Red Foxes drop 2019 home opener
By Rob Teal
Hurricane Dorian had mercy on the Pee Dee area of South Carolina and the Hartsville Red Fox football team was able to play their first home game of the 2019 season Friday night at Ktown Stadium. After a big win on the road last week over the South Florence Bruins, the Red Fox faithful showed up in large numbers to watch their beloved Red Foxes battle the Camden Bulldogs on Coach Billy Zeigler Field.
Camden entered the contest 2-0 and coming off a big win of their own last week over their county rival, the Lugoff-Elgin Devils. And the word on the street entering this game was this Camden Bulldog team is the best team that they have fielded in quite some time.
But just a few minutes into the game the Hartsville defense sacked the Camden QB on fourth down and gave the ball to their offense near midfield. #1 Dariyan Pendergrass had a nice looking 35 yard run on his first carry of the season. DP’s run got the Red Foxes inside the Bulldog 10 yard line and a couple of plays later #3 Darian McMillan scored the first points on the night as he found a nice hole on the right side of Hartsville's line and took a handoff into the end zone from 3 yards out. #37 Chase Elesesser's extra point was blocked and the Red Foxes led 6-0.
Unfortunately for the huge crowd of Red Fox fans in attendance, that would be the only offense Hartsville would come up with in the first half. There were way too many blown assignments, penalties and other mistakes made in the opening half to find the endzone again.
Camden started slow but began to figure out a few things on their offensive line as the first half moved along. And after a couple of Red Fox penalties gave the Bulldogs great field position, their QB Anthony Liles connected with Jaffar Pearson for a 51 yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and Camden had a 7-6 lead.
After exchanging a couple of punts Camden hit their first half stride and drove the ball down to the Hartsville 10. That's when their RB Mikah Davis decided to get in on the action. He took a handoff from the Camden QB and took it 10 yards for the second Bulldog touchdown on the night. The PAT split the uprights and the visitors led 14-6.
Thanks to a blocked punt, the Red Foxes’ offense had their chances late in the first half to get some more points on the board. But they were unable to find pay dirt despite being inside the Camden 10 yard line twice in the final four minutes of the second quarter. They went to the locker room trailing Camden 14-6.
The Hartsville offense found some rhythm in the second half with #5 Owen Taylor finding #1 Dariyan Pendergrass and #2 Javion Hough for touchdown passes.
But every time the Red Foxes would score a touchdown the Camden offense would answer with one of their own. After last week’s Shoney's Defensive Player of the week #11 Justin Abraham left the game with concussion symptoms, the Red Fox defense just couldn’t contain Camden’s dynamic rushing attack. Especially Bulldog RB Willis Lane, who rushed for three second half touchdowns.
Hartsville RB #3 Darian McMillan added another rushing touchdown for the Red Foxes in the third quarter, but it just wasn't enough for Hartsville on a night that would belong to the Camden High School Bulldogs. The final score was Camden 41 and Hartsville 27. Camden improved to 3-0. Hartsville fell to 1-1 on the young season.
Camden was 13 of 17 through the air for 156. And the Bulldogs rushed the ball 39 times for an eye-popping 268 yards. Which means the Red Fox defense gave up 424 yards on the night.
Hartsville connected on 10 of their 20 pass attempts for 171 yards passing (9 of the 10 completions came in the second half). The Foxes found the rushing yards much more difficult to come by against a very fast Bulldog defense. They only managed to gain 35 yards on 37 carries.
This week’s Shoney’s Offensive Player of the Week is #1 Dariyan Pendergrass. DP had six receptions for 106 yards on the night.
The Shoney’s Defensive Player of the Week goes to #9 Kevon Haigler. Kevon was Hartsville’s leading tackler versus Camden and he shows great leadership on that side of the ball with his tremendous effort and great attitude.
Congratulations to both of these Red Foxes on being named this weeks Shoney’s Players of the Week.
The Red Foxes look to get back on the winning track next week as they head down to Horry County to take on the Conway Tigers. I'll see ya'll in Conway. Go Red Foxes!