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High School Football:
Camden Survives Sterling's Last Effort

Saturday, November 12, 2005

By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Special Correspondent

It was amazing the way this game ended. No matter which team you were cheering for, it was an emotional roller coaster. The sixth seeded Panthers from Camden were in another situation where they had to win to move on. Winning a key game during the regular season allowed them a chance to capture the South Jersey Group II football title. Standing in their way were the third seeded Silver Knights from Sterling who featured arguably the best versatile player in the area with Arthur Ellis. The Panthers could not stop Ellis, but they were able to contain Sterling especially during the final moments of this first round game. An apparent touchdown on fourth and goal would be called back and Camden would hold on to upset Sterling 24-20. The Panthers will now host Collingswood next week.

This game had all the big-time players making big-time plays for the love of the game. There were two games from the Group II bracket that had some interesting highlights that allows us to never forget that these students give their all for their school’s sport. Seventh seeded Collingswood traveling to Deptford who were in the second seed stopped the Spartans’ chances at repeating as sectional champs. Deptford were looking to recover from losing to Williamstown the week before but came up short against Collingswood. The Panthers solidified their position in the tournament by defeating Winslow Township but a one point loss to Camden Catholic the next week kind of put doubts in the mind of whether they could even compete with Sterling.

When the Panthers received the ball on their opening possession of the game, they would find some room to run through the tackles with success. Charles Waugh would finalize Camden’s scoring drive by crossing the goal line from 8 yards out and the Panthers would take an 8-0 lead with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. Thomas Benson would convert the two point attempt. With their first possession of the game that started in the first would end in the second quarter. Ellis would find his way straight up the middle and score Sterling’s first of his three touchdowns. The two point conversion would fail and the Panthers would hold an 8-6 lead up until halftime.

Starting right at the beginning of the second half, Ellis would demonstrate his open field running ability. When the kickoff fell into Ellis’ arms, that’s when the show began. Just fourteen seconds into the half and 84 yard return would give Sterling new life and regain their home field lead 14-8. But back came the Panthers this time with the running game setting up the aerial attack. Quarterback Tim Stewart completed a 14 yard pass to Watkins and Camden would be back on top 16-14. Big time players come up big when need and Ellis was ready to perform. On a first and fourteen from their own 49 yard line, Ellis would survey the field looking for an open receiving and then just take off. The Knights would take back the lead heading into the final quarter leading 20-16.

Photos by Art Redd

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