United had its chances, but Crestview's defense held firm.
By JOHN BUTERA
HANOVERTON -- On a night when its defense yielded 379 yards and its offense went the entire second half without threatening to score, Crestview came up big when it had to Friday, edging United 17-6 in the Tri-County League.
"Yes, it was ugly," said Crestview standout David Myers. "There were some points where I didn't know if we could do it, but the defense came up big."
Crestview's biggest stand came in the third quarter when United (2-4, 2-1) had first-and-goal from the 5 and three chances to get the final yard.
"If you can't get one inch," said Eagles coach Jeff Sharkey, "you don't deserve to win."
Crestview (5-1, 3-0) began the night looking impressive as Myers led the offense to United's 6-yard line on the game's first drive.
A fumble stopped the surge, but United returned the favor seconds later as Crestview took over at the Eagle 37. Myers needed just two plays to cover the distance. While his team led 7-0, Myers already had six carries for 72 yards.
United answered with its lone score as Bryan Phillips hit Jordan Taylor from 13 yards just moments after the duo connected for 29. The placement, however, was blocked and Crestview still led 7-6.
The Rebels' next score was a perfect pass from Jordan Reynolds to teammate Adam Thompson, who was so wide open on the fourth-and-11 play that Reynolds could have hit him underhanded. The strike covered 34 yards.
When Reynolds kicked a field goal from 28 yards on the final play of the first half, the game's scoring had ended.
Not that United didn't have its chances.
Besides the mentioned first-and-goal, thanks to a Phillips-to-Jordan Wrask pass of 21 yards, United's previous two drives had it with a first down on the Rebel 20 and another on the Crestview 17.
Not done, the Eagles once more had a golden chance, but a first down on the Rebel 29 was another wasted opportunity.
United's defense starting slowing Myers, who ran for 92 yards on 21 carries, but despite a huge game from Phillips, the Eagles could come no closer.
"We played a great game and let an opportunity slide by against a championship-calibre football team," Starkey said. "We had our best week of practice and played our best game of the year."
Phillips ended 11 of 26 for 220 yards, while Reynolds had 114 yards passing and 86 rushing. United held the edge in total offense 379-348.
"I don't know if the guys had big heads or what," Myers said. "But the coaches continued to tell us to guard against that. We just won an ugly game."
Lowell Bacon, the Rebels chief defensive coach, added, "We played South Range, LaBrae, Columbiana, Lisbon and now United in a row. People don't realize how hard it is for the kids to be up five weeks in a row."