Camels hold lead before Appalachian rallies

by | Sep 27, 2020 | Campbell, News & Features

Campbell quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams tries to break a tackle.

BOONE — Campbell’s football team led Appalachian State for nearly all of the first half before falling, 52-21, Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Playing a third-straight Football Bowl Subdivision opponent on the road, the Camels (0-3) led 13-10 before the Mountaineers moved in front on Daetrich Harrington’s touchdown with just 24 seconds left in the opening half.

Harrington rushed for 211 yards on 32 carries and four scores to lead Appalachian State (2-1), which finished with 404 overall yards on the ground. Nate Noel added 131 yards on 14 attempts and one touchdown, while Zac Thomas completed 12 of 18 passes for 131.

The Mountaineers outgained the Football Championship Subdivision member Camels, 535-305. Campbell quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams completed 7 of 19 passes for 101 yards, while running for 44 more and two scores. Jalen Kelsey had three catches for 61 yards, while Austin Hite hauled in a pair of receptions for 93 yards, 87 coming on a late TD.

Campbell took an early lead when Williams capped a 14-play, 83-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Williams completed three passes and the Camels ran 11 times for 50 yards in the drive; extended by C.J. Freeman’s 4-yard run on fourth down at the Appalachian 5.

Appalachian responded with an 82-yard, 10-play march that ended with Harrington’s 17-yard scoring run to tie the score at 7.

The Camels took the ensuing kickoff and drove 75 yards in 10 plays to retake the lead. Williams hooked up with Kelsey on a 42-yard completion to give the Camels a first down at the Appalachian 22. Williams’ 13-yard scramble on third down moved the ball to the Mountaineer 6. Three plays later, Williams’ 10-yard run put the Camels in front 13-7. The snap on the point after was mishandled and Isaac Riffle pulled the kick wide left.

Appalachian State moved to the Campbell 5-yard line on the following possession, but a holding penalty pushed the Mountaineers back to the 15, and Malik Grate broke up Thomas’ pass intended for Thomas Hennigan in the end zone. Chandler Staton’s 32-yard field goal pulled the hosts within 13-10 with 3:22 left in the opening half.

The Mountaineers drove 51 yards on 11 plays late in the half to take their first lead of the game on Harrington’s 2-yard rush. Staton’s point after kick pushed the margin to 17-13 with 24 seconds left before halftime.

Both teams converted all of their red-zone possessions in the first half. Appalachian outgained the Camels 219-160 through two quarters and was 3-of-3 when moving inside the Camel 20. Campbell was 2-of-2 in the Appalachian red zone before the break.

Appalachian drove 70 yards on the first possession of the second half, the final 40 carried by Harrington for his third touchdown of the day, to stretch the lead to 24-13 with 10:56 left in the third quarter.

Thomas’ 6-yard keeper and Noel’s 5-yard scoring rush capped the next two Mountaineer possessions as Appalachian extended its edge to 38-31 with 5:02 remaining in the third.

The Camels drove deep into Appalachian territory, but were stopped on an incompletion at the Mountaineer 4-yard line with 13:08 remaining in the contest. Appalachian then drove the length of the field and Harrington plunged in from five yards for his fourth score of the day to stretch the gap to 45-13 with 9:10 to play. Backup quarterback Jacob Huesman’s 8-yard rush pushed the advantage to 52-13.

Camel backup QB Wiley Hartley hit Hite on an 87-yard catch and run; then scored on a two-point conversion to bring the Camels within 52-21 with 2:59 remaining.

Darion Slade led the Camels with 11 total tackles, including eight solo stops. Jonathan Jones and Ray Miller added nine tackles each for CU.

Campbell concludes its 2020 schedule on Friday (Oct. 2) with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Wake Forest.

(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)

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