James A. Garfield Vs. Crestview

First, I would like to apologize to my fans for missing week four (last week) of the football season. I was sick and didn’t want to make things uncomfortable for myself or anyone else. Thanks for understanding. Now back to the action!

Week five kicked off with an exciting match-up between the Garfield G-men and the Crestview  Rebels. Garfield entered the game with an undefeated record (4-0) and was tied for first place with Mogadore and Crestwood for first place in the Portage Trail Conference County Division. The Rebels, meanwhile, entered the game with a .500 record (2-2) and were looking to bounce back after two bad losses to Alliance and John F. Kennedy Catholic respectively. Garfield and Crestview fans packed the stadium for this exciting match-up, and were not disappointed!

The game came down to one thing for both teams, one facet of the game that rarely gets discussed, special teams. Garfield made special teams plays all night that completely changed the game, starting with their very first score. The game had gotten off to a very slow start, Crestview stalled on its first drive, and Garfield had done the same, failing to convert on third down, and had to punt from Crestviews 49 yard-line. Garfield Coach Mike Moser sent out RB Seth Morgan (4 att 4 yds, 1 cth 7 yds 1 drp, 2 tck) to punt. Morgan caught the snap and shuffled to the right, but was met by two Rebel defenders who blew by their blockers. Morgan quickly spun to the left and took off down the sideline. By that point most of the Rebel players had their backs turned, and were running down the field themselves to block and had no idea Morgan was blowing by them. Morgan finished the run in the end zone with 7:10 left in the first quarter.

Coach Moser talked about the run after the game, saying “It was a designed play, that wasn’t supposed to happen like that at all. The defenders got by our blockers and got in (Morgan’s) way so he had to improvise. When it comes down to it, it was just a special athlete making a special play.”

Garfield scored again at the 2:03 mark on a five yard run from Senior power RB Kyle Borrelli. The Garfield offensive line dominated on the play, blowing up a huge hole for Borrelli who waltzed into the end zone. After a bad snap on the PAT resulted in a missed pass by the holder for a 2-point conversion the score was 13-0 going into the second.

Garfield got going early again, this time in the second quarter. At the 7:18 mark RB Anthony Denigris (3 att 51 yds 1 TD 1 fum) down a reverse end-around 51 yards for the score. Garfield’s offense often used reverses, fakes, and trickery. This is the first game I’ve seen them play this year, but it is clear the coaching staff did a good job coming up with a plan this year. While the G-men may not have the most explosive athletes across the board, they worked this human chess match like pros. After another stalled drive for Crestview, the G-men got down the field in a hurry after Senior QB Dalton Fall (13-19 184 yds 2 TDs) nailed Senior WR Tommy Bissler (3 cth 73 yds) for a 60 yard gain. Borrelli took it to the house again, this time from 4 yards out to make the score 27-0 with 4:37 to go in the half. The score would remain that way, and the G-men would not look back.

Where Crestview struggled was up front. The G-men were routinely blowing up their offensive line, especially against the run. The Crestview offensive line could not, I repeat, could not block for the run! The were ok blocking for the pass, only giving up one sack, but they got no push on the run. Even though the Rebels got 121 yards rushing as a team, that was really hard running by their RBs and missed tackles. That being said, we move to the second half.

Garfield got the ball first to start the second half, and, remember that special teams thing we talked about earlier…yeah, that…it came up in a huge way right out of the gate. Borrelli took the kick off 85 yards, down the right sideline for most of it, until he was finally tackled at the Rebel five yard-line. After two failed runs Fall found his Senior TE Ben Nowak (3 cth 43 yds 2 TDs), for his first of two touchdowns, in the back of the end zone. Nowak had slipped right behind the zone coverage and drifted to the middle of the end zone where Borrelli found him between two LBs, making the score 34-0 with 11:03 left in the third. Crestview finally got on the board with 3:31 to go on a 5 yard power run by RB Andrew Yanssens (8 att 55 yds 1 TD) behind the LG, making the score 34-7. Garfield responded on its next drive with 1:32 in the third. Fall found Nowak again, for the pairs second touchdown, on a 26 yard fade to the right side of the end zone. Nowak got behind double coverage for an easy completion. The score was 41-7 going into the fourth.

Understandably, with the game being a blowout at that point, there weren’t too many interesting plays. Crestview did get its final score of the game with 10:02 to go in the quarter. QB Caleb Hill (4-9 34 yds 0 TDs, 6 att 2 yds 1 TD 1 fum) took the ball on a fake to the back 10 yards for the score.

After the game I caught up with Garfield Coach Mike Moser, and he talked about when he expected from his team, heading into their first PTC game next week against Waterloo, saying “24 hours. I always tell my guys, you have 24 hours to enjoy this win as much as possible, then it’s back to work. This week we’re going to improve on all the little things. I thought we did a lot of good, and give credit to Crestview for any of the bad things we did. They’re a good team, a great team actually, and we have all the respect in the world for them, which is why we are enjoying this win more than most, because they’re so good.” Now that the season is half way through we will get to enjoy a lot more league play from all teams. I know I am really excited for the second half of the season, and I hope all of you are as well.

Thanks to all my fans for your time,

Zac

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