CRESWELL – So here’s the situation for Creswell as it prepares for Friday night’s regular-season finale at home against Monroe:
Win, and the Bulldogs will secure the No. 3 seed and reach the state football playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
Lose, and they’re likely out … but there would still be hope. Only the top three spots from 2A Special District 3 are guaranteed playoff spots, with the highest fourth-place ranking earning the fourth and final playoff berth. Toledo and Oakland have clinched the top two spots.
“It would be great to play some bonus football this year,” Creswell coach Scott Worsham said. “It’s nice to be in the thick of things going into the final week. We’re all excited to have this chance.”
Creswell set itself up for this chance by outlasting Jefferson 18-12 in a makeup game on Thursday, Oct. 21.
“It was wet and rainy, just nasty conditions,” Worsham said. “It may have been in our favor because they have a really good quarterback and they weren’t able to throw.
“The ball was so slick, it was tough for either team to pass.”
Jefferson didn’t run all that well either – especially if you don’t count two carries by Zach Wusstig. The junior running back broke loose for a 95-yard touchdown in the first quarter, then his 65-yard burst late in the second period put the visitors ahead 12-10 at halftime.
“We knew No. 3 (Wusstig) was a good back,” Worsham said. “At halftime we said we just had to keep our heads up and keep moving the ball.
“The whole second half our defense dominated. No. 3 couldn’t do anything.”
The winning score came at the start of the fourth quarter when Connor Hanson connected with Logan Gordon on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Hanson, a junior quarterback, had also scored the CHS’s first TD on a 49-yard run in the first quarter. His 2-point conversion pass to Cade Dimmick made it 10-0.
Creswell jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead when Jack Nguyen and Alex Harrington tackled a Jefferson running back in the end zone for a safety.
It was the first of many timely plays for the defense.
“I thought our outside linebackers Jack (Nguyen) and Connor (Hanson) did a good job of containing,” Worsham said. “Our defensive tackles – Alex Harrington, Reece Germen and Corbin Allison – all played well and had excellent gap control. And defensive backs Logan Gordon, Asher Parsons, Jaydon Warthen each had an interception and they were in great position all night.”
Defensive leader Juan Beltran led the way again with 7 tackles and a fumble recovery. Hanson also had 7 tackles, including 4 for a loss; Nguyen added 5 tackles, including one for a safety, and forced a fumble; and Maysen Scovil recorded 5 tackles and a fumble recovery.
That defense could be tested again by Monroe senior running back Brody Ballard.
“Their offense pretty much runs through him,” Worsham said. “Hopefully our defense will step up again and limit him as much as possible.”
Friday night is Senior Night for six Bulldogs – Germen, Gordon, Allison, Anthony Cox, Conner Baggerly and Cody Pellerin.
They’re hoping, along with the rest of their teammates, that their season is far from over.