Ellwood Christian quarterback Jalen Furlow avoids Keith defenders in the Eagles 26-20 victory at Keith High School on Friday night. Ellwood Christian trailed 14-12 at halftime,but dominated the second half with timely runs by Furlow and tremendous defense against the Bears high powered rushing attack.--Daniel Evans
Ellwood Christian quarterback Jalen Furlow avoids Keith defenders in the Eagles 26-20 victory at Keith High School on Friday night. Ellwood Christian trailed 14-12 at halftime,but dominated the second half with timely runs by Furlow and tremendous defense against the Bears high powered rushing attack.-- Daniel Evans

Ellwood Christian upsets rival Keith, 26-20

Published 1:48am Saturday, September 14, 2013

ORRVILLE — Although Ellwood Christian and Keith is a new matchup, put together after the Eagles jumped from AISA to AHSAA in 2012, it was very clear on Friday night that the game has already turned into one of the county’s best rivalries.

Ellwood Christian, led by an outstanding game from quarterback Jalen Furlow, pulled the surprising 26-20 upset win over Keith. The Bears have only lost at home one time over the last three seasons and have been a playoff team five consecutive seasons, but Friday night they were outplayed at home by the Eagles.

“They came down here ready to play. They wanted this game and that is why we won,” Ellwood Christian head coach Mike Stokes said. “They did not quit. Even when things didn’t go right, they kept playing.”

Stokes has said that he wants his program to build into a successful program like the one Keith has and this win was one step in that process.

“Like I say, we want to get like Keith is and get to the playoffs year after year. That’s what we are working for,” Stokes said. “These young guys are buying into what we are doing. They play hard and they practice hard.”

With 14.0 seconds on the clock, the Bears had the ball at the Eagles 27-yard line, but Keith quarterback Maurice Crumpton was sacked, ending the game and giving the Ellwood Christian sideline a reason to explode into celebration.

“We had opportunities to win it. We put ourselves in position,” Keith head coach Harry Crum said. “I saved my timeouts. It came down to 30 yards between us and time to score.”

After leading 14-12 at halftime, Keith’s defense found it difficult to keep contain on Ellwood Christian quarterback Jalen Furlow in the second half.  Furlow carried the ball 23 times in the game, counting numerous sacks, for 112 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing a touchdown pass.

“He is a stud,” Stokes said about his quarterback. “He is what you call a Division I football player.”

Meanwhile, the Bears signal caller, Maurice Crumpton, started off hot. He completed 3 of his first 4 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, but ended the night 5 of 15 for 123 yards.

Early on, Keith — who has gotten off to slow starts in wins against Sunshine and Wilcox Central — came out firing. Crumpton threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Delmuss Irby to give Keith a 6-0 lead with 8:03 left in the first quarter. The two-point try was successful, giving the Bears an 8-0 lead.

Ellwood answered on the ensuing kickoff, as Cordarius Hayes flew past Keith defenders for a 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Keith’s lead held at 8-6 until Crumpton hit Jarece Bryant on a 29-yard touchdown pass to extend the Bears lead to 14-6. Following the Keith touchdown, Ellwood again benefited from a long kickoff return, this one by Damion Rogers, to put the Eagles in scoring position.

On the first play after the kickoff return, Ellwood’s Jalen Furlow threw a 44-yard touchdown to Hayes. The Eagles were again unsuccessful on the two-point try, leaving the halftime score at 14-12 Keith.

In the third quarter, Ellwood was firing on all cylinders early. The Eagles first drive resulted in a 14-yard touchdown by Furlow, giving Ellwood an 18-14 lead with 8:56 left in the third quarter. The Eagles held the lead going into the fourth quarter, when Michael Lewis extended the lead with an 11-yard touchdown run. After Ellwood’s only successful two point conversion of the night, the Eagles led 26-14, but the Bears were far from done.

Keith’s Walton Young, playing in his first game of the season after an offseason ankle injury, returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown to get the Bears right back into the game.

The two-point try failed, leaving Ellwood Christian’s lead at 26-20 with 10:43 lead.

When Crumpton was stopped short of the first down on a fourth down run with 4:19 left, it looked like the game was over, but Ellwood Christian miscalculated the time on the clock and turned the ball over at their own 27-yard line with 20.3 seconds left.

Crumpton was sacked on first down and Keith was out of timeouts, but a personal foul penalty on the Eagles kept the Bears chances alive. On the final play, Crumpton was sacked again and when time ran out the Ellwood Christian sideline erupted as players ran onto the field in celebration.

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