Football: Cambridge scrimmages Denmark, previews 2021 squad

By Zach Shugan

MILTON, Ga. — The Cambridge Bears made history in 2020, winning their first playoff game in program history. Friday night, fans got their first look at the 2021 Bears, as they hosted Class 7A’s Denmark for a scrimmage.

The Bears fell 14-9 to Denmark in a scrimmage to tune up for the regular season, which kicks off Aug. 20 across the state.

No kickoffs. No punt returns. No hitting the quarterbacks. Otherwise, the scrimmage was full contact, full speed and full of opportunities for players to get some snaps before the real deal.

Denmark was first to get on the board, taking a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run. The Danes added to their lead later in the half, scoring on a screen pass to the halfback that went 30 yards for a touchdown, and went to halftime up 14-0 on Cambridge.

Cambridge quarterback Zach Harris waits for the snap with running back Christian Isibor lined up behind him during the Bears’ Aug. 6 scrimmage with Denmark. (Zach Shugan)

Cambridge came out with new life on offense in the second half, thanks largely to a few big plays by junior running back Christian Isibor. The Bears marched down the field, as Isibor broke free for runs of 16 and 14 yards and then capped off the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run up the middle of Denmark’s defense.

Later on with 54 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, sophomore Carson Rech came up with a safety to make it a 14-9 game.

Senior quarterback Zach Harris, who committed Thursday to play baseball at Georgia Southern, completed six passes for 63 yards on the night. Half of those passes went to senior Marcus Veazie (3 receptions for 38 yards), who looks like he will be one of, if not Harris’ top target this year.

Cambridge senior Marcus Veazie (#84) lines up for a play during the Bears’ Aug. 6 scrimmage with Denmark. (Zach Shugan)

The passing game had its up and downs Friday in the Bears’ first taste of competition, but their rushing game with Isibor was smooth. Isibor is a change of pace compared to the Bears’ previous starter at running back Phillip-Michael Collins, who racked up a school record 40 touchdowns.

Listed at 5-foot-8, Isibor is a few inches shorter and a few dozen pounds lighter than Collins, thus a bit more shifitier and agile with the ball in his hands. While Collins broke records largely by running through defenders who attempted to tackle him, Isibor gets the bulk of his yards by weaving around defenders and slipping out of tackles. Breaking Collins’ touchdown record in two years might be difficult, but Isibor has the potential to put up big numbers for the Bears over the next two years.

Cambridge senior Gavin Gardella (#9) stands over a Denmark ball carrier following a hard hit. (Zach Shugan)

The Bears’ defense has some hitters roaming the field. Senior linebacker Bennett Long, senior cornerback Gavin Gardella and junior safety Jack Marlow to name a few. The defense should be able to keep Cambridge in games each week, even if the offense is having an off night. The first-team defense didn’t get much time on the field Friday night, but they brought the energy in the time they saw.

Special teams for Cambridge looks the same as 2020. The Bears return senior kicker McCall Bennett, who converted her one extra-point attempt on the night. Marlow also serves as the punter, and he had a few strong boots on the night.

Cambridge has a bye the first week of the regular season, so the Bears will officially kick off their 2021 slate Aug. 27 at Class 7A’s South Forsyth.

Aug. 20BYE
Aug. 27@ South Forsyth
Sept. 3vs North Oconee
Sept. 10vs Forsyth Central
Sept. 17@ Creekview
Sept. 24BYE
Oct. 1vs Centennial
Oct. 8vs Sequoyah
Oct. 15@ Johns Creek
Oct. 22@ Riverwood
Oct. 29vs Chattahoochee
Nov. 5vs River Ridge

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