CRESTVIEW — Coming off a 17-14 loss to Navarre last Friday night, Crestview High School’s football team has lost three games by nine points.
First-year Bulldog coach Tim Hatten knows the formula for success isn't complicated.
"We've had three tough losses in a row," he said. "You have to find a way to win the close ones and that's the bottom line. To win the close ones you have to make less mistakes than the other team and to this point we haven't done that.
"Fourteen points is not enough to win at any level. The bottom line is if we can't average 28 or 35 points with what we do offensively, we should. But for whatever reason we have breakdowns in a lot of different areas and we've got to keep watching film and keep correcting our mistakes and stay the course."
Crestview has been one play away from a win in each of the three losses.
"You don't ever want to be proud of the fact that you are in every game, but at the same time you don't want to get blown and that hasn't happened to us," he said. "They don't give you prizes in football for being close."
The Bulldogs (1-3) host Okaloosa County rival Fort Walton Beach (2-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Vikings are coming off a 27-7 loss to Rickards.
Hatten knows how important it is for the Crestview players to get a win after three close calls.
"I think we are moving in the right direction," he said. "We just have to make sure that we show some progress in the wins and loss category and the kids need that more than anything else."
The Vikings present their own set of challenges with star receiver Marquese Davenport leading the offense.
Hatten said the Viking quarterbacks get rid of the ball quickly so the defense will have to be ready for plays that develop in a hurry.
Hatten expects the Viking defense to line up in four-man front and try to pressure the quarterback.
"We need to be able to control that pressure, not only running the ball, but throwing the ball," he said. We are going to attack the areas we think they are weak at or where they give us a bubble and a little bit of an advantage and kind of go from there."
Hatten said it's important to get the ball to Emmanuel Reed in an open space. He also wants to get more touches for Jaylynne Robinson.
As has been the case the last two weeks both Khalil Foster and Corey Armstrong will see time at quarterback.
"We will continue to play two quarterbacks and see which one can do this (best run the offense)," Hatten said. "When Khalil is not at quarterback he's a great receiver and he's proven that when he's gone in and made a play at receiver."
Hatten believes the Bulldogs will eventually come around on offense and maybe it will happen Friday against the Vikings.
"More than anything we just have to do what we do," he said. "We have to play defense and win the kicking game."
Who: Fort Walton Beach at Crestview
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.