And if history has taught us anything, it’ll be a short stay.
In the 86th meeting between the rival schools, the Yoemen slammed the door on the Tigers in a resounding 34-0 victory at a packed Yoe Field on the first cool evening of the football season.
Cameron held serve in the Bell series, as the home team has now won every game since 2005. Rockdale has not taken consecutive games against the Yoemen since 1976-77.
It was the first shutout in the series since Cameron escaped with a 3-0 victory in 1998.
It was the first time a Rockdale team has been shutout overall since a 21-0 loss to Robinson in 2007 (52 games) and only the second time in Miller’s seven-year tenure.
The Yoe lead the Battle of the Bell series 40-18 and 61-23-2 overall.
“This stinks. This is not good. This is not fun.”
Cameron—the No. 2 team in Class 2A—improves to 3-0 after an 0-5 beginning in 2011.
“I am just so proud of all the kids,” said Cameron Coach Rick Rhoades. “If you’re trying to win a lot of games, you have to play defense like that.”
Rhoades charges certainly accomplished that.
The 2-1 Tigers entered the contest averaging 460 yards of offense, but led by 6-foot-3, 266-pound nose guard Edgar Luna, the Yoemen turned back Rockdale at every turn.
The Tigers managed just 123 yards of total offense with only 20 of that coming on the ground on 24 carries, marking the second week in a row the running attack has been hampered.
Quarterback Ethan Brinkley suffered through an eight-for-26 evening for 103 yards. Brinkley was forced to punt 11 times.
Receiver Austin Caffey was coming off a 10-catch outing last week against Burnet but was shut out Friday and Brinkley looked his way just once.
The Yoemen weren’t exactly dominating on offense, but used two big plays to put separation between them and the Tigers.
Quarterback Jason Kopriva was 19-of-30 for 178 yards and four touchdowns, but was picked off twice.
His 71-yard hookup with Austin Christy accounted for a huge chunk of his yardage.
The Tigers kept Yoe leading rusher Keaton Denio in check, who battled for 66 yards on 21 carries.
Only 68 yards of Cameron’s 279 total yards came in the second half.
Nursing a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter after an 80-yard drive, Kopriva found Christy (6 catches, 86 yards) in the flats and the senior speedster outran everybody to the end zone to complete the 71-yard play with 10 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first half.
Less than five minutes later and after a Caffey interception, Tyler Sapp scooped up a Elijah Brooks’ fumble on first down and returned it 54 yards for a score and a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but held and on Rockdale’s next possession, Brinkley was picked off by Colton Labay.
Cameron posted a score in each of the final two quarters. The first, a five-yard pass from Kopriva to Felts that was set up by Luna, who finally corralled a Brinkley fumble after slapping it almost 30 yards down the field before pouncing on it at the Tiger 10.
The final touchdown came when Kopriva found Colton Shuffield on a 15-yard connection with 4:55 remaining to be played.
Rockdale began the contest on an upswing after Preston Ehler jumped on a Denio fumble at the 27 on the first series of the game.
Brinkley quickly guided the Tigers downfield with two lasers to Pearce Loth for a combined 40 yards sandwiched around a Brooks’ 10-yard pickup.
However the drive stalled thanks to back-to-back illegal procedure calls at the Cameron 34 and Brinkley was forced to punt for the first time on the evening.
The Yoemen were coming off a huge victory on the road over No. 4 Lexington and a come-frombehind win over Waco Connally in the opener.
“We have played three really good football teams and were fortunate enough to come out on top,” Rhoades said.
For the Tigers, it’s just a matter of regrouping.
“We still have seven games left and have to remember how this feels,” said Miller. “We want to play 11, 12 13 games. It’s like any other game, you have to learn from your mistakes.”
battle of the bell
Wins: Yoe 40, RHS 18
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 41-277 3 TD, Ramey 30-101, David 1-5, Hayes 13-78 TD, Gibbs 1-0, Brinkley 13-(- 40).
Passing—Brinkley 46-85-5, 620 yards, 4 TD; Gibbs 0-2-0.
Receiving—Caffey 14-186 3TD, Loth 12-173, Gibbs 10-130 TD, Ramey 3-48, Baldavia 1-24, Dean 1-16, Brooks 1-16, David 1-10.
Tackles— Hayes 36, David 32, Coates 29, Gibbs 15, Caffey 17, Heintze 12, Ehler 11, Offield 10, Pelzel 5, Castilleja 7, Brooks 7, McQuinn 5.
CAMERON—Zach Felts 5 pass from Jason
Kopriva (Edgar Luna kick) :30
CAMERON—Austin Christy 71 pass from
Kopriva (kick block) 10:48
CAMERON—Tyler Sapp 54 fumble return
(Luna kick) 6:37
CAMERON—Felts 5 pass from Kopriva
(Sheffield kick) 4:19
CAMERON—Shuffield 15 pass from Kopriva (Luna kick) 4:55
RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 12-25, ,
Ramey 7-1, Hayes 1-5, Brinkley 3-(-19).
BURNET: Hafley 13-54.
PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 8-25-1,
103 yards; Gibbs 0-1-1. CAMERON—Kopriva 19-30-2, 178 yards , 4 TDs.
RECEIVING— ROCKDALE: Loth 2-40,
Gibbs 2-17, Baldavia 1-24, David 1-10,
Ramey 1-5. CAMERON: Christy 5-89,
TACKLES—Hayes 11, David 8, Coates 8.
This week—Liberty Hill at Rockdale; Caldwell at Franklin; Lexington at Navasota; Crockett at Madisonville; Gatesville at Taylor.
Last week—Cameron 34, Rockdale 0; Austin Travis 40, Taylor 22,; Navasota 49, Houston Sterling 6; Fairfield 22, Madisonville 21; Robinson 69, Caldwel 24.
TIGER SEASON RESULTS (2-1)
|Rockdale 35, Salado 21|
|Rockdale 24, Burnet 17|
|Cameron 34, Rockdale 0|