Keith advances to regional playoffs

Published 1:18 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

Head coach Harry Crum makes a crucial fourth down call in the third quarter with Terrell Velazquez and son Jeremy Crum Friday night in Orrville. -- Rick Couch

The Keith High School football team claimed the No. 4 seed and a third straight playoff spot Friday night drilling Marengo County in the final home game of the season 34-14.

Bears head coach Harry Crum said his team will now travel to Montgomery to face St. Jude in the first round. Though it is the Bears third straight trip, Crum said he is still excited.

“No matter how many times you go, it’s still fun,” he said. “We have some guys who just came out and have never been, so it’s great for them. We also have a lot of guys with some playoff experience.

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The Bears offense started slow, but aggressive defense helped them break a scoreless tie with 5:15 left in the first quarter when Michael Giles scooped up a Marengo County fumble and raced seven yards for the score. The extra point failed, giving Keith an early 6-0 lead.

After getting the ball back late in the first quarter, the Bears began to move. The Bears launched an 11 play, 74-yard drive that ended on the first play of the second quarter when Jeremy Crum hit Cleveland Jones for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Charles Johnson took the ball in for the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0.

Marengo County closed the gap to 14-6 with 6:46 remaining in the half with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that seemed to put the momentum in the Panthers’ corner.

But Keith took control again when Maurice Crumpton hit Crum on a 26-yard pass as time expired in the half to build a 20-6 lead after a failed two-point conversion.

Marengo County took advantage of an early second half mistake by the Bears with a fumble return for a score and two-point conversion to close the gap to 20-14 with 7:05 to go in the third.

But those were the last points they would get as the Keith defense turned up the heat and shut the Panthers down for the remainder of the game. Crum said the final two quarters were character builders for his team.

“I was really proud of the way they kept fighting and didn’t quit,” he said.

The Bears took the ball with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter and took the Panthers momentum with a 12-play 75-yard drive that ended with a two-yard Crum run around left end. Johnson again got the call for the two-point conversion to make the score 28-14.

The Bears tacked on their final score when Terrell Velazquez scored with 17 seconds left.

Crum told his team he was very impressed with the progress they have made this season.

“We are worlds apart from where we were when we played Holy Spirit,” he said. “This has been a character building season.”