The Indians’ victory over Campbell Memorial clinched a share of the AAC Blue title.
By JOHN KOVACH
vindicator sports staff
GIRARD — The Girard High football team’s pinpoint passing attack early in the game and the Indians’ rugged line play on both offense and defense, spelled the difference in their showdown with Campbell Memorial on Friday night at Arrowhead Field.
Quarterback Adam Charles had all three of his touchdown passes in the first period, the first two going to Landon Smith and the next one to Dominic Morgan, as Girard took a 20-0 lead and went on to trounce the Red Devils, 40-7.
The decisive victory enabled the Indians to stay undefeated and clinch a share of the All-American Conference Blue Tier championship.
Charles completed 12 of 19 passes for 202 yards and no interceptions, while Morgan caught six passes for 97 yards and Smith three for 76 yards.
Girard (8-0, 4-0 AAC Blue) also got a potent running performance from senior Tallen Birmingham, who scored twice on runs of 1 yard and 8 yards in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, and finished with 134 yards rushing in 134 carries.
Ahmed Egglestown scored Girard’s final TD on a 14-yard run, while David Meigs kicked four extra points.
“We had a tremendous start. [Three] times in a row we drove down the field,” said Girard coach Bud McSuley, crediting that to the Indians’ passing attack.
“Our passing attack was the difference. We made the correct reads. Our receivers were getting into the open.”
McSuley said his line made the offense look good.
“When our offensive and defensive lines control the line of scrimmage, our skilled players can make plays, and that’s as it was tonight,” he pointed out.
Coach Jeff Bayuk of Campbell (5-3, 3-1), which was plagued by turnovers and suffered faulty offensive execution at times and didn’t score until Girard took a 27-0 lead, said that the Indians came out with an offensive passing schemes that his team hadn’t seen before.
“They ran a couple of different formations that we were not used to, and we adjusted to those later, but we dug ourselves into a hole,” said Bayuk, whose Red Devils had four turnovers, losing two of three fumbles and saw four drives fizzle at the Girard 18, 8, 32 and 35.
“For someone to hold us to seven points after the way we have been playing says a lot about their defense.”
In fact, stressed Bayuk, “They created the turnovers. They beat us up in front. They played good defense.”
Campbell got its lone points in the third quarter when quarterback Lester Hughes connected to Richard Bledsoe on a 32-yard scoring strike and Alex Sudacov kicked the placement.
Hughes completed 8 of 17 passes for 108 yards and one interception, while Skevo Zambellis caught four passes for 74 yards. But the Red Devils were limited to only 57 rushing yards.
Mike Floravit’s fumble recovery at the Campbell 43 set up Girard’s third TD, which was Charles’ 18-yard pass to Morgan.
Carlo Eggleston and Mike Stacchiotti also had fumble recoveries for Girard, but the Indians were unable to capitalize on them for scores.
Birmingham’s first TD from the 1-yard line climaxed a 12-play, 58-yard march and led to a 27-0 lead, before Campbell finally found the scoreboard.
Carey Clinkscales’ fumble recovery at the Girard 32 set up the Hughes-to-Bledsoe scoring pass on the first play.
Then Girard drove 67 yards in eight plays to Birmingham’s 8-yard TD dash.
Late in the game, the Indians mounted another drive covering 65 yards in six plays and ending in Eggleston’s 14-yard TD dash.