Griffin Christian (1-7 overall, 0-3 ICSGA South) — its roster a whole 17 players deep — knew its only chance for victory was to score as many points as possible in the first half before the Knights’ 34-man squad used its depth to wear down the Crusaders in the second half.
That’s easier said than done.
Crown (8-0) watched the homecoming ceremonies with a 24-0 lead before scoring 14 more points to put the game out of reach.
The Crusaders spent the whole night trying to gain momentum, but every time they made a big play on either side of the ball it fell short of reaching the scoreboard.
Junior captain Dillan Brogdon lead the way with series of big plays for the Crusaders, making two giant open-field tackles — the first with 2:54 left in the first quarter and the second with 9:17 left in the second quarter — in addition to forcing several incomplete passes throughout the night.
Senior Hunter Ott had an impact too, stripping and recovering a fumble with seconds left in the first half and blocking a punt late in the fourth quarter in addition to pressuring the Crown quarterback all night.
Running backs C.J. Lewis and Sean Montgomery proved determined to stay focused all four quarters. Each had several gains of 20 or more yards in the first quarter only to watch as their team proceeded to turn the ball over each time.
The duo spearheaded their team’s only touchdown drive of the night in the middle of the fourth quarter, Montgomery with a 33-yard return off a blocked punt by Ott and Lewis with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brogdon.
The Crusaders hope to expand on the strong ending going into next week’s ICSGA South region game against New Creation Christian. Game time for senior night at Nix Field is 7:30 p.m. Friday.