It wasn’t easy, but the Camden Fairview Cardinals (2-2, 1-0) started conference play with a critical win over the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams (2-2,0-1), 26-21.
The Cardinals led the majority of the game but found themselves down, 21-20 entering the fourth quarter after back-to-back turnovers.
CF opened the game with a productive air attack behind the strong arm of sophomore quarterback Logan Robertson. The Cardinals found themselves in a third and long situation where Robertson found Javien Clemmer who outleaped defenders to bring in a big touchdown. The ensuing FG was no good as the Cardinals took the early 6-0 lead.
The Cardinal defense forced a Lakeside punt and the Cardinal offense would strike quick, this time on a 52 yard screen pass to Jaden Bates. The 2 point conversion was no good.
With 10:28 left in the half, Robertson would find Clemmer for an athletic catch in the end zone on another third down pass - this time for 25 yards. On the 2 point conversion, Robertson rolled to his left and found Bates to make the score 20-0.
The Cardinal offense would struggle to execute for the next 28 minutes of game time and the Rams would find a rhythm in its passing attack. CF appeared to be on the verge of putting the game away when it recovered a kick. However officials ruled in favor of Lakeside and the home team would capitalize by moving the ball down field for a score midway through the third.
The Cardinals led 20-7 going into the half.
In the third, CF moved the ball into Lakeside territory but the Rams would pick off an overthrown pass. The Cardinal defense would force Lakeside into a third down but the Rams were able to come up with a huge reception on a double reverse pass to get the home team inside the Cardinal five yard line and scored a play later on a run.
Things would get worse for the Cardinals when Bates was stacked on the ensuing kickoff return and Rams defender were able to rip the ball from him.
Lakeside would score again and get the PAT to take the 21-20 lead with 45 seconds left in the third.
The Cardinal turned the ball over on downs in their own territory after a fake punt came up a yard shy of the first down marker. The Rams would turn the ball over on downs as well.
On the next Cardinal offense possession, Robertson would go back to his hot handed receiver in Clemmer and the junior wideout wouldn’t disappoint with a 59 yard touchdown reception that came in similar athletic fashion as his first touchdown reception. The Cardinals were unable to get the two points after and held tight to a 26-21 lead.
Both teams would exchange offensive possessions before Lakeside got the ball back with just over three minutes remaining in the ball game. The Rams would threaten at midfield before CF’s Eric Albert would pick off a pass with 1:20 left in the contest.
From there, the Cardinals were able to kill the clock.
Clemmer would finish with seven receptions for around 130 yards and three touchdowns. Robertson had his best completion percentage of the year unofficially throwing for over 250 yards while going 14/22 for four touchdowns. Bates had 5 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. Erik hall rushed 14 times for 60 yards.
Matthew Pouncil came up with two solo sacks on the night as the defense was able to hold Lakeside’s combined rushing total to under 100 yards.
The Cardinal will now shift focus to hosting the Texarkana Razorbacks during homecoming week.