Kemper Academy drops opener, 6-2
By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
August 24, 2002
DEKALB An interception by Hebron Christian linebacker Lamar Simmons killed off Kemper Academy's last shot at a season-opening win here at Ram Field Friday night.
Simmons' pick of Kyle Davis' pass and 70-yard return sealed the 6-2 win for the visiting Eagles. It was the Rams' fourth turnover of the game.
Kemper had reached the Eagles' 31-yard-line following a 15-yard run by Davis. But with time winding down, Kemper head coach Gary Lee opted for a first-down pass.
Hebron had a lot of success running the ball in the first half but the Rams clamped down in the second. They held the Eagles to just 20 yards net rushing and two first downs over the last two quarters.
That one play, in the second quarter, accounted for the game's only touchdown. Out of a four-wide set, Hebron quarterback Caleb Easter made a timely option pitch to halfback Jonathan Bryant. Bryant got outside Kemper's containment and ran untouched for a 56-yard score. The try for two failed keeping the score at 6-0 with 4:59 left in the first half.
The second of two lost fumbles put the Eagles at midfield with 29 seconds left in the half. A 33-yard run by Easter got the ball to the Ram 16. But on second down, the Rams' Cal Miller intercepted Easter's pass at the nine to kill the threat.
Kemper made a first down in its initial series of the second half before stalling at midfield. But a booming 52-yard punt pinned the Eagles at their own one-yard line.
On fourth down, Bryant, the Hebron punter, was dropped for a safety giving Kemper two points. That made the score 6-2 with 6:23 to play in the third quarter.
On the free kick, the Rams made a poor dive at the ball instead of fielding it cleanly. The result was a third lost fumble on the night.
Kemper would get the ball back after four plays following another good defensive series which saw the Eagles lose eight yards. The Rams got the ball back at the 43 and picked up a first down inside Hebron territory at the 45.
Two plays later, they faced a third-and-one at the Hebron 36. The Rams were called for motion. Following a two-yard loss on third down, Lee was going to go for it on fourth down but another motion penalty forced a punt.
They would not mount another serious challenge until their final possession.
which began with 2:16 remaining.
Hebron outgained Kemper 202 yards to 147 for the game. The Eagles had 204 rushing, led by Clint Lancaster's 75 yards on 11 carries. Bryant had 69 on 10 and Easter had 62 off 17.
The Rams were led by Tim Kirkland who had 91 yards off 12 carries. Josh Jarvis had 11 carries for 31 yards.