Crestview’s Gilbert runs over West Branch

Collin Gilbert has his second straight big performance to lead the Rebels.
Collin Gilbert has his second straight big performance to lead the Rebels.

Beloit – The Crestview Rebels program has become a well-oiled machine, and they demonstrated that Friday night with a resounding 42-7 victory over the West Branch Warriors. With the victory, the Rebels improved to 2-0 on the season.

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Collin Gilbert led the way for the Rebels with 198 yards rushing, 51 yards passing, and accounted for 4 of the Rebels 6 touchdowns on the night. Trevor Cope added 2 touchdown run of his own with 136 yards rushing on 18 carries.
“It was a big game,” Gilbert said. “They were the winners of the NBC last year. That conference is a great football conference. Coach (Paul Cusick) schedule them to play playoff type teams. Coming into this game we felt we didn’t have any respect. But we always say that respect is earned, and we earned it tonight.”
But the point of the game that probably really decided the outcome was just before halftime. With the Rebels leading 21-7 midway through the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 11-play drive down to the Rebels 5-yard line. Faced with a fourth and three situation from the Rebels 5, warriors coach D.J. Dota decided to roll the dice and go for the first down or touchdown.
However the Rebels defense stuffed running back Logan Nagy for just a short gain. The stop turned the ball back over to the Rebels with just 1:48 remaining before intermission.
It appeared that the Rebels would just run out the clock with three straight running plays, but that is when Gilbert put a dagger in the Warriors. Following a timeout the Rebels quarterback followed his blockers around right end, broke into the open and cut back to race 78-yards for a touchdown with just 6-seconds remaining in the half. That score put the Rebels up 28-7.
“It was funny because a lot of people were saying maybe just take a knee here, and I just kind of saw how they were lined up. I thought we could take a chance and pop a big play. I wasn’t thinking a touchdown, I thought maybe we could get it out around mid-field, maybe take a shot to the end zone. We get a little greedy on offense,” Rebels coach Paul Cusick said. “Collin made a great play.”
“I thought coach would say to just take a knee, let’s get into the half,” Gilbert said. “But he said I got one more play. They were giving us the edge, Trevor Cope and Jesse Best made great blocks on the edge and I got into the open field and saw the cut-back.”
The Rebels wasted no time in taking control of the contest as they took the opening possession of game and scored on a 61-yard, 6-play drive with Gilbert hitting Josh McDade on a 21-yard pass just 1:38 into the game.
They added to their advantage at the 2:06 mark when running back Trevor Cope raced around left end for a 39-yard touchdown. The score and extra point gave the Rebels and early 14-0 lead.
But the Warriors seemed to come alive after the second Rebels score. They would go on a long 72-yard drive on 13-plays with quarterback Corey Snyder hitting Kip DeSheilds on a 12-yard pass with 8:54 remaining in the second quarter.
However the Rebels answered right back with another score to re-establish their 14-point lead. This time it was a 3-yard run by Cope with 6:52 left in the second. That then set up the dramatic end to the quarter.
The Rebels salted it away when Gilbert took the Rebels right down the field in their first possession of the second half, and scored on a 5-yard run with 6:50 left in the quarter. They would also add a 19-yard pass from Gilbert to Jake Ward with just 1:13 remaining in the third.
Next week the Rebels will host the Liberty Leopards, while West Branch will travel to Niles McKinley.
Lowell Spencer
ITCLFootball.net

 

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