The Camels coughed up five turnovers, gave up three passing touchdowns of 40-plus yards and lost their top running back for the entire second half Friday.
Those missteps added up to a 41-7 loss to Sheridan for Campbell County High School’s homecoming game.
“We started off good in the first half. Everybody was playing sound football,” CCHS quarterback Kaden Race said. “We just kind of got away from that in the second half, and that’s what came and got us.”
At kickoff, the temperature was 33 degrees in Gillette, and it showed on the field as both teams traded fumbles on their first drives.
The Broncs took advantage of a Race fumble on his own 30-yard line and Broncs running back Garrett Coon ran in for a 4-yard touchdown with 3:16 to play in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
Camels running back Vijay Pitter responded on the next drive, taking a short pitch from Race up the middle for a 1-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with 10:34 to play in the second quarter.
Sheridan was the only team to mark up the board after Pitter’s touchdown.
The Broncs gashed the Camels with a 43-yard receiving touchdown from quarterback Jacob Boint to receiver Lowden Askins on the next drive.
Entering the game, the Camels had the worst-ranked passing defense in Class 4A, allowing more than 250 yards per game and 23 touchdowns through the air.
“We’re in the right coverage. We’re just biting on silly things and making silly mistakes, and it’s costing us, big time,” CCHS coach Andrew Rose said.
They’re not trusting each other, Rose said, and players get caught out of position trying to do more than their job.
“That’s what’s really taking wind out of our sails,” he said.
Campbell County had a chance late in the first half to tie the game when Brady Tompkins intercepted Boint’s pass with just over 3 minutes to play in the half.
But Pitter took a handoff to start the drive, got hit hard in the hands and coughed the ball up. Pitter suffered an injury to his right hand on the play and sat out the rest of the game.
“On my fumble, I don’t know what happened, but I got up and I couldn’t move it,” Pitter said. He was pacing around behind his teammates with a coat over his pads for much of the second half.
Pitter said he will be OK to play next week.
“I’ll be alright. I’m not leaving these boys hanging,” he said.
Coon scored a 1-yard touchdown run with 12 seconds remaining in the half, and the Broncs led at halftime 20-7 after a missed extra point.
To open up the second half, the Broncs scored two receiving touchdowns on their first two plays. The first was 52 yards to Wade Jacobs, and the second was 45 yards to Coon.
Sheridan’s Brock Steel caught a 9-yard reception in the back corner of the end zone for the last score of the game and a 41-7 Sheridan lead.
The Camels used Tompkins, a sophomore, to replace Pitter at the running back position, and he finished with seven carries for 1 total yard. It was Tompkins’ first varsity game.
“We’ll get (Pitter) checked out, and see where he’s at, and if not, we’ll start repping other guys,” Rose said about the future of the Camels’ offense going into the last two regular season games. “Whoever is back there, I really don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference.”
The Broncs put their backups in after scoring their third touchdown of the third quarter, and the Camels didn’t scrape anything back.
Boint finished with four touchdown passes, an interception and 205 passing yards for the Broncs.
Race was 4-for-15 for 53 yards, and threw three interceptions. He ran for 66 yards and fumbled the ball twice.
“That’s on me, personally. Just not making smart enough reads, not hitting guys when they’re getting open,” Race said. “They’re doing their job, and I just need to do a better job of doing mine.”
Coon led the Broncs with two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown along with his 57 rushing yards.
Pitter ran for 50 yards on 13 carries, all coming in the first half.
The Camels are scheduled to play Cheyenne South (1-6) on Friday at home. The Bison notched their first victory Friday over Laramie 36-35.
“We might have to go back to basics and just kind of go back to our ground-and-pound,” Rose said. “And we’ve got to start slinging the ball a little bit more and broadening our offense.”