A pair of local players continue to play a significant role for the Campbell University football team as it continues with its season in the Pioneer Football League.
The team, which sports an overall record of 5-5 going into its season finale this Saturday at Jacksonville University, is coming off a 31-27 loss at San Diego where the Fighting Camels had a first-and-goal deep in Torero territory with 70 seconds remaining to play, but lost on an interception.
It was another tough loss for Campbell, which is 3-4 in PFL play, but with four losses by a total of just 12 points.
One of the Camels with a local connection, sophomore placekicker Mitchell Brown, had a case that he was the team’s MVP. Brown made both of his field goal opportunities and also connected on all three of his extra-point kicks, leading Campbell with nine points. His successful 31-yard field goal with 8:48 left in the third quarter gave the Camels a 24-23 lead, and with 1:04 left, he made a 40-yard attempt that pulled the team back within four.
Brown has been the team’s primary placekicker since returning from a preseason injury in the fifth week of the season. Campbell employs two kickers, but the other one, junior Jarrett Ozimek, is most often deployed as the team’s punter. Of the team’s nine field-goal tries this season, Brown has received the call on eight. He’s converted six of them, along with 15 of 17 extra-point kicks, for a total of 33 points.
He made his importance to the Camels known in his very first game back. Late in the first quarter of the team’s 24-14 victory over Drake on Oct. 3, Brown got the call after a Campbell drive bogged down at the Bulldogs’ 29-yard line. He promptly set a Barker-Lane Stadium record by hitting a 46-yard field goal, his own career long and the second-longest field goal in the history of Camel football.
Brown had a banner season as a freshman for Campbell in 2014, tying the school’s single-season record with nine field goals made, and winning Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors for making two field goals in a win over Jacksonville.
The son of Jud and Ava Brown of Mount Airy was an all-state football performer as a junior for Mount Airy High School in 2012, then followed that up by being tabbed all-state in soccer as a senior, even earning a spot in the prestigious East-West Game.
Brown is only one of three local players suiting up for the Camels. Joining him are a former teammate on the Granite Bears, freshman defensive tackle Isaiah King, and fifth-year senior wide receiver Jonathan Brown, who played for North Surry between 2008 and 2010. Jonathan Brown, who started one game for Campbell in 2014 and played in several others, hasn’t seen much time this season, but King has.
King, who originally planned to play for East Carolina but changed his mind and switched to the Camels, has played in all 10 games this season. He’s seen significant playing time, often in passing downs, on a defense that ranks among the best in Division I FCS football. He is a strong candidate to start on the defensive line for Campbell in 2016, as the Camels have several senior starters on their nationally eighth-ranked defense.
Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.