Bulldog wide receiver Scott Kern attempts to stiff-arm Cougars defensive back Tanner Jolley to gain more yards on the play during the third quarter of the Creswell vs. Illinois Valley match-up on Sept.14. CHRISTOPHER PALANUK/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Hundreds of excited spectators rushed the field last Friday night to congratulate the Creswell Bulldogs, whose 27-24 victory over visiting Illinois Valley in the final minutes of the game snapped a 17-game losing streak for the much-beleaguered Dawgs.
”It was definitely a nail-biter, but we pulled it off and it felt so good,” said Head Coach Scott Worsham. ”I’m so proud of these guys for all the effort they’ve put in, and we’re finally seeing it pay off.”
Without question, Creswell’s hero of the hour was senior slotback Tayler Forsman, who scored all four Bulldog touchdowns, ran in a two-point conversion, snagged a first-quarter interception and made five tackles. He caught eight passes for 114 yards, including three touchdowns and made 13 carries for another 123 yards, including a touchdown and the two-point conversion.
All told, Forsman accounted for 26 of the Dawgs’ 27 points and 237 of Creswell’s 276 total yards of offense.
”He’s definitely our main guy right now,” Worsham said. ”It came down to getting the ball in the right guy’s hands that night.”
The Bulldogs scored on their first drive on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Dallton Dewey to Forsman, who added the two-point conversion. Illinois Valley answered, and Creswell ended the period up 8-6.
In the second quarter, Creswell scored on another 20-yard pass from Dewey to Forsman, and Dewey’s conversion attempt failed. Again, the Cougars responded, and Creswell led 14-12 at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Dewey and Forsman connected on a 49-yard pass for another touchdown, and Dean Howard added the extra-point kick. But the Cougars scored twice to end the period up 24-21.
”We led the whole game until late in the third quarter,” Worsham said. ”They scored twice on pass plays that we didn’t defend very well. They’ve got a fast kid who was able to score on those long pass plays.”
The deficit persisted until the game’s final four minutes, when Forsman pulled Creswell out of a fourth-and-two with a 56-yard touchdown run.
But it wasn’t over yet: ”Scary as it was, Illinois Valley marched down the field and were at the 20-yard line with 30 seconds to go when their quarterback fumbled, and Jaycob Kremer recovered it for us,” Worsham said. ”We went for one down, and the game was over.”
Dewey completed 10 of 16 passes for 129 yards, including three touchdown passes. He also made 13 carries for 25 yards rushing.
Howard made one catch for six yards, six carries for seven yards and four tackles. His unfortunate in-air second-quarter fumble was caught in the air and run into the endzone for a Cougar TD.
Tyler Nicol made two carries for four yards.
Nick Mullen and Logan Johnson each had six tackles, while Kremer made five tackles to go with his fumble recovery.
Gabe Hastings had four tackles and was credited with 1.5 sacks, while Levi Bones had four tackles and half a sack. Tyler Olson had four tackles.
”Creswell football really needed a win, and it sure was a lot of fun,” Worsham said. ”I hope we can ride this wave into this week’s game against Bandon. I believe we’ve got a great shot at winning that game as well, and I’m really excited for that game and for the rest of the season.”