It was a story as old as Cougar football on Friday night. Campbell County has never scored a victory at Blankenship Field. It’s a mountain the football program has been trying to climb since the 1970s when the two teams began playing each other. Unfortunately for Campbell County, Oak Ridge has legitimate 5A state championship hopes in fall 2020 and the Cougars are not there yet.
The game didn’t go well for the Cougars. On offense, routes were covered by the speedy athletic Wildcat defensive backfield. The Oak Ridge defensive front was able to get after Hunter White and stuff the run with equal effectiveness. The Cougar offense misses the down the field speed and leaping ability of Devlin Dukes in 2020. Mason Shanks was a bright spot on offense, catching balls in traffic and breaking tackles a few times, MaKyle Shepherd had a long reception but outside of that there just wasn’t much there beyond 10 yards for CCHS.
The Wildcat offense was able to be both methodical and hit big plays as they kept having drives end in the endzone. It was 35-0 at the half and Oak Ridge had only punted one time. Wyatt Sharp had one of his best games for the Cougar defense, making several nice tackles outside.
The Cougars had a special teams mistake that let the Wildcats having two possessions in a row. This resulted in 14 points in five or six seconds of game time as the Wildcats scored immediately after the turnover.
For Campbell County to compete with this particular Wildcat team would have required they be the ones making the most mistakes, but Oak Ridge had fewer turnovers, fewer penalties, fewer missed tackles and fewer special teams mistakes.
Even the best Cougar teams have had long nights in Oak Ridge and this time was more of the same. All the Cougars can do is hope the team has some linemen get healthier and look towards Seymour next week. That game will hopefully be a chance for CCHS to get more into an offensive rhythm and put some points on the board. There should be fewer mismatches for the Cougar defense as well. The game next week is at Seymour with a 7:30 kickoff.