NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Crestview Rebels kicked off ITCL play with a dominating 69-9 victory over the United Eagles Friday on homecoming night. The victory for the AP #2 team in Division V increases the Rebels record to 6-0 on the season, 1-0 in the league. United falls to 2-4, 0-1.
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“Any time you can start the league off 1-0 is huge,” Rebels Coach Paul Cusick remarked.
The Rebels didn’t even run a single offensive play before taking an early 7-0 lead. With the Eagles going three and out to start the game, Rebels junior running back Brandon Sherrill returned the Eagles punt 62-yards for a touchdown only 1:45 into the contest.
PHOTOS | Crestview 69, United 9
“Brandon makes plays. He’s just one of those guys whenever the ball gets into his hands whether it’s a return or whatever, he just makes plays,” Cusick said. “I don’t know if it shifted the momentum, but it added to it. It was a big play. The kids respond whenever he makes a play.”
“That was just great. It was a great way to start out the game,” Sherrill said. “I knew I had it, I trusted in the team.”
“You never want to give up score on the first possession. But we have some younger guys that are filling in special teams for us and we have to coach them up,” Eagles Coach Michael Demster explained. “We’ll get into film study tomorrow and we’ll get it fixed.”
The score seemed to rally the Eagles as they responded with a touchdown drive to cut the Rebels lead to 7-6 with 5:03 remaining in the quarter. Quarterback Colton Graham dove in from just 1-yard out, however the extra point attempt failed.
But it was at the end of the quarter that the Rebels began their scoring explosion as they scored on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Spencer DeSalvo to running back Tyler Stratton with 1:43 left in the stanza.
Following another Eagles three plays they were forced to punt from their own end zone. That is when senior linebacker Gino Collins stormed in to block the punt through the back of the end zone for a safety with just 4-seconds remaining, giving the Rebels a 16-6 lead.
“That was a total momentum change,” Collins said. “I can’t even remember most of it. I was just seeing black. When they were punting and they were that close (end zone), I just went for it.”
“Any time your special teams can score it’s huge,” Cusick added. “I thought our special teams stepped up tonight.”
“I don’t know that the special teams miscues would have made a difference in the game. That is a good football team with a lot of depth for a division five team,” Demster said.
The Rebels would go on to take a commanding 42-9 advantage into the halftime locker room as they would score on a 22-yard pass from DeSalvo to Tyler Fitzsimmons with 10:38 left in the second quarter, a 23 and 27-yard runs by Zack Hicks, and a 18-yard pass to Caleb Hill. United’s Colton Antram would boot a 37-yard filed goal for the Eagles other points in the half.
The Rebels would score four more times in the second half despite a running clock as Hicks, Hill, Andrew Yanssens, and Devin Turvey would provide the scoring strikes.
Next week the Rebels will travel to East Palestine to take on the Bulldogs while the Eagles will host the South Range Raiders.