The Crestview High School football team beat Lincoln (Tallahassee) 39-17 on Monday at Jack Foster Stadium.
CRESTVIEW — The rain began to fall midway through the second quarter, lightly at first then more heavily, the downpour, which had been promised Friday, arriving three days later.
By halftime on Monday night, the Jack Foster Stadium sideline was a soupy mess. By the third quarter, few would have been judged if the preferred method of moving the ball was via canoe instead of cleats, each cut, block and tackle kicking up a small wave.
And that was just the way Crestview preferred it, the Bulldogs topping Lincoln 39-17 to claim their fourth straight win and outright control of second place in District 1-7A with only Navarre left on their schedule.
“We just felt like if we could get to halftime and not be way behind, we thought that when then rain got here it would hurt them a lot more than it did us,” Crestview coach Tim Hatten said. “I think it did.”
Crestview is in a weather delay with about 20 seconds left in the third quarter
... and I am soaked https://t.co/FxZYAucpOQ
By design, Crestview (5-3 overall, 4-1 District 1-7A) played fast out of the gate Monday. On the third play from scrimmage, junior playmaker Marquis McCoy slipped out to the right, hauled in a pass from quarterback Chase Moulton and outran the entire Trojan defense on his way to a 56-yard touchdown reception.
About eight minutes later, he did it again, this time catching an in-breaking route, spinning out of a tackle and racing 66 yards for a 14-10 lead.
Despite all its Division-I talent, Lincoln (5-4, 4-2) couldn’t match Crestview’s explosiveness, managing most of its points only when given a short field.
The Trojans, who have made the playoffs 24 years running, notched a 24-yard field goal midway through the first quarter after McCoy’s first touchdown when junior linebacker Jeremiah Brown intercepted Moulton at Crestview’s 27.
Later, they briefly managed to take a 10-7 lead on quarterback Christopher Beard’s 75-yard pass to junior receiver Dominic Larry with 2:20 left, and again 17-14 when corner Devin Williams took a wobbly Moulten pass into the end zone from about 40 yards out.
Every other time the Trojans had the ball, Crestview forced quick possession, the Bulldogs themselves never punting.
“It’s pretty good to a hold a team to seven points that’s been that good over the years,” Hatten said. “I thought defensively we played well.”
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 30
With about 25 seconds left in the third quarter and a monsoon in full effect, lightning finally struck, forcing the teams to the locker rooms and fans to their cars for 30 minutes.
By that point, the writing was on the wall for Lincoln. Behind two touchdowns from senior running back Taylor Scarbrough and another from senior Chris Johns, the Dawgs held a 32-17 lead before they took shelter.
Out of the break, senior linebacker Harmon Estes scooped up a Lincoln fumble and nearly returned it for a touchdown, if not for a block-in-the-back penalty. With the ball instead at Lincoln’s 33, Crestview was able to salt the game away.
OFFENSIVE MVP: Taylor Scarbrough, Crestview
The lynchpin of Crestview’s resurgent offense, Scarbrough struggled with fumbles Monday, coughing up the ball three times, but he still managed a positive impact.
He scored his first of three touchdowns with 4:45 left before halftime to make it 20-17. Then he scored again before the weather delay to give the Dawgs a nine-point cushion.
Finally, with 4:06 left, he took a first-down carry straight up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown and the final 39-17 advantage.
DEFENSIVE MVP: Crestview
As is so often the case, it’s difficult to pick just one player.
All 5-foot-10, 180-pounds of McCoy stopped 6-4, 225 Lincoln tight end Sage Ennis, who is bound for Clemson, on an early third-and-goal situation to force a field goal.
Defensive lineman Jaheim James, Terrell Holliday and Tyron Washington mucked things up in the middle to limit Lincoln’s rushing attack.
Even sophomore corner Alex Murry came up with a juggling interception.
It was a complete team effort.
After opening the year 1-3 with losses to Escambia, Godby and Niceville, the Bulldogs have reeled off four straight wins to force their way back into the playoff conversation.
Hatten’s faith never waivered.
“We got a good team,” he said. “We’re fighting through a lot of little bitty things because we’re young in a lot of areas and we’ve got some new faces. We’ve continually gotten better since we got beat by Niceville.
“Every night we’ve gotten better.”
The Bulldogs will travel to play Navarre at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Raiders also had a Monday night game, holding on for a 31-28 victory against Leon.