Cameron tops St. Joseph Benton

By Matt Gleaves The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: October 18, 2013 - 11:57 PM



Jeff White wasn’t worried about the lack of points his offense compiled through 2½ quarters Friday night.

The Cameron coach watched his offense move the ball and gain yards but penalties at inopportune times made scoring more difficult.

 

The Dragons’ attack finally produced the burst that they needed to pull away from Midland Empire Conference foe Benton.

Cameron notched a pair of touchdowns in the final 2 minutes, 46 seconds of the third quarter with both drives kept alive by big plays courtesy of its quarterback to provide the necessary cushion to defeat the Cardinals 31-14 at Dave Goodwin Field.

The Dragons (5-3, 3-3 MEC) faced unfavorable odds on the first tally of the frame, starting the drive from their own 8-yard line. The bad field position didn’t matter, though. Quarterback Dakota Calhoon led the offense on a 10-play, 92-yard drive, capped off by the senior signal-caller’s 4-yard plunge into the end zone to put the hosts up 21-14 with 2:46 remaining in the stanza.

“Up front, (Benton) was leaving a lot of holes open that I could check to, and I saw that and just checked to it, and it allowed us to make some big plays,” said Calhoon, who led Cameron with 128 yards rushing. “It was a tight ballgame, and we needed to make some plays to get us the momentum.”

Calhoon notched a pair of 24-yard scampers during the drive that quickly flipped field position for run-first Cameron. Fullback Joe Pratt also pitched in with a 20-yard run up the gut that set up a first-and-goal at the Benton 8-yard line.

The Dragons’ southpaw quarterback wasn’t done with crucial plays.

After Cameron forced a three-and-out — thanks, in part, to an illegal-forward-pass penalty that backed Benton into a third-and-22 situation — Calhoon launched a deep pass down the Cameron sideline for receiver Kody Petersen. The 6-foot senior outjumped two Benton defenders to reel in the catch and set the Dragons up with a first-and-goal at the 2.

Running back Hunter Harrell cashed in on the next play with a 2-yard scoring run that put the Dragons up 28-14 as time expired in the third quarter.

“We haven’t had to rely on the passing game a lot this year,” White said. “We have some guys that can go up and get it if we want to pass it, but when we’re pounding the ball on the ground and chewing up clock is when we’re at our best.”

The sudden burst of offense nearly went for naught early in the final frame, but Cameron’s stout defense stepped up at a critical juncture.

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