High School Football

Harmon's return spoiled with loss to Campbell Co.

Fairy-tale scripts would have had Coach Mike Harmon make a victorious return to his alma mater.

It would have had him leaving the Tates Creek field atop his new players' shoulder pads after a season-opening victory.

But Campbell County made sure the former All-City lineman didn't get his happy ending by jumping on Creek early and winning 31-14.

Getting the early 14-0 lead at the half and 24-0 lead by midway through the third quarter was key, Coach Troy Styer said.

"Any time you've got a coaching change, they're going to come out real excited and we had to put it on them early to take away some of their energy," he said.

Quarterback Andrew Eshman led the way, throwing three touchdowns and completing 10 of his 17 attempts for 131 yards.

"Coach told us they were trying to figure out their offense and everything," Eshman said. "We knew we had to take advantage."

Two of Eshman's touchdown passes, including the opening score, were to Tony Bishop.

"He always runs his routes hard and every time he does it he gets open," Eshman said of Bishop, who had five catches for 61 yards.

Eshman was picked off early in the second quarter by Jacob Kadel, but Creek failed to capitalize, making it all the way to the 2-yard line before being stranded by a fourth-down quarterback keep that was just short.

The Camels drove the ball 98 yards down the field and Eshman found Ryan Steffan with a 16-yard floater deep into the end zone to make it 14-0 at the half.

"We thought maybe we could have been up by a little bit more at the half if we'd cut down on some of those mistakes," Styer said.

They made up for the mistakes early in the third quarter, scoring on a 37-yard field goal by Kyle Newman and then a Corey Hunley 15-yard interception return of an errant Rozell James pass.

James couldn't seem to shake the defense or his nerves and struggled to get into a passing rhythm, completing just three of his 14 pass attempts for 17 yards.

But Creek seemed to get more comfortable with the game and its new coaching staff by the fourth quarter, when it scored all 14 of its points.

That's when backup quarterback Chris Kemplin came in and hit Chris Hagan on a quick-hitting 49-yard touchdown pass one play after the Camels lost the ball on downs. Kemplin completed eight of 15 passes for 111 yards.

Jontez Jones added a 60-yard touchdown run to make it 31-14 but it was too late. Jones finished with 11 runs for 106 yards.

"We can play better than we did," Harmon said. "Campbell County's a good football team and we made some mistakes early and dug a hole, but we did do a little bit better in the second half."

The fourth-quarter surge could be a sign of things to come, though.

"We've got a long way to go, but we'll be OK," Harmon said. "We'll get better."


Campbell Co. 7 7 10 7—31

Tates Creek 0 0 0 14—14

CC—Tony Bishop 8 pass from Andrew Eshman (Kyle Newman kick); CC —Ryan Steffan 16 pass from Eshman (Newman kick); CC—Newman 37 field goal; CC—Corey Hunley 15 interception return (Newman kick); TC—Jordan Hagan 49 pass from Chris Kemplin (Brandon Shrout run); CC —Bishop 33 pass from Eshman (Newman kick); TC—Jontez Jones 60 run (run failed).

Records: Campbell Co. 1-0, Tates Creek 0-1.


First downs 15 14

Rushing yards 132 161

Passing yds. 131 128

Comp-Attempts-Interceptions 10-17-2 11-29-3

Fumbles-Lost 4-2 0-0

Penalties 7-46 4-30

Punts 2-53 4-101