Camden's Harris leads upset of No. 3 Cedar Creek

Camden's Najyere Edwards, right celebrates with Kurtis Huff after he scored against and Cedar Creek in the first half. H. Rumph Jr

Drew Harris made plays with his arm and with his legs.

But the Camden High School senior quarterback's best move might have been with his mind.

Recognizing a coverage, Harris called an audible and fired a 49-yard touchdown pass to junior slot receiver Damon Rice on his team's second play from scrimmage, setting the stage for a statement victory for the Panthers on Friday night.

Harris passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as Camden stunned third-ranked Cedar Creek, 31-12, in a West Jersey Football League interdivison game on a misty evening in Farnham Park.

"This is a huge win for our confidence," Harris said. "We knew we were a good team. We knew we were one of the best teams in South Jersey.

"We proved it."

The victory could work wonders for Camden (2-1), the No. 21 team in the Inquirer Top 25.

Led by Harris, junior running back Najyere Edwards and a defense that dominated the secondf half, Camden outplayed a Cedar Creek team that won the South Jersey Group 2 title in 2015 and was off to a 3-0 start in 2016.

"That's a good football team," Cedar Creek coach Tim Watson said of Camden. "They handled us in the second half. . . . The sense of urgency was missing, Hopefully, this is a wake-up call."

Cedar Creek was not at full strength as senior running back/linebacker Isaiah Watson sat out the second half with an ankle injury, and senior all-purpose Bo Melton, South Jersey's offensive player of the year in 2015, was limited by a knee ailment.

"They had some guys that were banged up," Camden coach Dwayne Savage said of Cedar Creek.

Camden broke away from a 13-12 halftime lead behind a defense that shut out Cedar Creek in the second half and held the Pirates to just four first downs.

Senior end Rayshon Wilson and senior cornerback Deron Wharton, among others, led the spirited Camden defensive effort.

"It was Coach's halftime speech," Edwards said of the key to the Panthers' play in the final 24 minutes. "He told us not to let up."

The shifty, 5-foot-9, 165-pound Edwards carried the football 19 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

"My offensive line was amazing," Edwards said. "I love those guys like they are my own brothers."

The potency of Camden's ground game was a surprise to Tim Watson, whose team had limited Delsea's running attack in a victory over the Crusaders on Sept. 10.

"They ran it better than I expected," Watson said of Camden.

Savage said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Harris was motivated because Cedar Creek features three players with Division I scholarship offers in Melton, Isaiah Watson, and senior lineman Owen Bowles.

"They have three D-1 guys, and he has no offers," Savage said of Harris, a top student. "He wanted to show what he could do."

Harris scrambled almost to the sideline and fired a five-yard touchdown pass to senior Isaiah Anfield in the third quarter and broke loose for a 58-yard touchdown run to give Camden a 25-12 lead early in the fourth quarter.

"I don't have lot of designed runs," Harris said. "I just try to be patient, and when I see the hole I hit it."

Harris' best moment came early. He said Camden had worked all week on a slant pass to the slot receiver when Cedar Creek was in a two-deep coverage.

He recognized the coverage on the Panthers' second play, changed the call at the line of scrimmage and fired a perfect strike to Rice, who burst through the Cedar Creek secondary.

"That's where we are with him," Savage said of Harris. "He can do those kinds of things. . . . He's a player. He can manage a game, he can pass and he can run."

Cedar Creek 12 0 0 0 - 12

Camden 7 6 6 12 - 31

CC: Isaiah Watson 6 run (kick fail)

C: Damon Rice 49 pass from Drew Harris (Deron Wharton kick)

CC: Jesse Milza 1 run (run fail)

C: Najyere Edwards 17 run (pass fail)

C: Isaiah Anfield 5 pass from Harris (kick fail)

C: Harris 58 run (kick fail)

C: Edwards 4 run (kick fail)

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