PANAMA CITY — If Friday night was a referendum on postseason motivation versus pride, motivation won out handily at Tommy Oliver Stadium.
Crestview, still striving to become a factor in District 2-6A, downed Mosley 39-7 to remain relevant in the playoff discussion at 2-2, 4-5 overall. Mosley, already eliminated, slid to 0-4, 3-5.
More to the point, the matchup showcased a team with a number of players who soon will be suiting up on Saturdays. Micah Reed, a verbal commitment to UCF, rushed for 108 yards and the first two touchdowns of the game to spark the Bulldogs.
Junior defensive end Denzel Ware, who has announced his intention to attend Florida State, sacked Mosley quarterback Zach Rhodes for a 16-yard loss early in the game. That negated a fumble recovery by Zach Warnick on a muffed punt by Crestview that set up the Dolphins on the Bulldogs’ 21.
The series ended in a punt, and Mosley eventually trailed 17-0 at halftime. Reed scored on runs of 9 and 40 yards, the latter coming only 18 seconds before halftime and appearing to take the steam out of the Dolphins. Crestview’s defense already had punished a depleted Mosley offense. Of 15 first-half running plays by the Dolphins, only three resulted in positive yardage.
Mosley momentarily clawed back into contention midway through the third quarter to trail 17-7. Louie Abbott’s interception and 30-yard return set up the Dolphins on the Crestview 31, and they took 10 plays to reach the end zone.
Rhodes engineered a pair of fourth-down conversions, finding wide receiver Nat Dixon for 6 yards and sneaking for 2 yards behind Caleb Houghton.
Rhodes found Dixon on a fade route in the corner of the end zone from 8 yards with 5:37 left in the quarter and Christian Marsh’s extra point narrowed the gap to 10 points.
Until the ensuing kickoff. Jaylynn Robinson bobbled Marsh’s pooch kick at his 20 and dribbled the ball momentarily around his feet. But when he recovered he easily broke contain down the visiting sideline and picked up a pair of vicious blocks to go 80 yards.
It sparked a trio of long scoring plays as the Bulldogs turned a triumph into a rout. Robinson streaked 69 yards on a sweep to the right on Crestview’s opening possession of the fourth quarter.
Emmanuel Reed duplicated the yardage and the result with 5:19 remaining.
Crestview enjoyed an advantage of beef and muscle on both sides of the football and it showed on the stat sheet. The Bulldogs piled up 361 yards to 171 for the Dolphins.
Mosley’s backfield, already missing leading rusher Ryan Rogers and forced to juggle the roster, was further limited in the second half.
In the space of two minutes, Rhodes was knocked from the game when Ware broke through for a clean hit during an incompletion, halfback Andrew Hardrick had to leave the game and Warnick, moved from defense to supplement the halfback position was sidelined.
All but Warnick returned by the fourth quarter. However, Rhodes and Dixon supplied most of the offensive output by teaming on eight completions for 103 yards. Rhodes was 11-24 overall with one interception, and that on his final pass of the game.
Mosley completes its district schedule at first-place Navarre next week. Crestview could stake a claim to a shootout berth or a playoff spot outright by winning its district finale against visiting Niceville.