HARROGATE, Tenn. — The Cumberland Gap Panthers were simply no match for Campbell County Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Cougars looked very much like a 5A team going against a 3A team as they scored early and often in breezing to a 54-7 win.
“It’s a tough opponent. They’re a bigger school and they’ve got a lot more kids than we do,” Cumberland Gap coach Corey Russell said. “But we’ve got to worry about ourselves. All we can control is what we do once we’re on the field and we didn’t do a very good job of doing the things that we’re supposed to be doing. We made a lot of mistakes, Campbell County is a good team and they took advantage of them.”
Ethan Jeffers and the Cougar passing game had their way with the Panthers. Jeffers completed 10 of 13 passes for 372 yards and six touchdowns — all in the first half.
Joseph Elkins got the scoring started by taking a short pass from Jeffers and turning it into a 67-yard touchdown as Campbell led 7-0 just over a minute into the game.
Then Cumberland Gap sophomore quarterback Ethan Ellison’s third-down pass was intercepted by Preston Miller and returned 33 yards for another Cougar score and the rout was on.
Jeffers hooked up with Trey Torres for TD passes of 25 and 63 yards and connected with Elkins on scores of 72 and 14 yards. Miller added a late 78-yard touchdown catch as the lead grew to 26-0 after one quarter and 47-0 by halftime.
The Panthers managed just three first downs in the opening half but caught a break when Sam Gibbons recovered a fumble at CG 35 in the third quarter. Cumberland Gap marched 65 yards in eight plays to get on the board.
Ryker Gent, who led the team with 67 yards on 19 carries, ran the ball five times for 27 yards on the drive. A 15-yard penalty on a face mask set the Panthers up at the 19 and Ellison hit Adam Mullins streaking to the end zone on the very next play. Devon Helton’s kick made it 47-7 early in the fourth quarter.
“That third-quarter drive is just an example of the fight we showed. We missed some assignments and we missed some tackles but we never laid down,” Russell said. “On that drive we did the things we’re supposed to be doing and finally strung one together. We’ll just get back to working hard, get ready for next week and come out and show that we can do a better job.”
Campbell County added a late touchdown to set the final at 54-7.
Cumberland Gap will travel to North Green next Friday while Campbell County hosts Lynn Camp.
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CC — Joseph Elkins 67 pass from Ethan Jeffers (Gustavo Rosas kick)
CC — Preston Miller 33 interception return (Kick fail)
CC — Trey Torress 25 pass from Jeffers (Rosas kick)
CC — Elkins 72 pass from Jeffers (Kick fail)
CC — Elkins 14 pass from Jeffers (Rosas kick)
CC — Torres 63 pass from Jeffers (Rosas kick)
CC — Miller 78 pass from Jeffers (Rosas kick)
CG — Adam Mullins 19 pass from Ethan Ellison (Devon Helton kick)
CC — Josh Lay 4 run (Rosas kick)
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|RUSHING — Campbell Co., Levi Miller 2-10, Josh Lay 3-8; Cumberland Gap, Ryker Gent 19-67, Devon Helton 4-11, Ethan Ellison 3-4, Keaton Cornett 3-4, Brandon Bailey 4-2, Joe Mills 1-0.|
|PASSING — Campbell Co., Ethan Jeffers 10-13-0-372, Lay 3-4-0-78; Cumberland Gap, Ellison 3-8-1-33.|
|RECEIVING — Campbell Co., Joseph Elkins 4-170, Trey Torres 4-108, Preston Miller 1-78, Tyler Yates 1-54, Jacob Bunch 1-16, Landon Reece 1-13, Max Farris 1-11; Cumberland Gap, Adam Mullins 1-19, Helton 1-10, Kyle Evans 1-4.|