Article: Crestview Rebels Advance in Shootout
You wouldn't expect a defensive play to be the game winner in a 51-50 shootout, but that was what decided the fate of the Crestview Rebels victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in a Region 17 1st round playoff game. The victory sets up a re-match between the Rebels and 2011 State Champions Kirtland.
With only 1:42 remaining in the game, the Knights Josiah Moore scored on a 60-yard run, his third score of the evening, pulling the Knights to within one-point at 51-50. After the Knights had converted on two previous two-point attempts, they attempted to go for the win with one more try.
However, Knights quarterback Anthony Moeglin rolled to his right and fired the ball toward the end zone, but Rebels lineback Matt Hardenbrook stepped up to pick off the aerial and preserve the Rebels one-point advantage.
"I knew when they lined up that they were going to go for the two-points," Hardenbrook explained. "They wanted the win. I read the ball, I saw the quarterback, and I picked the ball. I could even belive that I had picked it."
"There was no guarantee that we would have stopped them," Knights Head Coach Tim Budd remarked. "We never stopped them. Heck yeah I'm going to go for two. We laid it all on tthe line, but it wasn't enough."
"They score every time they touch the ball," Budd added. "Heck we had a defensive breakout, we held them to five points below their average. They are faster than us."
The Rebels jumed out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter on two touchdown runs by quarterback Collin Gilbert (33 and 31 yards), and a 29-yard filed goal by Caleb McGath. But it was on the kickoff following the field goal that sparked the Knights.
On the kick, Moore would race through the Rebels special teams for an 89-yard touchdown, and cut the rebels lead to 17-7. More importantly it seemed to waken the Knights.
The two teams would trade scores in the second quarter, and the rebels would come up 1-yard short of scoring before halftime when Gilbert was tackled at the one as time expired. The Rebels held a 24-14 lead at intermission.
The Rebels scored again to start the second half on Nick Blower 13-yard run, and it seemed the Rebels had the game in control at 31-14. But once again the Knights showed their resilency as Moore broke loose for at 75-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion to make it 31-22.
The Rebels once again would score as Blower would blast into the end zone from 3-yards out to make it 38-22. And once again the Knights would answer. This time it was 53-yard scamper by Bryan Wilkins to cut it to 38-29 at the end of the third quarter.
The Rebels would a fatal mistake on their next possession when Gilbert would cough up the ball at the Rebels 30-yard line. From there the Knights Wilkins would score on a 11-yard run. The two-point conversion knotted the game up at 38-38.
The Rebels would score on a 1-yard run by Blower at the 8:49 mark, before the Knights answered on a 13-yard pass from Moeglin to receiver Gina Tortora with 7:05 remaining. Again the game was tied, now at 45-45.
Then the Rebels went on a sustained drive to re-capture the lead once again. This time it was Hardenbrook who would score on a 40-yard run around right end.
"On the one play I got caught, and I just remembered that I should have run as hard as I could," Hardenbrook said. "I'm so tired right now. I just ran as hard as I could."
On the following possession the Knights would score on the 60-yard run by Moore to pull to within one at 51-50. Setting up the big defensive effort on the PAT.
"I knew it was going to be a four quarter game," Rebels Head Coach Paul Cusick said. "They are a great team, and we made enough plays at the end to get it (win). We made some mistakes along the way, but our guys showed a lot of guts and a lot of heart tonight."