KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights High football coach Chuck Dickinson knew exactly what he had to do to offset the strong run game of visiting Crescent City High in their Friday night …
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights High football coach Chuck Dickinson knew exactly what he had to do to offset the strong run game of visiting Crescent City High in their Friday night clash.
“Keep the ball,” said Dickinson. “Run our ground game and don’t let them get on the field. They are explosive.”
For nearly three and a half quarters, the Dickinson proclamation was proving to be prophetic as the Indians employed the double battering ram power of ball carriers Ty Friedlin (108 Yds) and Nick Channell (75 Yds) behind the bulldozing of front liners Joey Baxter, Dan Dodd and Josh Hughes.
In the fourth quarter, score tied 13-13, Keystone Heights had their first slip of the night with Crescent City wide out Tyler Unruh snagging a comeback pass and twisting away from two Keystone Heights defenders to sprint to the Indian 27 yard line with 4:59 left in the contest.
From there, Crescent City speedester Kevin Williams took two handoffs to put the Raiders up 20-13.
Crescent City improves to 5-2, 3-1 in 4-1A. Keystone Heights falls to 2-3 and 1-3 in region 2-4A. Keystone Heights travels to Wildwood on Fri., Oct. 12 with two remaining region games; The Villages (Oct. 19) and Interlachen (Oct. 26) both on the road.
“We had our opportunities in the first half; a muffed punt picked up by Colton Tibbetts at their nine that got a blocked field goal and a safety (by Josh Hughes) that got a 60 yard return (by Colton Crane) that put us at their 20 that also got a blocked field goal,” said Dickinson. “We did what we said we were going to do and ran the ball right at them. Just didn’t put it in the end zone.”
From the opening kickoff, Keystone Heights looked like they were going to the dragon slayers for the night with the muffed punt, the safety off an errant center snap on a Crescent City punt and some hard running between the tackles by the Friedling/Channell duo.
After the Keystone Heights safety, Crescent City scored the first touchdown of the game off their aforementioned explosive run game highlighted by quarterback Nykee Scott’s escapes out of the passing pocket with Williams putting the Raiders up 6-2 as the second quarter was to begin.
Keystone Heights stayed low to the ground with handoffs before Ian Schofield hit a 27 yard field goal to score the game at 6-5.
Scott broke for a 60 yard scoring sprint, but the effort was negated by a penalty as the Raiders were not afraid to flex their speed.
“That guy is just so fast out of the pocket and we had him bottled most of the first half,” said Dickinson.
In the third period, Tibbetts would snatch a Scott pass at the goal line to thwart a scoring drive and put Keystone Heights back on offense.
With quarterback Gage Stevens methodically moving the Indians’ offense right to left with Friedlin and Channell, Dickinson threw in sophomore Sterling Roberts, with a bit more downfield speed, in the mix to give the Raiders’ defense a different look.
Roberts pushed his way downfield in the three-prong attack that saw Wishbone formation, T-formation and even Power I formations to get the Indians to the Crescent City seven yard line.
“We were going to use whatever it took to get the ball downfield,” said Dickinson. “I needed to give my two guys a break with Sterling.”
At the seven, Channell channeled his inner missile to the four yard line where he dove and the ball popped out into the end zone. Standing nearby after finishing off his block, 6’-4”, 275 pound tackle Dan Dodd went horizontal on a diving snag of the loose ball to get a rare tackle touchdown.
A two-point conversion from Roberts gave the Indians a 13-6 lead as the fourth quarter was about to begin.
Crescent City stalled at their 40 with Layton Murphy keeping the Crescent City backfield occupied for two tackles for loss.
On their ensuing possession, Roberts pounded the edges of the Raider defense with three straight handoffs to the Crescent City 37 where Stevens rolled right away from a dive handoff fake left and gained 13 yards before a holding flag created a third and long situation that ended the drive with a punt. The flag was located on the opposite side of Stevens’ run.
After the punt put Crescent City on their own 22, Unruh caught his first big pass of the night that traveled Crescent City from their own 44 to the Keystone Heights six on a third and six down that led to a score for a 13-13 tie at 6:59 to go that set up the final score and win for the Raiders.
Region 2-4A standings
Santa Fe 3-3, 1-0
P.K. Yonge 5-1, 1-0
Dunnellon 3-4, 2-0
Villages Charter 6-0, 3-0
Bradford 4-3, 1-1
SouthSumter 3-4, 1-1
Trenton 1-5, 1-1
Mount Dora 2-3, 1-1
Interlachen 2-4, 1-2
Keystone Heights 2-3, 1-3
Umatilla 0-7, 0-5