TALLAHASSEE — It was a long night for both teams at Gene Cox Stadium on Friday. In a game that lasted a little over three and a half hours the Rickards Raiders won a hard fought game late against the visiting Crestview Bulldogs.
All the stars aligned for the QB-WR tandem of Charlie Kelly and Stephan Denmark on the night. They connected for three huge momentum swinging touchdowns. For Crestview the combination of field goals and sporadic touchdowns throughout kept the game interesting late.
“We left points on the field tonight it is just that simple. They had enough big plays to keep us at bay. Late we had a chance but we did not capitalize,” said Crestview Bulldogs head coach Tim Hatten
The game started slow … really slow with 10 penalties occurring in the 1st quarter alone. Rickards managed to accumulate 55 yards of penalty yardage in the quarter alone.
After fumbling on the first drive the Raiders offense got it together halfway through the first quarter with a 86 yard bubble screen touchdown from Kelly to Denmark. That score was followed the very next drive with another Kelly toss for touchdown.
Crestview hung tough weathering the Raider storm until they could put points up of their own. Three plays after faking a punt that gained 21 yards the Bulldogs RB, Emanuel Reed, punched in a 5 yard touchdown. This pulled them to within a single score.
But with only 1:55 left in the first half the Raiders offense responded. Another pass, this time a quick slant, from Kelly to Denmark helped the Raiders score again. Extra points for the Raiders came at a premium for the entire night. The score going into half after a Bulldog field goal was 19-10 Raiders up.
Coming out of the half it was more of the same for the Raiders as they continued to rack up penalty yards. After an exchange of possessions to start the 3rd quarter the Raiders were able to make a move.
Jaylen Ashby, WR, took a Charlie Kelly read-option pitch the distance from 86 yards out for a score. Crestview was also able to get on the board with a late last second field goal to head into the last quarter.
As the fourth quarter started Crestview’s Khalil Foster, starting QB, found some chemistry with WR Ronnie Baylark. They were able to hook up five times in a seven play drive that ultimately resulted in a touchdown. The score brought the Bulldogs to within one score.
But once again coming to the rescue was the connection of Kelly to Denmark. They managed to hook up one last time for a 70 yard touchdown to put the Raiders up 32-20 with 4:51 to play in the 4th quarter.
Crestview showed its fight by adding another score and pulling the score to 32-27 to put late pressure on the Raiders. The Raiders did stumble late with two late fumbles. Both were recovered by them.
But Crestview did have one last shot with 1:30 left in the game to score a go ahead touchdown but they went down on four consecutive pass incompletions.
“Nobody said it would be easy but we pulled through. Game probably should not have been as close but with all those penalties it kept them in it late. Clean up a few things here and there and we will be just fine,” said Raiders head coach Quintin Lewis.
The final game tally for penalties against the Raiders was 20 for 200 yards while Crestview had just six for 50 yards.
Next up for Rickards to keep their perfect season alive is a game at Fort Walton Beach who is also coming off a win of their own. Crestview will look to bounce back against Navarre after suffering back to back losses in the last two weeks. Games will be played 7 pm.