Lack of depth, with several players going both ways, was a key in French Camp’s 34-24 loss to Winona Christian last week. And it is something FCA coach Nathan Wright and his Panthers will be working on as the season continues.
“It’s kind of what we figured would happen,” said coach Nathan Wright. “When guys got tired and we had to substitute, things got away from us.”
The Panthers moved the ball in the second half, but drives were stalled when quarterback C.J. Johnson took losses while attempting to pass. “That hurt us bad,” Wright said.
Winona Christian took a 6-0 lead four minutes into the game on an 18-yard touchdown pass. French Camp responded on the first play after the ensuring kickoff. From play action, Johnson rolled out and found Javen Anderson 15 yards downfield. Anderson did the rest, turning it into a 74-yard scoring play.
“He did a good job holding on to the ball,” Wright said.
Johnson ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead. The Panthers made it 16-6 when Phillip Caradine scored on a nine-year run, then added the two-point conversion. After a Winona Christian eight-yard scoring pass, French Camp scored eight more points before halftime when Johnson scored on an eight-yard run and ran for the two-point conversion.
But that was all the scoring for the Panthers.
French Camp totaled 237 yards – 153 on the ground and 84 through the air. Caradine carried eight times for 93 yards. Johnson ran for 70 yards and completed two passes for 84.
Johnson and Caradine were also the team’s leading tacklers from the secondary. Johnson had five solo tackles and four assists and Caradine four of each. Anderson had an interceptions and Logan Campbell a fumble recovery.
“We need to improve everywhere,” Wright said. “A lot of it is guys in positions where they are inexperienced.”
French Camp has another game with an MAIS opponent when the Panthers host Starkville Academy Friday. “They will be well coached and they will have good balance running and passing,” Wright said.
Starkville Academy is also looking for its first victory after opening with a 34-13 loss to Lamar School. The Volunteers won last year’s matchup with French Camp 25-0.