NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – It was typical Crestview-South Range Friday night at Rebel Stadium as the two ITCL rivals played their hearts out in a 20-17 victory by the Rebels. The win boost the Rebels record to 7-1 on the season, 2-1 in the ITCL Red Tier. The Raiders drop to 5-3, 2-1 in the league.
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“That was an old school Crestview-South Range game,” Rebels Coach Paul Cusick remarked. “It goes down to the end, both teams fighting hard, hard hitting, physical, everything you expect in this game. That’s what happened tonight. We were fortunate to do just a little bit more and be able to come out on top. Both teams, I thought, played their hearts out tonight.
“They played hard,” Raiders coach Dan Yeagley said of his team. “As a team we played hard. We gave up that early touchdown. They caught us on our heels and we settled back down. We played a good game after that.”
Player of the Game: Crestview’s Zach Hicks
That early score came on just the second play of the game when Rebels senior tailback Zack Hicks raced 54-yards for a touchdown just 30-seconds into the contest. The extra point attempt would fail and the Rebels held an early 6-0 advantage.
PHOTOS | Crestview 20, South Range 17
But after that first possession, the Raiders defense seemed to settle in, and held the Rebels to quick three and outs on their next two possessions. Meantime, the Raiders offense also star to establish itself as they drove down to the Rebels 8-yard line midway through the first quarter. Facing a fourth and goal from the 8, Raiders kicker Levi Taylor booted a 25-yard field goal to make it 6-3 with 4:36 left in the stanza.
After that score the game bogged down into a defensive struggle. Neither team could generate any offense and the teams went into intermission with the Rebels leading 6-3.
But with the start of the second half the Raiders mirrored what the Rebels did to start the game. Following a big 47-yard kickoff return to start the half, tailback Nathan Daniszewski broke through the center of the Rebels defense to score a 36-yard touchdown and give the Raiders a 10-6 lead with 11:45 left in the third quarter.
The Rebels would answer with a 66-yard, 11-play drive with senior halfback Tyler Stratton blasting through the Raiders defense for a 28-yard run with 7:05 remaining in the quarter. That touchdown gave the Rebels the lead at 13-10.
“We were like alright, they are ready to play so let’s step up. We have to set the level again,” Stratton explained the emotions following the Raiders score and their answer.
“We got the lead, but my goodness we knew they were going to answer,” Yeagley admitted. “They are a great football team. We had to answer them back and we couldn’t do it. So hats off to them. It was a great game.”
“I liked how we responded,” Cusick said. “You have to respond to those things and our kids battled back and really did a good job of finishing.”
The Rebels would add another touchdown with 7:56 remaining in the game when Zack Hicks scored on a 3-yard run. That touchdown gave the Rebels a 20-10 lead.
Stratton became the workhorse in the second half with 72 yards on 14 carries. But he gave credit to the whole team for the second half effort, “”It’s nice that they can rely on me and Zack (Hicks) and they can put the ball in our hands, but it’s not just me. That may be what it looks like out there, but you have to give the credit to the line. Give credit to the defense for getting the stops. I can go all day describing how every part of this team contributed.”
The Raiders would add a 10-yard touchdown pass from Aniello Buzzacco to tight end Mitch Dolak with just 31-seconds left in the game. Buzzacco came into the game after starting quarterback Seth Marrow hurt his shoulder in the second quarter.
Stratton would recover the Raiders onside kick, allowing the Rebels to take a knee to end the game.
Crestview – 276 yards
South Range – 254 yards
Zach Hicks, Crestview – 23 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns
Nathan Daniszewski – 14 yards for 59 yards and one touchdown
Spencer DeSalvo, Crestview – 3 for 13 for 37 yards
Seth Morrow, South Range – 6 for 8 for 114 yards and one interception