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Camden edges Woodrow Wilson in Whip Wilson Turkey Bowl

Camden earned the bragging rights with an 8-6 win in the rivalry game, but Woodrow Wilson still has another game on the docket in the South Jersey Group 3 championship.

Camden running back Premire Wilson.
Camden running back Premire Wilson.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Before the game, every player from both teams converged at midfield. The familiar rivals, Camden and Woodrow Wilson, jawed back and forth. And there was a fine line, it seemed, between friendly banter — most of the kids on each team know each other outside of football — and real talk.

The annual Thanksgiving Day matchup was obviously personal for both teams. But even though it was mentioned various points during the week, the real difference between the two teams didn’t sink in for Camden quarterback Premiere Wilson until halftime. 

“I remember sitting in the locker room,” Wilson said, “and thinking to myself, ‘Wow, this really is my last high school game.’“It hit me: We couldn’t lose. We had to bring the heat.”And he did. Premiere Wilson, and some heroics by wide receiver and defensive back Damon Rice, carried Camden to an 8-6 win at Woodrow Wilson in the latest chapter of the Whip Wilson Turkey Bowl, one of the most historic Thanksgiving Day showdowns in South Jersey between two neighboring rivals.

As Woodrow Wilson kept at least a partial eye toward its South Jersey Group 3 championship game next week, Camden, a team that already lost in the postseason, left everything on the field.
This was Camden’s fourth win in the past five meetings with Woodrow Wilson after dropping last year’s Turkey Day matchup.

“We can walk around this city with our heads held high — we wish them good luck next week — but right now, this is our city,” Rice said. “I love this team and this is a great win for me in my last high school game.”In one of the only big offensive plays of the game, Rice snagged an 85-yard touchdown pass from Wilson with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left in the third quarter. Najyere Edwards ran in a direct snap to give Camden (9-2)  an 8-6 lead it never lost. 

On Woodrow Wilson’s final drive with five minutes left, Rice intercepted a ball — albeit off of Wilson’s third-string quarterback — that iced the game for his team. 

“I just ran my keys, and tried to make a big play for my team,” Rice said.Wilson was down to its third string quarterback because head coach Preston Brown decided to sit starting quarterback Nick Kargman — who has battled nagging injuries this season — as a precaution.

Jairo Ramos, a perfectly capable quarterback who was actually the Tigers’ starter last season, started the game and looked strong but was taken out as a precaution after taking a helmet to the ribs in the third quarter.
“We didn’t want to risk anything,” Brown said. “This game means something for bragging rights, but we’re playing for a bigger purpose.”

Woodrow Wilson (8-4) controlled most of the game and dominated time of possession. On the opening drive of the second half, Ramos led the Tigers on a 19-play, 54-yard drive that ate up almost 10 minutes of clock, only to come up empty-handed on a missed field goal attempt and allow Camden to score on the ensuing drive. 

Wilson also controlled the tempo for most of the first half and scored on its first drive of the game, on a 7-yard run by Myheem McCargo.
“We played Wilson football today,” Brown said. “The kids played hard, we pretty much kept them contained all day — besides that one big play — but at the end of the day, I’m proud of the effort by both sets of kids.
“I think we gave the people the show they were looking for.”