After three straight losses, the Campbell County Camels opened district play last week with a win at home over a struggling Boone County Rebel squad. Head Coach Troy Styer was hoping to bring that momentum to Borland Stadium as his team would be facing its toughest test to date versus the Ryle Raiders.
Ryle set the fast pace of the game early when Travis Elliott, who leads Northern Kentucky in rushing yards, returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders took a 7-0 lead just 14 seconds into the contest.
Campbell settled down and on its second possession, came away with 35-yard field goal by sophomore place kicker Grant Mahoney to cut the Ryle lead to 7-3.
But Ryle needed just three plays to answer on the ensuing drive. Quarterback Conner Hemple sprinted 48 yards on a keeper all the way to the end zone as Ryle led 14-3 after one quarter of play.
After a Campbell County drive ended on a trick play, an incomplete pass in the end zone thrown by running back Tyler Durham intended for Jake Ritter that was broken up by Zach Sevinsky, the Raiders were back in business. Elliott ran 28 yards into the end zone for a Raider touchdown making the score 21-3 Ryle.
The Camels received the ball back with three-and-a-half minutes left in the half. Campbell County drove 11 plays for a touchdown when Michael Kremer threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jake Rebholz. The Camels were aided on the possession by a Ryle 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty and two Kremer pass completions to senior Cory Hodge.
--Postgame: Deion Mullins, Ryle
--Postgame: Bryson Warner, Ryle
The Camels left just 22 seconds on the clock, however Deion Mullins only needed about 10 of those seconds to return the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, to bring the halftime score to 28-10.
Campbell County, using its patented no-huddle, spread offense attack wasn't rattled. The Camels marched down the field and scored when Kremer found Hodge for a 34-yard touchdown pass.
After Elliott scored on an 86-yard touchdown toward the end of the third quarter, the Raiders were ahead 35-17. Elliott, who rushed for 235 yard on the night, passed the 1,000 yard rushing plateau for the season.
In the fourth quarter the Camels made a wild comeback. Kremer scored on a 2-yard keeper that was set-up by a 28-yard reception by Corey Cox. On the next Campbell County drive, Kremer threw a short pass to Hodge and the senior wide receiver turned it into a 58-yard scoring play. After the two-point conversion failed, the Camels had cut the lead to 35-30.
Ryle held on but just barely. After Rebholz recovered an Elliott fumble with 3:40 to play in the game, the Camels were in position to come up with a comeback victory. On fourth-and-10, Kremer completed a 13-yard pass to Rebholz for a first down. Two plays later, Kremer's pass was intercepted by Elliott but on the return he was blind-sided by Tyler Durham on a bone crushing hit. Elliott fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Campbell's Jake Rebholz. Elliott left the field woozy and was seen holding an ice pack to his jaw after the game.
Unfortunately for the Camels, Kremer was intercepted again by Tony Burtraw to ice the game and Ryle survived with a 35-30 district win. Kremer had 380 yards passing on 25-59 with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Hodge (123) and Cox (101) each had over 100 yards receiving.
Ryle (5-1, 2-0) will host Simon Kenton next week in what is believed to be a battle of the two best teams in the district, quite possibly without its best offensive player. Campbell County (2-4, 1-1) returns home next week to host another district opponent, the Conner Cougars.
Written by: Brady Laber, TriStateFootball.com