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The Crestwood High School football team is still searching for its first win in Region IV-4A, despite what looked like a promising start last week against Lower Richland. The Knights offense was able to match Lower Richland early, but as Crestwood began to stall out, the Diamond Hornets found big play after big play en route to a 42-17 victory.
"Big plays and inability for our offense to stay on the field," said head coach Roosevelt Nelson of Crestwood's biggest issues in the loss. "They were things we knew would get us in trouble, but that's what happened."
Crestwood's top focus this week has been limiting those big plays as it prepares for another region matchup, traveling to Columbia to face Dreher. The Blue Devils have had a similarly tough season, as a brutally difficult non-region schedule has led to a 1-6 record.
Dreher has allowed over 40 points in all but two of its games and has been held to 10 points or fewer in every game other than a 42-12 win over Eau Claire. Despite those struggles, the Knights aren't sleeping on Dreher. The Blue Devils played a tough game last week to Orangeburg-Wilkinson, falling 28-7, and Nelson has seen an improving team on film.
"They're improving. Each and every week, they're improving and getting better," said Nelson. "They've got a couple of guys that can play, and they played O-W, who was a 6-win team, deep into the fourth quarter last Friday."
Nelson said the key to finding offensive success against Dreher starts with a simple fact: the Knights need to be able to move the ball on the ground.
"We definitely need to be able to run the football," said the Crestwood head coach. "The games that we've lost, we haven't been able to run the football, and that's something we have to be able to do on Friday night."
Defensively, Nelson knows that Crestwood needs to limit Dreher's playmakers. That starts with quarterback Ryan Campbell and a stable of running backs that includes Eli Goodman and Jordan Foy.
"Offensively, they like to use different formations to try to get the ball out on the edge. They also use a lot of what I call eye candy," said Nelson. "They use a lot of motions and shifts, so you've got to be tuned in to your responsibility."
As the regular season winds down, the opportunities for region wins keep shrinking, making this matchup even more important as Crestwood looks to keep its playoff hopes alive.
"It's important, it's definitely important," said Nelson. "The regular season is winding down, so we don't have a lot of time left."
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