CRESTVIEW — Crestview has not lost a football game in more than a calendar year.

When the Bulldogs take the field Friday, 371 days will have gone by the wayside with only successes to show for it. No football team in the Daily News coverage area has a streak that long. Baker is close, but the Gators weren’t awarded a victory when Pahokee vacated its state championship a season ago.

Crestview’s streak has rarely been put to the test during the length of its run outside of a pair of playoff scares. That changes when the Bulldogs play St. Augustine, the last team to beat them, at 6:30 p.m.Friday night in the Region 1-6A finals at St. Augustine High School.

“They’ve got a good football team,” Crestview coach Tim Hatten said. “It’s just gonna be another one of those games like the last couple. I think everybody’s good.”


A year ago the Yellow Jackets ended Hatten’s first playoff run at Crestview with a 41-14 victory in the region semifinal. This season, they have ended Tate and Navarre’s playoff runs by a combined 101-35 margin en route to Friday night's region final contest.

Last year’s loss is far from Hatten’s mind. The offense that largely tore the Bulldogs apart last season is gone and graduated. Outside of the coaching staff and some similar schemes, this St. Augustine is a different squad, Hatten said.

“True, there’s different players, but it’s kinda like us,” Hatten said. “How different are we than we were last year? They can say the same thing. We’re a little different than we were last year, and they’re a little different than they were the year before. Whether that’s good or bad has yet to be determined.”

The changes don’t make this season’s Yellow Jacket team any less dangerous.

Quarterback Austin Reed is averaging 224 passing yards per game and lit up Navarre a week ago for 253 and three touchdowns. Behind Reed, the only thing that could stop running back Dexter Brown was the end zone. Brown totaled 365 rushing yards and four touchdowns on only 19 carries.

Hatten said both are part of the reason Crestview can’t sell out to stop one phase of an offense that is so explosively balanced.

“I think you just gotta play football at this stage of the game,” Hatten said. “Just be fundamentally sound and cover everything that they do and try to work off situational defenses with down and distance, tendencies they’ve shown over the last four or five games and kinda work just like you would any other football game.”

Fundamentally sound has been a bit of struggle for Crestview so far this postseason. During an 8-0 regular-season run, Crestview didn't play a single one-possession game. In the postseason, they've beat Gulf Breeze by three points and Escambia by 10 only after D’Marcus Purcell returned an interception for a touchdown in the closing seconds. The Bulldogs faced deficits of 13, 11 and 10 points in those games and rallied from all of them, showing resiliency for a team used to playing with the lead in the process.

The Bulldogs struggled with penalties in their game against the Dolphins, but managed to get those issues mostly cleaned up only to suffer a couple of freaky, un-Crestview-like turnovers against the Gators this past week that turned into scoop-and-score plays. Hatten said postgame if the Bulldogs played that way against St. Augustine, they would be staring down the barrel of a running-clock game. Tuesday, Hatten said the team has made a point to work on a little ball security in addition to its prep for the Yellow Jackets.

In both instances, Hatten made the point to single out senior quarterback Rod Bouchard for his ability to bounce back from a bad play, crediting in part Bouchard’s performance for rallying the team when it’s been down.

Bouchard has thrown an interception on Crestview’s opening possession in both postseason games thus far. After those two drives, Bouchard has passed for 416 yards, run for another 95 and scored seven touchdowns.

“I think we’re confident we can be successful, certainly on the offensive side of the ball,” Hatten said. “Based on what we’ve seen, I think we can make a first down or two. I think they’re gonna get their points. I think they’re good enough on offense and we’re certainly not gonna pitch a shutout, nor do I think they’re gonna pitch a shutout, so I think it’s gonna be a good football game.”

“We’re confident we can compete with anybody whether it’s them or the next team or the last team or any team we’ve faced this year. We’re not over confident. We know we can be beat. We know we can mistakes, but we know if we play well, it wouldn’t surprise us to beat anybody.”