Campbellsville Tigers shine under new lights in season opening win
By Chris Megginson / Campbellsville Sports Information
Campbellsville, Ky. — To say that there’s an excitement surrounding the start of the 2010 Campbellsville University football season would be an understatement. More than 3,500 fans packed Finley Stadium and its fence lines Saturday night to watch the Fighting Tigers make history and start the season 1-0 with a 34-7 victory over Kentucky Christian University in the first home night game in school history.
“I looked up there near the end of the game and the crowd still hadn’t left. I thought it was a great atmosphere for college football. I think it brings something new to this campus and town,” CU head coach Perry Thomas said.
A packed house at Finley Stadium isn’t necessarily new, but when the words “Homecoming” or “Georgetown” did not appear on the ticket stub, players couldn’t ask for a better following.
“There was a lot of love and we appreciate that,” junior receiver Stan Warrenhuffman said. “I wasn’t expecting there to be this many people. It was good to see everybody come out and support us.”
If the excitement of the milestone wasn’t enough, the crowd was immediately captured by the play on the field, as the Kentucky Christian Knights attempted to trick the Tigers with an onside opening kickoff.
Sophomore Winston Harbison of Edmonton, Ky., wasn’t fooled though, falling on the ball at the KCU 43 to start the game.
Transfer quarterback Will Warf, a sophomore from Metcalfe County, Ky., opened the play with a 5-yard pass toward the home sideline for Warrenhuffman. The play had some holding their breath, including the receiver, who had not caught a pass in a game since Sept. 19 last season when a knee injury sidelined him for the year.
“The first play of the game kind of had me frazzled a bit, of course it being the first play back. It was the same exact play from almost the same yard line where I got hurt last year,” Warrenhuffman said. “It kind of had me jumpy a little bit, but once I got the ball, it went away and I was fine.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio native was fine alright. He went on to catch two touchdown passes, his second two-TD game of his career.
The Tigers’ opening drive resulted in a 34-yard field goal by David Hon, which remained the score through the first quarter with the help of a missed 47-yard field goal by KCU and an interception by Jeffrey Demary to kill the Knights’ two drives.
Warrenhuffman started the second quarter by jumping over the top of KCU defensive back Terrell Banks to snag the Tigers’ first touchdown with only six ticks off the 15 minute clock.
“It was a group effort. The line blocked real well and the quarterback was on point. You can’t ask more as a receiver,” Warrenhuffman said of his first game back.
KCU was once again plagued by the Tiger defense on the ensuing drive, as Trey Mayes and Jermaine Dumas flushed Knights quarterback Beau Dailey from the backfield. Senior Karl Charles stripped the ball for the Tigers’ second takeaway of the game, which was recovered by Calvin Bini.
Two possessions later for the Tigers, Robert Hill made his 2010 debut at quarterback and found open field on a 49-yard touchdown run to stretch CU’s run to 16-0. Hon tacked on the extra point and added a 28-yard field goal late in the half to send the Tigers into the locker room up 20-0.
KCU’s offensive woes continued in the third quarter, as Henri Baynham-Baker forced a fumble on the Knights’ second play of the half. Derek Mincy came up with the recovery for CU. The turnover resulted in seven more points for CU, as Wayne Coffee picked up 51 yards in five carries to help march the Tigers down field. Warf completed the 67-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Warrenhuffman
Campbellsville’s final touchdown came late in the third quarter after an interception by Tiger transfer Earl McCann. Brunswick, Ga., native Harold Small caught his first touchdown pass of the season and seven of his career on an 11-yard pass from Warf.
The Tigers carried a shutout into the fourth quarter. Brad Stafford put the Knights on the board after recovering a bad Tiger snap in the end zone for a touchdown. CU spent the remaining 6:21 of the game, running out the clock to start the year 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-South Conference East Division.
The defensive performance was one of the best in Thomas’ 23 games as head coach, as the Tigers held KCU to 91 yards of offense – the first sub 100. Also, the Tigers remained strong defensively on third downs. After holding opponents to 32.3 percent of successful third down tries in 2009, Campbellsville gave KCU a 7 percent success rate Saturday (1-of-14). The Tigers also forced four turnovers and started the season for the second-straight year with at least three takeaways in a game.
“I thought our defense played really well. We were stingy against the run, and I thought our coverage was sound. We mixed some stuff up on them a couple of times and made some interceptions,” Thomas said. “We have some things to work on, but I thought we played a solid game defensively. It was a shutout defensively.”
CU will travel to Union College in Barbourville, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 4 for a noon kickoff. The game will be broadcast live by K-Country 105.7 FM and KCountry.com.