Well PTC fans, our football season is drawing to a close. And as it does so we look ahead eagerly to the upcoming playoffs. The race is heating up, with Crestwood right on the tail of Mogadore. With last nights win over Southeast (2-7(2-2)), Crestwood (7-2(3-1)) greatly helps out their chances of making the playoffs, although, as Coach Pete Thompson clearly stated, the playoffs are not his teams focus “We don’t talk…about the playoffs at all. We’re not a perennial playoff team. All 715 teams in Ohio say they want to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, but if you talk about it too much you could lose sight of what it takes on a week to week bases to be successful.”
Everything that Coach Thompson said is true. In order to be a solid team you have to be able to remain focused week to week. When you only have ten games a year to make an impact it certainly ups the intensity you need to have each week. You see this in professional sports. In pro football each game means more than in pro basketball, and where the certainly mean more than any single pro baseball game.
Crestwood kicked off to start the game, but Southeast couldn’t do anything with the ball. They missed on three passes and wound up having to punt the ball. The Red Devils Aaron Czerny returned the punt 46 yards for the touchdown. Czerny broke three tackles, including two nasty spin moves, en route to scoring.
Once the Pirates got the ball back it was more of the same. Their starting quarterback struggled to place the ball in areas where his receivers could make clean catches. His arm was weak, and his passes highly inaccurate. He did throw several decent, catchable, passes, but his receivers dropped every one. To be honest, the best receiver through three-quarters of the game was the starting quarterback Billy Rose (2/12 34-yds, 1- cth 10 yds) who logged in a catch early to get his team a first down. Rose connected with receiver Dominic Nicolino on a 30-yard pass. The Pirates drive would then stall, and they would be forced to give it back to the Red Devils.
The Red Devils struck early on the ground. Senior running back Aaron Czerny rushed for an explosive 45-yard touchdown with 3:43 to go in the first, giving his team the 14-0 lead. Czerny helped lead his team on the ground, rushing for 170 yards on 16 carries and scoring three total touchdowns (1 punt return, 1 rush, and 1 receiving).
The Red Devils made a quick stop on defense and got the ball back inside their own ten yard line with just over a minute left in the first. Yet again, though, the Red Devils struck gold with a big play. Junior quarterback Jordan Fabry connected with fellow Junior Logan Thut for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Crestwood fans were on their feet in excitement as their team quickly jumped out to a 20 point lead. The Pirates blocked the point after attempt, but as was said, the Red Devils lead 20-0 at the end of the first.
The second didn’t see much action. Southeast continued to struggle moving the ball, and Crestwood continued to pound the rock. Crestwood pushed their way all the way down to the three yard line of Southeast when Fabry connected with Czerny for a 3-yard touchdown. Czerny got great position on the outside of the defender, and Fabry threw a pass with the most touch he’d thrown all evening in the right corner of the end zone. Neither team would score after that, and both teams headed to the locker room with very different emotions. Crestwood lead Southeast 28-0 at the half.
The Red Devils got the ball first in the second half. The went on a slow, methodical drive that ate up a lot of time off the clock, eventually scoring on a 7-yard pass from Fabry to Thut with 5:47 to go. Southeast was trying to throw everything they had, and push every button they could, to try and find a way to move the ball. They wound up benching Rose in favor of Sophomore QB Dylan Rogers.
The Red Devils scored one last time to end the third, on an 18-yard run by Thut, making the score 41-0 going into the fourth.
Rogers wound up playing the game of his life so far for Southeast, albeit in garbage time. But, in defence of Rogers, for a player like Rogers who doesn’t have much experience at all, any experience he gets is vital to him. Judging by how he played, the differences between his game and Rose’s game (Or should I say improvements), shows me that Rogers will be something special for the Pirates in the future. The kid went out and showed me he had arm strength, accuracy (Especially on the deep ball), and that he can step up in pressure and deliver.
The first of Rogers two scores came on a 63-yards connection with Senior Reed Myers. The Red Devils sent a blitz after Rogers, but a stepped up in the pocket and fit the ball between three defenders to find his man. Myers then did the rest, using his blazing speed to burn past the defenders for the score. The second of his scores came when the Pirates went on a long drive. The drive ate up more time than usual since the running clock rule came into effect. Rogers lead his team down the field, and eventually found his other Senior receiver Dominic Nicolino for the 7-yard score.
It should be noted that Thut rushed for a 93-yard touchdown on a simple rush to the left with 1:12 left in the game, on a play that was only supposed to burn the clock. It appeared, during the first ten yards of the run, that Thut kept waiting for a defender to hit him, but once he realized that there was not a defender close to him he turned on the jets and burned the Pirates for the score. The Red Devils missed the PAT, but it didn’t matter. Crestwood beat Southeast 47-14.
As Crestwood comes into the final week of the regular season I’m sure they can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for them. Mogadore faces an underwhelming Rootstown team that started the year hotter than any team in the league, while Crestwood finishes against an abysmal Waterloo team that is limping to the finish line.
As for Southeast this next week should be about the future. Rose has already proven that he cannot handle the pressure. I would put the ball in the hands of the Sophomore and see what the kid can do. If you’re Southeast you have nothing to lose here, you aren’t making the playoffs, so why not see what you have there?