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PREP FOOTBALL: Camper carries John Hardin past Oldham County (11/22)

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By Chuck Jones

 

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com BUCKNER — The temperature has dropped considerably, but John Hardin senior Elias Camper is heating up. Camper followed up his 216-yard, three-touchdown performance against Grant County with a 227-yard outburst to lead the Bulldogs to a 43-23 victory over the Oldham County Colonels in the Class 5-A playoffs at Bell Field on Friday night and a rematch with the Louisville Doss Dragons next week. The Bulldogs (11-1) play at Doss, which beat Anderson County, 49-41 on Friday night, in the Region 2 championship game next Friday. It marks the third time in four years the Bulldogs have reached the quarterfinals. The Dragons knocked off John Hardin on Oct. 24, 27-21. Camper’s total is a John Hardin playoff record for a single game, breaking his record from the previous week. His 227-yard effort ranks second overall in school history, second only to Alan Dean’s 301-yard performance against South Oldham in 2005. His biggest play of the night might have come on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter. With the Bulldogs holding a 24-23 lead after junior Michael Wright blocked the Oldham County point-after attempt, Wright took the kickoff 40 yards, but lost the handle of the ball. Camper scooped the ball up, broke a tackle and raced 54 yards. Alan Harber tacked on the extra point to give John Hardin a 31-23 lead with 8:26 remaining. Oldham County (9-3) looked to answer, driving to the John Hardin 10-yard line on its ensuing possession. But the Colonels lost 3 yards on second-and-seven and John Hardin forced two straight incompletions to take over on downs. On the first play from scrimmage, Camper broke free again and made a cut near midfield to get past the last Colonel standing in his way on an 87-yard touchdown to put John Hardin ahead 37-23 with 5:22 left. The Colonels fumbled on their next possession and John Hardin put the game away with a seven-play, 44-yard drive capped by senior David Morehead’s 1-yard scoring plunge with 1:11 remaining. Camper staked the Bulldogs to a 13-7 lead less than 10 minutes into the game on scoring runs of 26 and 73 yards. Leading 16-10 after the teams traded field goals in the second quarter, the Bulldogs built a 24-10 lead on sophomore Landon Savoy’s 47-yard run with 7:05 remaining. The Colonels sliced the lead to 24-23 with 8:42 left on a pair of scoring runs by senior Dylan Underwood, who rushed for 83 yards and three scores on 22 carries. Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759