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2021 Season Recap for Camden Fairview Cardinals

by Michael Hanich | November 22, 2021 at 8:09 p.m.
Photo By: Michael Hanich Camden Fairview offensive line set in the game against Hope.

The 2021 Arkansas high school football season has been one of the best seasons for the Camden Fairview Cardinals (10-2; 6-0 in 5A South Conference play) in just under a decade. The Cardinals took a giant leap forward in Jeremiah Monden's sixth season as head coach as he led the team to its first 10-win season since the 2013 season.

The Cardinals also won their first outright conference title since the 2012 season.

Camden Fairview saw serious star production from players on both sides of the ball. Most of these players are seniors looking to jump that final hurdle to become a conference championship-winning team and a consistent playoff contender. Several younger players made huge contributions to the team's success as well.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Cardinals were led by junior dual-threat quarterback Martavius Thomas, who had an explosive breakout season. Thomas consistently improved his performance in each game for Camden Fairview. He was a huge problem for opposing defenses all season as he consistently exploited weak coverage schemes, spotted matchup mismatches and displayed his great arm strength and accuracy.

In the first 11 games this season, Thomas threw for 166-of-247 completions for 3,046 yards, 32 touchdowns, only six interceptions and a quarterback rating of 138.9. He also rushed for 808 yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries. Thomas easily broke the school's single-game record for most passing yards in the 62-3 win over DeQueen as he passed for 514 yards.

Thomas helped the Cardinals average 40.1 points per game through the 12 games this season. The Cardinals accounted for at least 40 points in six games.

The Cardinals also had a great selection of talented receivers for Thomas to throw to. One of the players with the biggest productivity this season was senior wide receiver Brandon Copeland, who caught 66 receptions for 1,169 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had five games this season where he accounted for at least 100-yard receiving games.

Two other high-volume receivers that impacted Camden Fairview's high-caliber passing game were juniors Jarvis Reed and Aaron Alsobrook. Reed caught 34 receptions for 658 yards and six touchdowns, while Alsobrook caught 39 receptions for 612 yards and six touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Michael Suell was a red zone threat and surprising deep-threat for Camden Fairview as he caught ten receptions for 282 yards and five touchdowns.

The offense also had a dangerous running game with their elusive and dynamic dual-threat quarterback and two big senior bruising running backs in Ja'Coriae Brown and Ja'Toney McGhee. Brown rushed for 851 yards and 14 touchdowns on 138 carries in ten games this season before their playoff game versus White Hall. McGhee rushed for 559 yards and nine touchdowns on 65 carries, with some of his runs being explosive off-the-bat.

The offensive line, led by Baylor-commit guard/tackle Timothy Dawn and University of Central Arkansas-commit tackle Mark Welch, was one of the most stable units in the conference. They were the anchors for one of the most aggressive offensive lines in south Arkansas as they were consistent in defending against the pass rush and dominated in run blocks.

As a whole, the offensive line accounted for 164 pancake blocks in 11 games this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals had some huge moments earlier in the season and some struggles late in the year. The Cardinals allowed an average of 21.4 points per game throughout the 12 games this season. There have been times where this defense has been dominant, as they had two shutout games this season (Hamburg and Arkansas High School). They also allowed only a field goal in the 62-3 win on the road against De Queen.

Senior defensive end Jacovey Barker created a record-breaking season by shattering the school's season sack record of 17 by accounting for 19 sacks in 11 games this season before the playoff game versus White Hall. Barker possesses a rare combination of athleticism, a great burst of speed and strength as he consistently won one-on-one against the opposing team's offensive tackles. Through the first 11 games, Barker accounted for 63 total tackles, 61 solo tackles, 26 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery.

Mark Welch was one of the most disruptive and unstoppable interior defensive linemen in the state. His huge frame, along with his high motor and strength, made him a nightmare to block throughout the season. Welch accumulated 51 total tackles, 49 solo tackles, 23 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Junior defensive end Kameron Eastham was another big surprise this season in a dominant and aggressive Cardinals' defensive line. Eastham accumulated 47 solo tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries and 3.5 sacks as he held his own at the line of scrimmage against bigger linemen.

Timothy Dawn was the other huge piece of a strong defensive line as he accounted for 23 solo tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks.

The linebacker corps for Camden Fairview has been highly consistent in stopping the opposing team's run game and stopping the short passing game. These were linebackers that were constantly in the linebacker corps in the first half of the season. As the season rolled along, they were sent out for more blitzing schemes.

Senior linebacker Elijah Tate led the team in total tackles accounted for with 67 and solo tackles accounted for with 66. Tate also accounted for two sacks on a few blitzing schemes.

Senior Kaeveon Ross was another consistent linebacker for the Cardinals' defense as he was all over the field making plays. Ross accounted for 55 solo tackles and two tackles for loss.

One of the most concerning attributes to the Cardinals' defense throughout the season was the secondary and their struggles to defend against high-caliber, speedy receivers. In the first 11 games of the season, the Cardinals allowed 32 of the 62 total touchdowns scored against them to progress through the passing game.

Sophomore cornerback/safety Jabauree Lockhart has been a player that has been growing as a starter into a consistent playmaker. Lockhart accounted for 40 solo tackles (the most from the defensive backs), 16 pass breakups, a team-high three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

The Camden Fairview Cardinals achieved one of their biggest goals by winning the 5A South Conference title. Even with a talented and deep roster and a determined coaching staff, the Cardinals fell short of their state title goals due to the insanely deep teams in the 5A.

Before their second-round matchup to White Hall, Camden Fairview was ranked sixth in the 5A state by Hootens. This team will look to rebound next year with a more determined and aggressive attitude. The Camden Fairview Cardinals will be back and better than ever for the 2022 high school season.

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