COLE CAMP — The Tipton Cardinals routed the Cole Camp Bluebirds 55-17 Friday night at Cole Camp High School to win the unofficial Kaysinger Conference football championship. The win stretched their regular-season win streak to 66 games.
But Tipton coach Tony Braby was far from satisfied.
“We just weren’t there mentally,” Braby said. “(People will say) ‘It’s like you’ve got to be crazy, look at the score.’ I don’t think we played as well as we should have. Just too many mental lapses. Maybe we’re good enough where we can do that once in a while. Down the road, you just can’t do that all the time.”
The Cardinals (7-0, 3-0) started out on defense, just the way they like it. They forced a three and out on Cole Camp’s first possession, giving them the ball at the Bluebirds’ 41-yard line.
Six plays later, Dallas Peoples capped the short drive with a 19-yard touchdown run that featured a spin move just past the line of scrimmage. Dylan Cooper’s extra-point try failed, and the Cardinals led 6-0 with 7:07 left in the first half.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to start out on defense. That’s the game plan,” Braby said. “We want to try to get them in a hole and put a lot of pressure on them. Hopefully, get things rolling.”
Cole Camp (4-3, 2-1) wasn’t willing to roll over just yet.
After Ramon Jamerson scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and Austin Weinberg made the PAT to give the Bluebirds a 7-6 lead, Tipton struck fast on its ensuing possession.
Quarterback Riley Brant raced 54 yards on the first play from scrimmage to give the lead right back to the Cardinals. The 2-point conversion try failed, but the Cardinals led 12-7 with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
Brant finished with 100 yards rushing on eight carries and scored two touchdowns.
Weinberg booted a 34-yard field goal when Cole Camp’s next possession stalled. The series looked promising because of Brendan Rusk’s 34-yard run on first down. The Bluebirds trailed 12-10 with 1:48 to go in the first.
Tipton wasn’t finished on offense, though.
Brant and Ethan Koechner teamed up for a 28-yard pass play to begin the Cardinals’ next possession, and Peoples ended it with a 33-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds remaining. Koechner scored two points on a conversion run, and the score was Tipton 20, Cole Camp 10 after one quarter.
Brant had a big passing night, going 5 for 8 for 147 yards.
Before the first quarter ended, Cole Camp committed the first of its two fumbles. This one was recovered at the Bluebirds’ 21.
Once in the second quarter, Peoples scored on a 9-yard run, and the Cardinals led 26-10 with 11:44 remaining in the first half.
Brant and Koechner connected again with 8:19 to play in the second. The 50-yard pass play gave Tipton a 32-10 lead.
The Cardinals added a touchdown before halftime when they drove 62 yards on 11 plays, capped by Koechner’s 16-yard touchdown run with 1:11 to go. Peoples scored the 2-point conversion, and Tipton led 40-10 at halftime.
Cole Camp held the Cardinals to three plays and out on their first possession and capitalized on Brad Martin’s 82-yard touchdown run with 9:22 left in the third quarter. Weinberg’s PAT sliced Tipton’s lead to 40-17.
A 31-yard kickoff return by Wade Wood set up another touchdown for the Cardinals on the ensuing possession. Brant and Peoples connected for a 44-yard pass play to give the Cardinals first and goal at the 3. Brant closed the drive with a 3-yard TD run, and Tipton led 46-17 with 7:58 remaining in the third.
Peoples raced 46 yards on a fourth-and-7 play to score the Cardinals’ final touchdown. Cooper’s extra-point kick was good, and the score was 53-17.
“Dallas Peoples had another tremendous night,” Braby said of Peoples’ final touchdown, “bouncing off people, three, four, five six tacklers. That was a huge play on fourth-and-6. My offensive coordinator thought we needed to throw. We did. We gave it to Dallas and that was as good as a throw.”
Peoples finished with 156 yards on 18 carries.
The Cardinals received two more points when they tackled a Cole Camp ball carrier in the end zone with 2:50 to go.
Note: No official Kaysinger champion will be named this year because less than 50 percent of the league’s schools play the sport.
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