After undefeated regular season, Cameron reloads with smaller but experienced roster

CAMERON, W.Va. — At the end of the 2021 regular season, the Cameron Dragons emerged as the lone unbeaten team in Class A. CHS went 9-0 and only two of their wins came by single digits.

“We had nine seniors last year. They didn’t really win in junior high and they didn’t win up through. But we knew that they had been developing and getting older and getting better. And they ended up maturing,” said Cameron head coach Tim Brown.

Despite earning the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, Cameron was upset by No. 16 seed Gilmer County in the opening round, 19-14.

“We had a very good team last year,” said Cameron senior wide receiver/defensive back Cole Burkett. “We had one bad day against Gilmer and that kind of threw everybody off. We’re gotta come back better this year.”

“As soon as the season started, I believed we could [have a good season]. I don’t think we made it as far as we could have. But hopefully we will get it this year,” said Cameron junior running back/linebacker Jason Ross.

A solid senior class has graduated and the 2022 edition of the Dragons will feature a roster short on quantity but deep in quality.

“Do we have great numbers? No. We’ve got 21 kids,” Brown said. “We should probably have about 30 kids out. But the 21 kids that are here, they are preparing and they are doing a great job. If we can stay healthy and stay focused, with the experience that they have, I think we are going to be okay.”

“People are going to have to play on both sides of the ball,” said Cameron senior wide receiver/defensive back Payton Neely. “We are going to have to be in a lot better shape than we were last year.”

“There’s no breaks for us,” said Cameron senior offensive lineman/linebacker Adam Angel. “It was easier last year because other people could fill in if you get taken out.”

The Dragons welcome back junior quarterback Colson Wichterman. In his second season as the starting signal caller last fall, Wichterman accounted for 19 total touchdowns.

“You start to pick up on little tricks and stuff that people don’t tell you coming up,” Wichterman said. “And you just learn the playbook better.”

Senior Payton Neely earned second team all-state honors as a defensive back last season. He will now take an added role in the backfield. Neely scored 7 touchdowns last year.

“Payton being an exceptional athlete, if he stays on track and he stays focused, he can do anything we ask him to do,” Brown said.

Leading receiver Cole Burkett is back after catching 18 passes and 5 touchdowns a year ago. Brown praised a new addition to roster. Senior Mason Debolt recently joined after playing at John Marshall. Gunnar Bryan is being counted upon to anchor a line that will feature several new starters.

“Wes Starcher has stepped it up a bunch. Our center last year, Adam Angel, he has stepped it up a bunch. We’re moving some people around the line trying to find out what works best,” said Bryan.

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