Saturday, October 22, 2016
By ERIC FORTUNE
The final score was close. The total yards were close. Heck, everything was close crunching the final numbers in Springfield’s 21-19 victory over the Crestview Rebels in Inter-Tri County, Red Tier play.
Crestview got within two points of Springfield with 17 seconds left to play when quarterback Caleb Hill hit Tyler Fitzsimmons with a touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful as Hills' pass was incomplete.
In the general scheme of things, it really came down to a tale of two halves in that the Rebels ran nearly double the amount of plays in the first half to build a 13-0 advantage only to see almost the exact reversal come into play getting outscored 21-6 in the second half.
Working against the elements on a mud soaked field, the Rebels (3-6, 1-3) found some rhythm on their second drive of the game only to see the drive end at the Springfield 29.
The Tigers (7-2, 3-0) on the very next play gave it right back to the Rebels as Crestview turned it into six points 10 plays later on Andrew Yanssens’ 1-yard run at the 10:21 mark of the second quarter.
Another fumble by the Tigers on the ensuing kickoff, once again put the Rebels in Springfield territory, only to see the drive stall on Caleb Hill’s incomplete pass inside the red zone.
Crestview would come back after forcing a Springfield punt, as Hill found Steven Barr on a 14 yard pass to make it 13-0 at the half.
“We got ourselves in a situation where we just didn’t give ourselves a shot offensively with some turnovers,” Springfield coach Sean Guerriero said. “I thought our defense stepped up only giving up 13 points. I think they were inside our 20 at least three times. We seemed to make things hard on ourselves.”
After forcing a punt on the Tigers opening possession, things started to go south for the Rebels when they fumbled on the punt return that would have set them up at midfield.
Seven plays later, Brannon Brungard hit Jake Ford on a 4-yard pass to cut the Rebel lead to 13-7 midway through the third quarter.
It started the first of three straight possessions that the Tigers put the ball in the end zone.
On their next possession, Springfield took the lead, 14-13, on Brungard’s 25-yard run at the 8:23 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Tigers gave themselves some much needed breathing room when Frank Centofanti took it 80 yards on third-and-long with under six minutes left to play to make it 21-13.
“Coach Brungard drew it up perfectly,” Centofanti said. “It was a nice little read for Brannon. He made the right play and then Jake Ford had a great block on the outside to set me up.”
The Rebels committed a fumble and an interception on their next two possessions and overall committed three turnovers in the second half that derailed them before Hill’s final touchdown pass.
“I thought we played a great first half,” Crestview coach Paul Cusick said. “We had some mistakes in the second half that cost us. We just didn’t have the ball.”