CRESTVIEW — The growing pains continued for the Crestview High School football team last Friday night in a 32-27 loss at Tallahassee Rickards.
First-year Bulldog head coach Tim Hatten said he would grade the game about a "D." The Bulldog offense showed some improvement in spots, but still lacked the consistency Hatten wants.
And after giving up just 27 points in the first two regular-season games the Bulldog defense gave up four long touchdowns to Rickards.
"We have played better every game, we just played a better team last week," Hatten said. "We still left a bunch (of points) out there. We are getting better.
"We are taking baby steps though. Defensively, we did the thing you don't want to do against a good team, give up the big play and we gave up four of them for touchdowns."
The Bulldogs got touchdowns from Khalil Foster, Ronnie Baylark and Emmanuel Reed against Rickards.
Things don't get any easier for Crestview (1-2) this week as the Bulldogs travel to Navarre (1-2) for 7:30 p.m. game.
The Raiders, who beat Crestview 13-8 last season, are coming off a 28-19 win over Pace.
In Navarre, the Bulldogs will see an offense very similar to their own spread attack.
"They are going to run a spread like us," Hatten said. "They use the quick passing game and the speed sweep. We've seen it before.
"I don't think they have as many athletes as Rickards, but they are well coached."
The difference in the teams is on the defensive side of the ball where the Raiders run a 3-3 (three linemen and three linebackers).
"We have a plan," Hatten said. "When we've played against 3-3 teams in the past over the years (at his other coaching stops), we've had pretty decent success.
"They take a lot of chances and will bring seven (defenders close to the line of scrimmage to stop the run or blitz the quarterback). Our biggest thing is we have to count box numbers. If you run into a six-man box you are not going to be successful."
Hatten said Navarre is aggressive and has a good football team.
Sophomore quarterback Corey Armstrong saw his most playing time this season last week. Foster remains the starter, but Hatten said the plan is to get Armstrong more snaps at quarterback.
When Armstrong is at quarterback Foster will likely remain on the field at a wide receiver position.
Hatten knows things take time as the Bulldogs continue to learn his offense. And while he would like for the team to pick up the nuances of the offense more quickly, Hatten isn't ready to hit the panic button.
"I don't really have any major concerns," he said. "We just have to keep playing. District play doesn't start for a few weeks down the road.
"We just have to make sure we are getting better every week and we are not taking a step back."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.