After falling to Navarre 52-14 this past week, the Crestview High School football team (5-4) looks to regroup against reigning 1A state champion Madison County (7-2).
CRESTVIEW — Typically loquacious, Tim Hatten was brief in his assessment of Crestview’s final regular season game against Madison County following the Bulldogs’ loss to Navarre on Friday.
“It’s gonna be a tough game,” he said. “It’s gonna be a tough game.”
With that he turned and jogged off to address his team. The Bulldogs set to face the Cowboys at 6 p.m. CDT Friday in Madison, there was plenty of work to be done after falling to the Raiders 52-14.
Buoyed by four Bulldog turnovers, six Marlon Courtney touchdown pass and Tyler England’s ridiculous stat line (five catches, 129 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions), Navarre’s 52 points were the most a Crestview team has allowed since Hatten took over in 2013.
“It was just a country beat down, you know,” Hatten said afterward. “They just played a lot better than we did, and we’re not that bad. If they’d played like that all year, they’d be undefeated.”
And Crestview would likely be in a similar position had it started the year as hot as it’s been in recent weeks.
After stumbling to a 1-3 start, the Bulldogs reeled off four straight wins against Tate, Chiles, Leon and Lincoln before their hiccup against Navarre, outscoring those four teams 182-59 behind the play of senior Taylor Scarbrough, junior Marquis McCoy and a tough defensive front.
On the year, Scarbrough has rushed for 1,279 yards and 16 touchdowns, McCoy has 954 total yards and 14 touchdowns, and the defense has forced 16 turnovers and 21 sacks.
Matching the level of play those numbers suggest will be crucial against Madison County (7-2), the Cowboys coming off a 1A state championship in 2018 against Baker.
In 2019, the Cowboys look just as good, their only losses coming against 6A Columbia (7-2) and 4A Lakewood (9-0) in overtime.
Gone of course is Travis Jay, the senior quarterback and safety who torched the Gators for 160 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the state championship game, but in his place Visonta Allen has proved more than capable as a replacement. The senior has completed 58% of his throws for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns against five interceptions, while rushing for 899 yards and 14 more touchdowns.
Meanwhile, junior running back Robert Hiers is the team’s leading rusher with 1,065 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Practicing against a defense that allows just 17.6 points per game and has pitched two shutouts has turned Allen and Hiers into quite the dynamic duo.
So, yeah, Crestview fans, it’s gonna a tough game.