Saturday, November 11, 2017

Campbell Falls to Drake in Pioneer League Finale

BUIES CREEK – Drake scored on its first five drives of the second half and defeated Campbell 45-10 Saturday at Barker-Lane Stadium.

Grant Kraemer threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns for the Bulldogs (6-4, 5-2), who broke open 14-3 halftime edge in the season finale for Campbell (6-5, 5-3), which matched school modern era records for overall and conference wins.

Kraemer completed 17-of-20 passes –hitting eight different receivers in the process, and the Bulldogs took over possession of second place in the Pioneer Football League. Drake ran up 547 yards of total offense yards, scoring on three plays of 54 yards or more.

A crowd of 4,261 witnessed Campbell’s final PFL game at Barker-Lane Stadium. Campbell will join the Big South Conference in football beginning with the 2018 season.

For the second-straight year, Campbell set season average (5,546) and total (33,276) attendance records at 5,500-seat Barker-Lane Stadium. Campbell is seventh among all FCS schools in attendance percentage (105.5).

Campbell entered the game as the PFL leader in total offense, averaging nearly 450 yards per game, but Drake held the Camels to 327 yards on the day and just one touchdown.

Darius Barnes hit career highs for rushing attempts (24) and yards (96) for the Camels. Daniel Smith completed 10-of-22 for 147 yards in the air and added 81 on the ground. Aaron Blockmon led CU with four receptions for 66 yards.

Campbell RB Darius Barnes (Photo Credit: Campbell Sports Information)
Smith, who entered the game leading the nation in rushing yards per attempt (9.98) and total yards on the ground, was held to 4.1 per carry. A red-shirt freshman from Leesburg, Va., Smith finished the season with school Division I era (since 2008) records for total offense (3164) and rushing yards (1272).

Junior linebacker Jack Ryan had 15 total tackles Saturday and set a new Campbell school record with 103 stops on the season. Senior safety Carlos Merritt set a new school mark with 50 solo tackles.

Kraemer logged his fourth 300-yard passing performance of the season for Drake. Drew Lauer led the Bulldogs on the ground with 79 yards on 10 carries. Steven Doran had 170 receiving yards on just four catches, two of which went for scores.

Sean Lynch and Kieran Severa led Drake with 11 tackles, while Nathan Clayberg added 10 stops.

Two big plays spurred Drake to a 14-3 halftime lead. Kraemer connected with Cole Neary on a 37-yard completion to give the Bulldogs a first down on the Campbell nine. Brock Reichardt ran in from the two and Danny Donley’s PAT put Drake ahead 7-0 with 4:12 left in the first quarter.

Kraemer’s 68-yard scoring pass to Doran increased the margin to 14-0 with 4:20 to go in the half.

Campbell drove 54 yards to set up Colin Gary’s 30-yard field goal with 1:20 to play in the second quarter.

Lauer burst up the middle for a 54-yard TD run and gave Drake a 21-3 lead with 9:49 left in the third quarter.

Kraemer again hooked up with Doran for a 57-yard catch and run to extend the margin to 28-3 with 7:32 to play in the third. Kraemer’s third TD toss of the game – a 12-yard hook-up with Zach DeLeon – pushed the lead to 35-3 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.

Daniel Smith ran in from three-yards on fourth down to cap an 8-play, 67-yard drive and cut the margin to 31-10 with 0:40 left in the third quarter. Smith’s completion to Blockmon accounted for 41 yards in the march.

Notable North Carolinians

Darius Barnes (So., Hunt) rushed for 96 yards on 24 attempts
Aaron Blockman (R-Jr, Southern Lee) had four receptions for 66 yards
Jack Ryan (R-Jr, Weddington) had 15 tackles on the day, setting the single-season school record for tackles with 103.

Next Week

Drake concludes its season at home next Saturday (Nov. 18) against Jacksonville in a 1:00 p.m. (CST) kick-off.

Campbell Sports Information contributed to this story.