CRESTVIEW — Coming off its best performance of the season, a 49-21 win over Leon, the Crestview High School football team now turns its focus to Pine Forest.
The Bulldogs (2-4) travel to Pensacola to take on the Eagles (0-6) in a 7:30 p.m. game Friday.
Crestview's win over Leon was its first since a season-opening win at Milton. And the Bulldogs won the way they have often won in the past by using a power running attack that gained about 300 yards.
Emmanuel Reed and Jaylynne Robinson each rushed for 100 yards and Darian McGee added another 60 or 70 yards on the ground.
Crestview coach Tim Hatten admitted that the time has come for the Bulldogs to be a run first team rather than the spread team he tried to make them the first half of the season.
"You just have to play the hand you are dealt," he said. We tried to do some things early in the year and we just couldn't close the deal throwing the football. I know we've go three good running backs and a line that does a good job run blocking and it works.
"Like the old saying goes, 'If it ain't broke don't fix it.'"
That's not to say that Hatten wasn't pleased with the effort of sophomore quarterback Corey Armstrong, who made his first career start against Leon.
"He (Armstrong) threw a couple of touchdowns off play action (pass)," Hatten said. He played OK. He managed the game well and didn't make any mistakes.
"We went into the game thinking we would attempt throw the ball a little more than we did. I think we only attempted 11, 12 or 13 passes maybe. But the power running game was so good once we went to it we just never got away from it."
Having broken the losing streak, Hatten isn't overlooking an Eagle team looking for its first win.
"They will be an aggressive team," he said. "They will run the ball well. We have to do some scheming to make sure we are prepared for what they are doing.
"They are going to run power football at us, or at least that's what we think they are going to run at us. That's what they've run in the previous four or five ball games. We are expecting the inside, outside veer."
Hatten thinks the Pine Forest defense will crowd the box and try to stop the run. But he's already plotting ways to counter any overloads Pine Forest might employ to stop the run.
"We've got ways to clear the box out," he said. "We certainly aren't scared to throw it. But we are going to run first and see if we can control the line of scrimmage after that we will make some adjustments."
With the District 1-7A opener just a week away Hatten stressed the importance of building off the win over Leon.
"I think you need to win them all," he said. "To get to where we want to be later in the year we have to have momentum. The way to have momentum going into district games is to win the games ahead of them. I think it will be huge to win Friday night and head into our game with Tate with a 3-4 record and two victories in a row.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.