NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – For 24 minutes it looked more like a track meet than a football game, but the East Palestine Bulldogs defense came up with a key play in the third quarter to register a hard-fought 49-41 victory over the Crestview Rebels. This marks the second year in a row that the Dogs have beaten their league rivals.
With East Palestine nursing a precarious 41-35 lead at the end of the third quarter, the Rebels were looking to claim the momentum. But that is when the Rebels committed a costly error with quarterback Caleb Hill’s pitch on an option play slipping off the finger tips of running back Andrew Yanssens. The Bulldogs senior linebacker Trevor Kimmel pounced on the ball, giving them the ball at mid-field.
The Bulldogs took full advantage of the Rebels miscue by capitalizing on a 5-play drive with quarterback Parker Sherry hitting senior receiver JR Davis on a 24-yard scoring strike to go up by two scores at 49-35 with 10:04 remaining in the game.
“We kept saying ball security, ball security,” Bulldogs coach Tony Foster said. “Our guys did a pretty good job of holding onto the ball.”
“It was going to get a stop or get a turnover or something like that,” Rebel coach Paul Cusick remarked. “Unfortunately we were not able to do that and we came up on the short end of the stick.”
“It was just such a great feeling,” Davis exclaimed. “We did what we had to do to get the job done.”
Davis also had a huge catch with just 3 seconds remaining in the first half when he snagged a 9-yard pass from Sherry to tie the game at the halftime intermission. The Bulldogs used exactly one minute to score following a Rebels touchdown by Hill with only 1:03 left in the half.
“It really gave us a boost going into the locker room,” Davis explained. “Then we came out and just knocked heads in the second half.”
Davis would hauled in 7 passes for 118 yards and those two scoring touchdowns. He also came up with a big defensive play when he knocked down a pass play late in the game when the rebels were driving.
“It was good because obviously we knew we were getting the ball to start the second half,” Foster said. “At that point nobody had stopped anybody. We knew it was going to be something we someone was going to figure it out, or who had the ball last.”
The Bulldogs took full advantage of the first possession of the second half when they traveled 63-yards on 9 plays with Sherry connecting with receiver Branden Kemp on a 21-yard scoring pass. That score gave them the 41-35 lead before the Rebels fumble.
“It’s special because we are neighbors, we’re right down (route) 46. The last time we were on this field I think they ran out of ammunition on their cannon, no joke,” Foster said. “So being able to hold them to only one score in the second half that was huge.”
Read more: View all week seven game recaps/highlights
East Palestine (4-2) will visit Springfield in week eight. Crestview (3-3) will visit South Range.