle offense took over on their own 20-yard line and mounted their only scoring drive of the night.
Following an apparent ankle injury to the Salado starting QB Ryan Simmons, backup QB Chase Crenwelge found WR Cameron Wong on a post pattern for a 35-yard TD pass. Following the point after, the Yoemen lead was 34-7 with 5:27 left in the third. Cameron would once again force an Eagle turnover on their next offensive series when Edgar Luna jumped on a fumble at the Salado 20. Denio would be the workhorse and score his second rushing touchdown from 6 yards out. The Evan point after would put the Yoemen up 41-7.
The Yoe defense kept the pressure on and forced an interception by Colton Shelton and another fumble recovery by Denzel Haynes. The Yoemen were able to cycle thru a host of players on both offense and defense the remainder of the game as they cruised to the 41-7 district win.
Football critics would be hard pressed to find deficiencies in the Yoemen performance. The defense forced five turnovers and held the Eagles to just a meager 144 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Yoe offense racked up nearly 500 yards of offense and 24 first downs. QB Jason Kopriva threw for 254 yards going 19 of 34 and tossing TD passes and running another in. Keaton Denio led all rushers in both yards and flattened defensive backs with his 121-yard performance and two TD’s. Denio also finished the evening with 35 receiving yards and another TD. Colton Shuffield led the receiving attack with 3 catches for 74 yards and a TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, Somari Wright led all players with 13 tackles, Josh Smitherman recorded 8, Randle Lane had 7 and Michael Gelner finished with 6 tackles.
The Yoemen go into tomorrow’s district matchup relatively healthy with the exception of a few sprains and strains. The undefeated Yoemen will continue district play when they travel to Academy to face the Bees.
Academy enters the contest with a 0-1 district record after suffering a 28-6 defeat at the hands of the McGregor Bulldogs. Coach Rhoades says the Academy Bees are a very fundamentally sound team with outstanding execution. On offense, Academy will run out of a double tight end set and likes to play “smash mouth” ball.
Coach Rick Rhoades says they are a run first team, which relies on play action to have success in the air. They are lead by QB Grant Glendening that can “pass and run very efficiently.” In the backfield they are lead by Alex McCollough that is described as very quick and deceptive. On the defensive side of the ball, Academy will run out of a 3-4 base formation. The Academy secondary is described as the heart of the unit that is experienced and full of good athletes. Coach Rhoades maintains the success to victory remains the same.
Cameron has to take care of the ball and play disciplined throughout.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in Academy.