COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Crestview Rebels and Columbiana Clippers both have outstanding offenses, but it was the Rebels defense that came up big as they slowed down the Clippers in the second half of their game Friday night helping to beat their rivals 57-29.
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“Our defense really stepped up,” Rebels Head Coach Cusick said. “The first half was exactly what I thought was going to happen. I thought both offenses are really good and it was going to be up and down the field.”
Following a back and forth first half the Rebels held a narrow 23-22 halftime advantage. The Clippers scoring on two touchdown runs and one passing by quarterback Mitch Davidson while the Rebels Zack Hicks scored three times for the Rebels.
Hicks would eventually dominate the Clippers defense in the second half as he totaled 242 yards on 27 carries with five touchdowns on the night.
“My line, I can’t thank my line enough,” Hicks remarked. “They were excellent up front tonight. And when the line is excellent up front we make big plays, we gain yards and we’re successful.”
“He’s a true team player. he might get the stats, but he’s definitely a team guy first,” Cusick said.
The Rebels took charge of the game to start the second half as they marched 63-yards on 9 plays with quarterback Spencer DeSalvo racing in from 13-yards out. That score gave the Rebels a 30-22 lead.
Hicks would score on the Rebels next possession on run of 8-yards and DeSalvo would add his second score on a 1-yard run with 11:27 remaining in the game. Those two touchdown really pulled the Rebels away at 44-22.
“The first half it was a little iffy. I knew it was going to be a battle of the trenches right out of the gate,” Hicks said. “They got a lot of guys playing both ways. So in the second half their guys were going to start dying down.”
“We did feel that we had to weather the storm in the first half,” Cusick said. “Unfortunately for them it’s a numbers game. They got good players, they just don’t have a lot of them because their numbers are down. So we just had to stay consistent, stay patient and keep just pounding the ball.”
“Their game plan worked, and our didn’t,” Clippers coach Bob Spaite said. “I mean what are you going to say. They executed their game plan exactly how they wanted to do it. We did what we could do and just came up on the short end this time.”