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Camden Fairview prepares to host tough White Hall in second round of Playoffs

by Michael Hanich | November 18, 2021 at 5:43 p.m.
Photo By: Michael Hanich Players of Camden Fairiview gather to prepare for their road game against the Hope Bobcats.

The 5A State Semi-Finals are here with one of the biggest spotlights being put on he Camden Fairview Cardinals (10-1), who are set to host the White Hall Bulldogs (9-2). This game is one of the most highly anticipated playoff matchups of the week.

For the first time in several weeks, the Cardinals are entering Friday's matchup as an underdog. The Cardinals are coming off a close 26-21 win at home last week over the Greene County Tech Golden Eagles. The Bulldogs are coming off their first round 31-17 win at home over the Farmington Cardinals.

Tonight's game will feature the team's two completely different styles of offense. Camden Fairview's offense continues to be one of the most consistent and explosive in the state, as they average 42.5 points per game behind a well-balanced offense.

Last week against the Golden Eagles, the offense for the Cardinals were able to drive the ball consistently down the field. Junior quarterback Martavius Thomas led the charge for the Cardinals' offense, as their rushing game was shut down by Greene County Tech. Thomas passed for 16-of-24 completions for 241 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and 109.9 quarterback rating. He also rushed for 95 yards (of the Cardinals' 168 rushing yards) on 11 carries.

Thomas will have the responsibility of driving the Cardinals' offense down the field against a highly efficient Bulldogs. The defense of Bulldogs' allows only an average of 11.7 points per game, as their secondary is one of the most consistent and most experienced units in their conference. In 11 games this season, the defense of White Hall has accounted for 33 pass breakups and 14 interceptions.

The Bulldogs will attempt to lockdown through double coverage some of the top receivers for Camden Fairview such as senior wide receiver Brandon Copeland. The good news for Camden Fairview is that Thomas has been highly efficient in spreading the ball throughout the field. It helps the Cardinals more that junior wide receivers Jarvis Reed and Aaron Alsobrook are back from injury. The main concern for Thomas is to make the proper reads -- which he has been doing all season for the Cardinals -- and avoid turning the ball over.

The defense for Camden Fairview will be facing a White Hall offense that likes to utilize the RPO and designed quarterback runs. White Hall senior quarterback Matthew Martinez is quick to read the defensive schemes and blitzes of the opposing defenses. He is highly elusive when he pulls the ball to either run it or throw multiple short efficient passes. The Bulldogs have three main rushers, including Martinez, utilized to extend the drives and wear down the opposing defenses throughout the game.

Last week, the Cardinals defensive line had a big game of getting to the quarterback of Greene County Tech. Senior defensive end Jacovey Barker accounted for seven solo tackles, five sacks, five tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Senior defensive tackles Mark Welch and Timothy Dawn were two other players on the line that accounted for tackles for loss last week against Greene County Tech. They will have a huge role this Friday of potentially shutting down the offense of White Hall, who excels in avoiding missed tackles and making big plays on the ground.

If Barker, Welch, Dawn and other contributors of the defense on the line or blitzing linebackers can make the tackle in the backfield, it will be hard for White Hall to create some rhythm.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. tonight in Camden.

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