Kevin Becker (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson H.S.) hauled in 11 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown on Saturday afternoon for Valparaiso, but the Crusaders could not overcome 35 second quarter points by Campbell as the Camels earned a 56-14 victory over the Brown and Gold at Barker-Lane Stadium in Buies Creek, N.C.
The Crusaders and Camels were scoreless through the opening 15 minutes of play despite Valpo moving the football. Valpo entered Campbell territory twice only to turn the ball over on downs.
“We had some good drives going early but we didn’t finish,” head coach Dale Carlson said.
Campbell took advantage of a Valpo miscue early in the second quarter to get on the scoreboard. On a third down play, the Crusaders got a quarterback sack, making it appear as if the hosts would have to punt. However, a personal foul penalty kept the drive alive and on the next play, C.J. Oates carried the ball 38 yards down to the Valpo three. Quarterback Daniel Polk then found the end zone from three yards out on the option to put Campbell on top 7-0.
“He had that one penalty and it seemed like the house caved in on us,” Carlson added.
A Valpo fumble on its next possession set Campbell up at the Crusader five yard line and one play later, Kurt Odom scored on a run. A blocked punt then gave the Camels ball at the Crusader 12 before Polk again scored from three yards out, putting the hosts on top 21-0 with 7:43 to play before halftime.
Polk found Mike Stryffeler from 16 yards out in the corner of the end zone for Campbell’s fourth score of the quarter and Polk’s third three-yard touchdown run of the quarter made it 35-0 Camels at halftime.
Campbell (3-6, 2-4 PFL) added scoring drives on its first two possessions of the third quarter, one on a score by Odom from nine yards out and another on a Karl Smith three-yard run.
The Crusaders finally found the scoreboard late in the third quarter when Eric Lemon (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore H.S.) connected with Becker across the middle in the end zone from 16 yards out for a touchdown, making it 49-7 Campbell after three. The scoring strike capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive for the Brown and Gold.
A 50-yard touchdown run by Odom closed the Camels’ scoring early in the final stanza before Valpo added one late scoring drive. An 11-play, 73-yard march, capped with a leaping grab by Sean McCarty (Waukesha, Wis./West H.S.) in the corner of the end zone marked Lemon’s second scoring pass of the game.
“I challenged the offense at halftime,” Carlson said. “It was good to see that we were able to put some points on the board at the end.”
Valpo finished the game with 305 yards of total offense, including 239 through the air. Lemon was 25-of-42 for 236 yards, including 18-of-24 after the break. Josh Keatley (Woodstock, Ohio/Triad H.S.) led the Crusader ground game with eight carries for 35 yards.
Campbell finished the day with 484 total yards, including 416 on the ground. Smith had seven carries for 110 yards while Odom and Polk each had 77 yards rushing and three scores.
Sean Graves (Akron, Ohio/Buchtel H.S.) led the Crusader defense with nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks.
Valparaiso (0-10, 0-7) will close out the 2010 season next Saturday in Morehead, Ky. battling the Eagles of Morehead State. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. CST.
Game Notes: Greg Wood (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville H.S.) averaged 43.8 yards in five punts, landing two inside of the 20 yard line … Wood had a career-long 61-yard kick on his first punt … Travis Anderson (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) made seven catches on the day … Valpo had a season-high 11 penalties for 100 yards … Campbell leads the all-time series 2-1.