Article: Crestview Rebels Capture ITCL Crown
New Waterford - The Crestview Rebels continue to set the bar higher each year as they completed their first 10-0 season, and won their fifth consecutive ITCL Upper Tier crown by pounding South Range 57-14 Friday night at home. The victory may have also helped the Rebels obtain a home playoff game in the first round of the OHSAA playoffs.
"It's a great accomplishment, when we started the season we never would have expected it," Rebels coach Paul Cusick admitted. "All the inexperience, but these guys kept improving week after week, they just kept playing hard and doing things right.
The Rebels wasted little time in asserting themselves when they marched right down the field on their first possession and scored. Quarterback Collin Gilbert would break tackles on his way to a 25-yard run to cap a 6-play drive.
After missing a field goal attempt, the Rebels jumped ahead 13-0 with 10:32 remaining in the second quarter when running back Nick Blower raced in from 37-yards out. The drive covered 83-yards on only 4-plays.
The Raiders started to find some answers midway through the quarter whne sophmore quarterback Ryan Miller connected with senior receiver Rob Seman on a 29-yard touchdown pass. The score at the 6:03 mark of the quarter cut the Rebels advantage to 13-7.
But the Rebels would make a stement by answering right back. Following a long kick-off return, Blower would find the end zone again, this time on a 26-yard run. The score would give the Rebels a 20-7 halftime lead.
The Rebels continued to apply the pressure as they would score again on their first possession of the second half. This time they would march 88-plays on 6-plays, culminating in a Gilbert 1-yard plunge. The touchdown with 8:40 remaining in the third quarter gave the Rebels a 28-7 lead.
The Raiders then showed some big play capabilities when Miller hit Seman over the middle for a long 80-yard pass and run. The touchdown with 7:04 remaining in the quarter cut the Rebels advantage down to 28-14.
The Raiders then tried to captilalize on the momentum by executing an on-side kick. After a long discussion by the officials regarding who touched the ball first, the Raiders were given the ball at the 50-yard line.
However, they could not convert a first down and had to punt the ball back to Crestview. The Rebels would quickly reverse any momentum the Raiders had.
On the first play of the possession, Gilbert hit receiver Kris Simpson in the right flat and he would scamper 80-yards for the touchdown and a Rebels 35-14 lead.
"That was a situation where we could have really hung our heads," Cusick said about the on-side kick. "Our guys responded on defense, and then we got that big play after that. That was a huge mometum change right there."
The Rebels would put the game away with touchdowns by Jake Ferris from 1-yard out, and then a 9-yard run by Gilbert late in the third quarter. By that time the Rebels had built an impressive 48-14 advantage.
They would add a 1-yard touchdown run by Blower early in the fourth quarter, and the Raiders had a punt sail over the punters head and thru the end zone midway through the fourth, to add a safety to the final margin of victory.
"They are a very good ball team, they are very well coached," Raiders head Coach Dan Yeagley remarked. "they are going to represent our league very well in the playoffs."