By Greg Gulas
With a share of the conference championship on the line, Campbell’s electrifying running back Ja’les Hughes said it was the Red Devils’ defense that set the table for their offense.
The Red Devils’ defense scored three touchdowns, two via interception, overshadowing Hughes’ 76-yard touchdown run and 190 ground yards as Campbell Memorial defeated Newton Falls, 35-16 Friday at John Knapick Field to earn a share of the All-American Conference Blue Tier crown with Girard.
Girard, whose only loss came at the hands of the Red Devils, 42-35 last week, defeated LaBrae, 50-0 to force the division tie.
“You have to give credit to Ron DeJulio and his defensive staff because they did an excellent job and found the end zone for us three times tonight,” Campbell coach Mickey Sikora said. “We have a lot of weapons that we can use offensively, but the turf didn’t permit us to use them all.
The league title was the second consecutive crown for Campbell, which won the title outright last season en-route to a 10-2 overall mark and postseason berth.
“No one will know all the adversity that we had to overcome this season, yet we never lost sight of our goals,” Sikora said. “Our goals remain very, very simple — take it one day and one game at a time, win the conference and then worry about the playoffs.”
The Red Devils scored first when Hughes dashed 76 yards to paydirt with 8:06 left in the opening frame.
Campbell made it 12-0 just 14 seconds into the second quarter when quarterback Brandon Reyes showed his defensive prowess, picking off Tigers quarterback Matt Brazin and then dashing 44 yards for the score.
When Reyes found Anthony Rushton with a 31-yard toss at 3:41 of the period, Campbell opened an 18-0 advantage despite failing to convert all three placement attempts.
“Our goal was always to win the league title and to accomplish that tonight is very, very special,” Hughes said. “It doesn’t matter who we shared it with, just to win it two straight years is a good feeling for all of us.”
The Tigers’ Brian Moser single-handedly helped Newton Falls get back into the game, scoring on a 67-yard pass from Brazin and then picking off Reyes for a 68-yard touchdown to cut the Red Devils’ lead to 18-14.