Though far from perfect, Crestwood High School began its Region VI-4A schedule exactly as it wanted to with a 26-0 win over Darlington.
Now the Knights face another region road test - and likely a much bigger challenge.
Crestwood sits at 4-3 …
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Crestwood sits at 4-3 overall and 1-0 in region play with a trip to Lugoff-Elgin slated for Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Demons are also 4-3 and 1-0 after last week's 14-12 victory over Lakewood.
The similarities likely end there, though.
"They play a type of football you don't see often," Knights head coach Roosevelt Nelson said. "They get in an I-formation pro set and they're going to come right downhill with the fullback blocking.
"It's an old-school type of football."
A big part of that comes via the LEHS offensive line. L-E has nine players on the roster listed at 250 pounds or more with three of those tipping the scales at over 290. One of those is University of South Carolina commitment Wyatt Campbell.
It's helped produce a solid rushing attack that has the Demons averaging 23.6 points per game thus far.
"They like to be very physical," Nelson said. "Their offensive line does a great job of opening up holes for the running backs."
That doesn't mean L-E is one-dimensional, however.
"Their quarterback controls the game pretty well; he doesn't make a lot of mistakes and he's mobile enough to break some tackles if need be," Nelson went on to say. "They catch the ball well down the field and they use play-action for a deep pass.
"They also run about two trick plays a game with a reverse or a throw-back screen or something like that, so we've got to be prepared for that."
Nelson is hoping for more of the same type of production he got from his defense in last week's shutout and all year in fact. The Knights are allowing an average of just 12.4 points per game and have allowed an average of just 7.7 during the last three games.
Linebacker Camron Blanding led the way as The Sumter Item Defensive Player of the Week. He had 12 tackles, three tackles for a loss and one quarterback sack. Safety Nyjeil Lindsay had two interceptions for the Knights as well and defensive end Christopher Simon had two TFLs and a sack.
The offense on the other hand took some time to get going after leading just 7-0 at halftime. However, CHS responded with two touchdowns and a field goal in the second half to put the game away.
Quarterback Anthony Bradley had an 18-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Simon and also ran the ball in from three yards out for another score. Damontae Furman added another TD and freshman placekicker Gavyn Zimmerman had a 30-yard field goal as well.
The play of the Knights' special teams was something Nelson pointed out as a huge positive moving forward.
"I was really proud of our extra point team," he said. "We've had a few games this year where kicks have been blocked and a few extra points were missed. But they were sharp last Friday and Gavyn made a big field goal and our return game was solid as well."
Crestwood will face a Demons defense that is stout up front and has a couple of key cogs to clog up opponents' running attacks, Nelson said.
"They're big up front there, too," he said. "They've got a big nose guard, probably the biggest we've seen so far this season, and two big defensive tackles that create some issues inside. The linebackers are always in their spots and the secondary play off and make you earn every yard you get and try to take away the deep ball from you.
"That's going to be a challenge for us."
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