CRESTVIEW — Four straight plays, four straight Crestview penalties. First a holding, then two offsides and an illegal receiver down field.
Crestview quarterback Rusty Moorer pleaded with a referee, stomped his right foot in frustration and took a first-and-35 snap standing on his own goal line.
"First down and a mile," the Crestview radio broadcast announced. "There’s been so many penalties on this drive I’m running out of fingers to count them on."
Moorer and the Bulldogs’ offense, through the first 30 minutes of Crestview’s Friday night game against Milton (2-6), didn’t look like the squad that entered averaging 52.8 points per game. But the undefeated Bulldogs (7-0) made plays when it needed them most, beating the Panthers 34-21.
"It was one of those games, sometimes with Homecoming week, we lost a little bit of focus and dropped some balls," Crestview head coach Tim Hatten said. "We got four or five penalties in a row there. ... But any time you can win, those are situations that are easy to learn from.
"We did what we had to do to manufacture a win."
The Bulldogs — led by three touchdown passes from Moorer, including two to Andrew Adkins — improved to 7-0 for the first time since 2006.
Crestview's quality performance in the final 15 minutes bailed out its lackluster performance from the first 33.
Leading 14-7 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bulldogs safety D’Marcus Purcell intercepted Milton quarterback Aubrey Williams inside the red zone. A 50-yard Moorer to Keon Voisin connection on the ensuing possession set up a Moorer to Yohundra Frederick touchdown.
On Crestview's next drive, Moorer found Adkins for a 13-yard touchdown to give the home team an eventual 27-7 lead. Bulldog running back Tyree Johnson then iced the game with a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:48 remaining in regulation, giving the Bulldogs a 33-14 lead.
As successful as Crestview was in the second half, its first-half performance lagged.
Moorer threw an interception on his first pass attempt and later was called for an illegal forward pass. Voisin fumbled a punt return. After two incompletions set up a fourth down, the Bulldogs were forced to call a timeout because they couldn't get the punt off in time.
A Mondreus Flavors' 12-yard touchdown run was one of the Bulldogs' lone bright spots in the half.
On the team’s punt return to start the second half, Crestview was called for an illegal block in the back and was forced to start from its own 12-yard line. The possession began with four straight penalties.
"You see teams all the time don't particularly play as well as they should," Hatten said. "This was one of those games. But we're 7-0. It's been a long time since Crestview has been 7-0. We're going to take that 7-0 and roll with it."