By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
Camanche’s home and district opener Friday night was a bit of a mixed bag for the Indians’ football team.
“We won the game; we just didn’t win on the scoreboard,” Camanche coach Steve Dougherty said. “We know we beat them. We know how good we are. We didn’t have two of our best players. When they’re healthy, we’re even that much better.
“We beat them on the line of scrimmage. We beat them on offense. We beat them on defense. ... We made some mental mistakes that we couldn’t afford to. But other than maybe one series, we dominated that whole second half.”
The bad part for Camanche (1-2, 0-1 district) is the score is what really matters, not who is the better team or which team played better. And Center Point-Urbana came away with a 21-20 victory.
Center Point-Urbana (3-0, 1-0), ranked sixth in Class 2A, got all it wanted and then some from the Indians.
“That was a lot of fun,” Dougherty said. “You don’t get to see a lot of games that are that competitive, that evenly matched. That’s what I told the boys.”
Camanche’s defense and special teams stole the show.
The Indians forced the Pointers to turn the ball over on downs on their first possession, but Camanche then went three-and-out. Derek Harksen punted for Camanche and pinned CPU at its own 14.
On CPU’s first play, Quan Matthews sacked the Pointers’ quarterback, Ryan Wilkin, and forced a fumble. Tanner Schreiner recovered the ball, and the Indians were only 5 yards away.
Camanche’s offense cashed in on the next play, a 5-yard touchdown run by Devin Norman. Center Point-Urbana was forced to punt on its next possession, but so was Camanche. The Pointers then took the lead on an 8-yard touchdown run by Nick Dighton.
The Indians came right back, scoring on a 76-yard touchdown run by Aaron Shum, but they missed the extra point, which proved costly in the end.
Camanche held that six-point lead at halftime. To start the third quarter, the teams traded punts. Then Camanche punted again, but CPU fumbled it and Matthews was there to recover.
The Indians then faced fourth-and-1 at CPU’s 26 and Shum scored an apparent touchdown that was called back by a penalty. On the next play, a pitch was fumbled and Brett Boddicker for CPU recovered it and returned it 45 yards to Camanche’s 20. Quarterback Cody Mensinger made a touchdown-saving tackle on the play.
CPU scored five plays later to take a 14-13 lead. It seemed the Pointers now had the momentum, but the Indians had other ideas.
Camanche senior Mike Osaro took the kickoff at his own 4-yard-line and raced up field. Osaro cut left and raced up the sideline for a 96-yard touchdown.
“Mike Osaro is a tremendous football player,” Dougherty said. “I’m not at all surprised that he was able to run that ball back. The athletic ability to stay in bounds when he had a guy shoving him is a testament to his skill. He really picked the team up, put us on his shoulders and carried us.”
On its next possession, CPU gained 15 yards and reached Camanche territory again. But on fourth-and-6, Schreiner drilled Wilkin as he let go of a pass for another turnover on downs.
Camanche gained 7 yards on its next possession and once again had to punt. Again the defense stepped up. Wilkin was sacked by Zach Smith, with a gang of friends on first down, and Schreiner, also with an Indian gang on second down. Wilkin threw an incomplete pass on third down.
Camanche sacked Wilkin five times in the game.
“We put a lot of blitzes on him,” Dougherty said. “Every man has a responsibility. You have to play your gap. If you don’t fill your gap, then there’s a huge hole. We’re definitely playing strong assignment defense. There’s not going to be much time for a quarterback to throw.”
The Indians could only manage 4 yards on that possession. Camanche ran for a first down, but then took a sack and had two illegal procedure penalties. The Indians punted back to CPU with 4:40 left in the game.
This time the Pointers moved the ball. They threw a 6-yard pass on first down, and on second down, Dighton ran for a 60-yard touchdown. Other than that play, Camanche held CPU to 84 yards rushing on 38 carries.
“It didn’t help them that their stud tailback, (Brandon) Roseberry, got injured,” Dougherty said. “That other kid (Dighton) had a heck of a cutback move. Once we went back to base defense of playing your assignment, we took away the cutback and he was ineffective.”
Roseberry, who gained 272 yards on 42 attempts in his first two games, had 23 yards on seven carries when he was injured.
Camanche tried to respond and gained a first down. The Indians then faced fourth-and-9 at CPU’s 49. Mensinger dropped back to pass and was flushed from the pocket, he scrambled to his left and reached the 40-yard line. The officials ruled he didn’t get the first down, without a measurement, and CPU took over. The Pointers kneeled down twice to end the game.
“We’ll watch the film and see how happy we are Monday,” Dougherty said. “There’s definitely room for improvement.”
CENTER POINT-URBANA 21,
CPU 0 7 7 7 — 21
Camanche 7 6 7 0 — 20
Cam — Devin Norman 5 run (Zach Smith kick), 4:58
CPU — Nick Dighton 8 run (Brayton Brandt kick), 8:48
Cam — Aaron Shum 76 run (kick failed), 2:22
CPU — Conner Jones 1 run (Brandt kick), 2:00
Cam — Mike Osaro 96 kickoff return (Smith kick), 1:44
CPU — Dighton 60 run (Brandt kick), 3:56
Rushing — Center Point-Urbana (39-144), Nick Dighton 17-133, Conner Jones 7-26, Brandon Roseberry 7-23, Dustin Smith 1-4, Ryan Wilkin 5-minus-38; Camanche (36-148), Aaron Shum 14-111, Devin Norman 16-46, Cody Mensinger 6-minus-9.
Passing — Center Point-Urbana (8-16-0, 129 yards), Wilkin 8-15-0, 129 yards; Camanche (1-8-0, 9 yards), Mensinger 1-8-0, 9 yards.
Receiving — Center Point-Urbana, Nick Thibault 4-38, Josh Jirak 3-43, Kyle Sarchett 1-33, Dylan Sarchett 1-5; Camanche, Mike Osaro 1-9.