With only a few weeks left in the regular season, high school teams are looking to finish on a strong note.
The Camden Fairview Cardinals and the Harmony Grove Hornets got big wins this past Friday night, taking both one notch closer to the top of their conference standings.
Harmony Grove went on the road to take on the Fordyce Redbugs for control of the 3A-6 conference. It was the Hornets' toughest battle since near the beginning of the season.
Harmony Grove saw clutch performances on both sides of the ball, with quarterback Caleb Johnson securing a thrilling 29-28 win over the Redbugs.
Camden Fairview went on the road to take on the Hope Bobcats in a potential trap game. With big conference matchups against the Hot Springs Trojans and Parkview Patriots coming up, the Cardinals had to keep their momentum up, and they did. The Cardinals took down the Bobcats 49-14. Players on both sides of the ball played highly consistently, and senior tackle Khaleb Smith dominated from start to finish.
Caleb Johnson is the Camden News' Offensive Player of the Week while Khaleb Smith is the Camden News' Defensive Player of the Week.
Camden Fairview junior quarterback Darrell Adkins Jr. was in contention for offensive player of the week.
Johnson had a rough start to the game, as he constantly felt the blitzing pressure of the Redbugs' defense. He started the game with four consecutive incompletions. In the first half, Johnson only completed 1-of-9 passes for 42 yards and an interception.
In the second half, the Hornets adjusted to the Redbugs' blitzing and coverage schemes more efficiently. Johnson completed 5-of-7 of his passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Johnson had a 60-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter and a 50-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter. He also threw for a 28-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Tristan Herndon early in the fourth quarter.
In a critical drive for the Hornets, who were down 22-21 with 2:03 left in the game, Johnson found senior wide receiver Harry Nix for a 12-yard play, followed by a rollout to the right where he found Nix in double-coverage for a 34-yard touchdown. The successful two-point conversion run by running back Damariyon Billingly put the Hornets up 29-22.
This was the not first clutch play from Johnson as a passer this season, but it came against a heated rival in the Redbugs.
The Camden Fairview Cardinals survived the road trip and avoided overlooking Hope to prepare for the Hot Springs Trojans and the Parkview Patriots.
Senior Khaleb Smith has been highly efficient for several seasons, but this performance against the Bobcats was one of the most dominant yet. Smith accounted for three total tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a pass breakup. He dominated the line of scrimmage and made huge plays in the backfield.
In eight games this season, Smith has accumulated 33 total tackles, 16 solo tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pass breakup.