DALZELL -- The Crestwood defense held tough for all of Friday's game against perennial 1A power Lamar. Unfortunately for the full house in attendance for homecoming, the Knights' offense staked the Silver Foxes to a 2-touchdown lead and let penalties and turnovers ruin their chances to hand Lamar its first loss.
Instead, the Silver Foxes held off a late Crestwood rally and posted a 17-8 victory to remain undefeated at 6-0. Crestwood falls to 3-3 with the loss heading into conference play next week on the road at Darlington.
"We were definitely prepared for everything they did," said Crestwood head coach Roosevelt Nelson. "Hat's off to Lamar. They're the No. 1 (1A) team in the state, a top-10 team regardless of classification. We had some big penalties that hurt us at crucial points in the game.
"I think defensively we played well from start to finish," Nelson said. "They got dealt a bad hand in the first quarter with the blocked punt and the bad exchange. Two turnovers on our first two possessions kind of put us in a hole, and that's all they had."
Lamar struck first after a bad exchange on Crestwood's second possession gave the Silver Foxes the ball at the Knights' 21-yard line, and Lamar senior running back Tyriq Herion broke free on the very next play, a 21-yard touchdown run. A successful point-after kick made it 7-0 with 6:30 left in the first quarter.
Lamar forced a three-and-out on Crestwood's next possession and came hard after the punt, blocking it. Middle linebacker Will Hickson scooped up the loose ball and went the distance for another touchdown. The point-after kick made it 14-0, and that's where things would stand for much of the game, which turned into a defensive slugfest.
Crestwood did mount a promising drive just before halftime, driving to the Lamar 11-yard line before a costly penalty and a pair of incompletions caused the drive to fizzle.
The Silver Foxes posted a 31-yard field goal late in the third quarter to take a 17-0 lead.
The Knights saw a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Anthony Bradley hit Malik Ballard streaking down the Lamar sideline, connecting on a 73-yard touchdown pass with 8:23 remaining. Maleeke Bradley's 2-point conversion run was successful, making it 17-8.
Crestwood pooched the ensuing kickoff into a empty area between the forward blockers and the backs and the Knights' Kion Benjamin scooped it up, giving them the ball and a jolt of excitement at the Lamar 28. Again, however, a pair of penalties made the going rough in the Lamar red zone.
Crestwood pushed the ball to the Lamar 4-yard line, but a holding penalty on third-and-goal negated an apparent touchdown run by Sheddrick Ervin, and Anthony Bradley fumbled it away on the next play, allowing Lamar to kill most of the clock.
Bradley went down with what Nelson called a lower-leg injury on the play and had to be taken by ambulance for medical attention. He finished 8-of-15 passing with two interceptions and one touchdown. Ballard's 73-yard catch was one of the few bright spots offensively for Crestwood, which finished with only 98 yards rushing and 133 yards through the air.
The Knights mounted a final drive, pushing the ball to the Lamar 25 with under a minute left, but the Silver Foxes iced it when Ballard's desperation pass into the end zone was intercepted.
"Even though we lost the game, the kids fought their tails off right down to the last play," Nelson said. "They played hard, and I'm proud of the guys on that. They showed a lot of maturity. But we're 3-3 heading into the conference.
"We've just got to get back and make corrections from the film, and clean it up and be ready to travel to Darlington next week."