PINE GROVE - After being disciplined and sitting out the first quarter of Friday night's game against Valley, Cameron junior Dalton Wood had plenty of time to think about the impact he might make on the game as it played out.
Whatever was running through Wood's mind that initial 12 minutes of play, he had very little trouble getting into the flow of the game when he did enter.
Wood hauled in a pair of touchdowns passes from junior quarterback Logan Routt on offense and personally ended a pair of Valley drives inside the Dragons' 5-yard line as Cameron bounced back with a 26-9 victory against the Lumberjacks at Tom West Field.
Valley’s Peyton Palmer (3) fights for extra yards against Cameron on Friday night.
"Wut when he did get into the game he was very focused," Coach Jim Rogers admitted."
After each team managed to drive inside the 20 in the first quarter without scoring, Cameron took command in the second with an eight-play, 74-yard march and a Valley mistake that the Dragons turned into points.
Routt had a pair of huge connections on the first drive, hitting Shane Williams with a 24-yard strike into Lumberjacks territory before later finding Wood deep down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-10 call. Following a procedure call, Hunter Yoders danced in for the 2-pointer and an 8-0 margin with 8:53 to go in the half.
Four plays later disaster struck for Valley as Triston Kocher fielded a low snap on a punt, raced to the side and kicked the ball into the chest of a Cameron lineman, giving the visitors the ball at Jacks 20. It took the Dragons three plays to find paydirt, just 2:24 after their initial score.
Again it was Routt, this time hooking up with senior Zach Hall, who took the ball away from safety Chase West for a 15-yard score. The run was denied this time and it was a 14-0 score.
West's crew nearly answered, driving to the enemy 3-yard line before Wood dropped sophomore Trey Streets for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-goal.
"That was my fault. I called the wrong play," West admitted. "And I think that might have made a big difference in the game if we get the ball in there."
Kocher helped Valley get on the board at 8:53 of the third after his 43-yard punt pinned the visitors at their 1. On the first play the Dragons fumbled the ball but recovered in the end zone for a safety, and a 14-2 count.
It took three trips deep into Cameron territory, but the Lumberjacks finally converted late in the third with Palmer and Streets doing the damage. Palmer carried six times for 40 yards on the nine-play, 47-yard drive, with Streets getting the other 3, including a 1-yard scoring burst. Palmer's PAT cut it to 14-9.
"They had the ball almost the entire third quarter and they put up nine points, but Dalton (Wood) got the big stop on defense and we actually hung in there pretty well,'' Rogers said. ''They had a lot of momentum in the third quarter with Palmer running the ball, but again, our kids really responded."
The Lumberjacks' Kale Lloyd intercepted Routt pass on the first play and the hosts were in business again at the Cameron 47. A short time later Valley was inside the Dragons' 5 for the third time of the night, this time at the 1. But for the second time it was Wood coming up with the big play on defense, intercepting a pass in the end zone to end the threat.
Following a Williams interception, Yoders put the finishing touches on things with a 1-yard burst late.
"The biggest thing we need to work on is penalties and getting Logan (Routt) to speak up," Rogers added. "His voice just doesn't project well across the line and we had too many procedure penalties because of it. It was just a nice win overall and the kids played hard."
West, meanwhile, was not looking to make excuses, but did lose a pair of linemen in the first half to injury.
"We had some key players get nicked up early, and it forced us to use a freshman on defense, but there are no excuses," the veteran coach said. "We still played hard in the second half and got some things going, but it hurt not getting the ball into the end zone and it was my fault both times when we should have scored. Just poor play choices.
"Peyton Palmer did a very nice job running the ball for us, but we worked him to death and it effected him a little on defense as well as offense."
Palmer finished with 134 stripes on 24 carries while Streets added 68 yards. Yoders finished with a team-high 98 for Cameron.