CHEYENNE – With just over a minute left in the contest, Campbell County faced a fourth-and-9 from their own 45-yard line.
Camels sophomore quarterback Aidan Dorr lobbed a pass down the left sideline and running back Will Miller made a play on the ball for the 35-yard reception. Dorr ran in a 20-yard touchdown on the following play to give the Camels the 27-24 lead over Cheyenne Central with 43 seconds remaining.
That turned into the game-winning score as Campbell County rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit at Riske Field to move to 3-3 on the season. The Indians fell to 1-5.
“We did some things in the first half but we left a lot on the field in the first half,” Indians coach Mike Apodaca said. “We had two turnovers … I thought we really had a chance to put that game out of reach in the first half and we didn’t.
“Weirdly enough the mistakes we made in the first half weren’t as glaring but in the second half they were glaring … they just made better plays at the end than we did.”
Central’s defense proved stout for the entire first half. Campbell County had four three-and-outs, a fourth-and-2 that was stopped and an interception.
Central took advantage of the defense early along with a Camels penalty when a roughing the passer penalty set Central up at the Campbell County five-yard line. The Indians capitalized when Zecha King carried it in for the five-yard score and the 7-0 lead.
The Camels fell victim to another three-and-out, which set the Indians up at their own 47-yard line with 4:34 to play following the punt. Central junior quarterback Keagan Bartlett picked up some first downs with his legs before rumbling in from 10-yards out to double the advantage with 1:45 left.
On the ensuing possession, sophomore Marcus DeHoff picked off an Aidan Dorr pass on the Camels’ first play of the drive and the Indians were suddenly threatening with 1:30 left. Three plays later, the Indians were facing a third-and-6 from the 16 but Bartlett was sacked by Morgan Dykes for a loss of 10.
The sack forced a 43-yard field goal from Brock Pedersen, who drained the kick for the 17-0 lead with four seconds left. Pedersen missed a 40-yarder two possessions prior.
The Camels first first down of the contest came on the final play of the first half. However, it was a night and day difference for the visiting team in the second half.
Campbell County opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 56-yard drive including five first downs and Miller capped the drive with a 12-yard scamper for a touchdown.
Central fumbled on its next two possessions and the Camels capitalized by scoring a touchdown on the second fumble with a four-yard run from Miller and Campbell County suddenly trailed 17-14. Central only ran four plays in the third quarter and two of them resulted in fumbles.
“It felt like we had the ball for only a minute in the third quarter and we just left our defense out to dry,” Bartlett said “They’re a good dive team and once you’re on the field for 11 minutes in a quarter, you just get worn out.”
Dorr gave the Camels the lead when he took a 68-yard run for the score. But Central answered with a 29-yard pass from Bartlett to Coby Filbin.
However, it was Miller that made a big time play when it mattered most to give the Camels the late chance to go-ahead.
“We responded in the fourth quarter, I thought we played well,” Bartlett said. “But the guy makes a great play, he ran over us all night and then he just made a play.”
Bartlett finished with 208 rushing yards. Miller finished with 123 rushing yards and 99 in the second half. The Camels got the run game going early in the second half and rolled with it.
“It’s been our Achilles heel is that power run game,” Apodaca said. “We’ve been struggling to contain that a little bit but kudos to them ... We let them play in the short field and a team like that with big strong guys caught up with us and we couldn’t make plays at the end.”
CAMPBELL COUNTY 27, CENTRAL 24
Campbell County……..0 0 14 13 – 27
Cheyenne Central…….7 10 0 7 – 24
CEN: King 5 run (Pederson kick), 7:45
CAM: Bartlett 10 run (Pederson kick), 1:45
CAM: Pederson 43 field goal, 0:04
CAM: Miller 12 run (Duvall kick), 6:17
CEN: Miller 4 run (Duvall kick), 0:20
CAM: Dorr 68 run (Duvall kick), 8:06
CEN: Filbin 29 pass from Bartlett (Pederson kick), 2:34
CAM: Dorr 20 run (PAT failed), 0:43
Campbell County: Miller 21-123, Dorr 11-92, Carter 5-1, Tompkins 1-0, Peterson 1 (minus-1). Cheyenne Central: Bartlett 24-208, Floyd 8-5, King 5-13, Porwoll 1-7.
Campbell County: Dorr 6-17-2 88. Cheyenne Central: Bartlett 9-22-1, 61.
Campbell County: Topmkins 1-5, Miller 2-40, Peterson 1-13, Walter 2-30. Cheyenne Central: Porwoll 3-13, Whitworth 3-10, Filbin 3-37.