LISBON-The Crestview football team found itself in the strange position this week of looking up, not down, at the Inter-Tri County League upper tier. On Friday night, the Rebels made sure their stay in the basement was a brief one.
After being upset by South Range in the conference opener last week, Crestview was able to regroup enough to beat the Blue Devils 48-14 at War Memorial Stadium.
"It feels good to get back on the winning side of things," Crestview tight end Josh McDade said. "We came out with a lot of intensity tonight and were able to execute our gameplan."
McDade helped the Rebels (4-1) take command of the game right away, catching a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Collin Gilbert less than one minute after the opening kickoff.
In a change from his normal role this season, McDade was featured in the Crestview ground attack. The converted offensive tackle ran for 80 yards on nine carries and two rushing scores in addition to three receptions for 58 yards and two touchdown catches. Coming into the game, McDade had one total carry on the season.
"I haven't really carried the ball since fifth grade," McDade said. "It felt great, coach Cusick gave me the opportunity to run the ball more this week and I took advantage of it."
Also getting in on the fun for Crestview was senior running back Trevor Cope. Though he was battling the flu, Cope dashed for 107 yards and one touchdown in the first quarter before being shut down early in the second period. Cope finished with a team-leading 119 yards on seven carries.
"Trevor is really progressing each week," Crestview coach Cusick said. "He's learning how to run the ball. Tonight considering he had the flu he did a great job and helped us get off to a strong start."
Following their quick first touchdown, the Rebels found the end zone again less than one minute later. After Lisbon running back Jason Thompson fumbled on the Blue Devils first play, Cope helped the Rebels breeze into the end zone on five plays, scoring from one yard out to make it 14-0.
A big punt return on the ensuing possession gave the Rebels another short field to work with. A 21-yard run by Cope set up McDade with a two-yard score.
"We did some good things early and were able to break some big plays Cusick said. "It was nice to get off to a strong start and create some early separation."
Down 35-0 late in the second quarter, the Blue Devils mounted their only touchdown drive, moving 80 yards on seven plays and scoring on an 11-yard pass from Quarterback Josh Liberati to Josh Craig. Their other score came on a 78-yard kickoff return by Jason Thompson in the game's waning moments. Running Brandon Barnes carried Lisbon on the ground with 149 yards.
"We did a good job of hanging tough tonight and not quitting," Lisbon coach Jim Tsilimos said. "We were able to move the ball in spots, but just weren't able to consistently block well enough or take care of the football to compete tonight."
The win was not picture perfect for the Rebels however. Crestview continued to be dogged by penalties, getting flagged 16 times for 112 yards including four personal fouls.
"I'm still totally frustrated by the amount of penalties," Cusick said. "I think it's a lack of discipline, and as coaches we need to do a better job of cleaning that up. There is a fine line to balance between playing with emotion and being out of control. We encourage the guys to play with emotion, we just have to do a better job of not getting carried away."
"We have to get that taken care of if we want to make the playoffs," McDade said.
Crestview improves to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the ITCL upper tier, the Rebels host Southern next week.
Lisbon drops to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the upper tier. The Blue Devils travel to Columbiana next week.
Nearly half of Crestview's penalty yardage came win the first quarter when the Rebels were flagged seven times for 65 yards.
Linebacker Jake Ferris had a full night for the Rebels. The senior had a 65-yard touchdown run (his career long), a 45-yard fumble recovery, an interception and a sack.
Lisbon inducted six new members into its athletic hall of fame at halftime. This year's inductees were: Dave McCamon, William "Bud" Bucey, Allison Friend, Kenny Stockman, Josh Davis and Tony Krukowski.