Bears drop Eagles 34-7

Published 2:02 am Saturday, September 15, 2012

Keith quarterback Maurice Crumpton (2) tries to get off a pass before Ellwood’s Raheem Velazquez (32) can sack him. Crumpton had two touchdown passes in Keith’s win. -- Robert Hudson

The Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles landed the first blow with the game’s first touchdown, but the Keith Bears counter punched and never stopped fighting, as they won 34-7 on Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Harry Crum, head football coach of Keith (3-0, 2-0 Class 1A Region 3), said the Bears resiliency was the key to victory in the first meeting between the two area foes.

“They came out first, we had a blown coverage and they hit us on that seam route and scored on us,” Crum said. “But we were resilient, able to bounce back. Our guys, when they finally got their feet up under them and remembered what makes us tick, they ground it out. They were putting a lot of people in the box, which kind of stopped us early, but you have to pick your poison. You put everybody in the box, if we get past that first level, then it’s usually a big play.”

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Mike Stokes, head football coach of Ellwood (2-1, 1-1 Class 1A Region 3), said the Eagles can learn from Friday’s loss.

“We got whooped. I mean, it’s a good learning experience for us,” Stokes said. “We played a lot of eighth and ninth graders, so one day we’ll be where they’re at. That’s what we’re working on. We got beat by a good team.”

The Eagles struck first after holding the Bears to a three and out and blocking the Keith punt with 9:11 left in the first quarter.

Three plays later, Ellwood quarterback Jalen Furlow found Quintravis Johnson for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles added the extra point to go ahead 7-0 with 7:32 left in the first quarter.

But Keith answered back on its second drive of the game when quarterback Maurice Crumpton found Jabari Moore on a go route for a 20-yard touchdown, and with the extra point, the Bears tied the game at 7-7 with 3:37 left in the first.

The Bears capitalized off a short Ellwood punt that set them up at the Eagles’ 14-yard line, as Rodney Ellis ran up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown that finished the short drive. Keith missed the extra point, making the score 13-7 with 11:56 left in the second quarter.

Ellis came up big again for the Bears later in the quarter, scoring on a 9-yard run, with the extra point putting Keith ahead 20-7 with 6:32 left in the first half.

Keith carried the momentum over into the second half, as Ellis broke a few Eagles’ tackles and sprinted 58 yards for his third touchdown of the game that pushed the lead to 26-7 with 8:29 left in the third quarter.

Keith’s final score came with 7:14 left in the game when Crumpton found Martavius Harris for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Brian Crum hit Caron Velazquez on the fake field goal to add the 2-point conversion to make it a 34-7 game.

The Bears defense forced three turnovers on the night, including interceptions by Charles Johnson and Deanthony Griffin, and a strip and fumble recovery by Ty’Woine Thomas.

Keith held Ellwood to 28 yards of total offense, while racking up 251 total yards on offense.

Ellwood got a spark in the second half, as Devonte Cleveland returned a kickoff 87 yards into Bears territory, but Keith ended the threat on a turnover on downs.

Along with his two touchdown passes, Crumpton had 59 yards rushing, while throwing for 51 yards.

Ellis had 67 yards rushing for the Bears, and Keith’s Delmuss Irby added 81 yards rushing, most of it coming on a 70-yard run in the second half that saw him break multiple tackles before being taken down at Ellwood’s 10-yard line.

Deriaun Glenn led Ellwood with 30 yards rushing.

The Bears will play again on Friday at home against Holy Spirit in a region game.

Ellwood will hit the road to face Autaugaville in a region game at 7 p.m. on Friday.