CRESTVIEW – If ever a football team were in need of a win, Crestview is that team, as the Bulldogs travel to Choctawhatchee on Friday for a 7 p.m. game at Etheredge Stadium.
Crestview (2-4, 0-1) has lost its last four games. Last Friday, the Bulldogs lost 21-17 to Fort Walton Beach in the District 1-6A opener.
Choctaw also is 2-4 and coming off a 21-17 District 2-6A loss to Navarre. However, the Indians are 1-1 in district play having upset Niceville earlier in the season.
Bulldog coach Kevin Pettis didn’t try to downplay the importance of the game.
“Without question it’s the biggest game since I’ve been here,” he said. This is probably the most important game on our schedule. This season is far from over.
“It can go one or two ways. We just have to buckle down and do what we have to.”
If Crestview wins, the Bulldogs are right back in the thick of the district race and would still be in position to have a successful season.
“Every goal we’ve had is still in tact,” Pettis said. “There is nothing that we have not accomplished. We can still win our district.
“We can still make the playoffs. We’ve just got to start closing out games. We’ve played great early and then we’ve faded in the second half.”
The Indians won last year’s game 20-14 with the big play coming from the Choctaw defense when Cedric Bridgewater returned a Dakota Dean fumble 26 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
Pettis said he’s expecting another tough battle this week.
“The thing about Choctaw and (head coach) Greg (Thomas) and them is they do a fantastic job,” Pettis said. “Those guys play hard and get after it. They just do what they do.
“They don’t do anything (fancy). They are just very, very good at what they do.”
Just what is it the Indians do that concerns Pettis?
“They just run the football and wait for you to make a mistake and when you make a mistake they pounce on it,” he said. “They just don’t give up big plays and they are just very disciplined and very sound in what they do.”
Pettis said if the Bulldogs are to win Friday and start a run to the playoff they must learn how to close out games defensively and do some more things offensively to help senior tailback Micah Reed who has carried the offensive load most of the year.
“We’ve got to do what we do and we’ve got to alleviate the pressure on Micah by throwing the ball a little bit,” he said. And we’ve got to stop giving up the big plays.”