CRESTVIEW — Now in its seventh season under coach Tim Hatten, the Crestview football team is becoming quite familiar with 2-0 starts.
A year ago, the Bulldogs topped Bay and St. Martin in the opening weeks of competition en route to a Final Four berth. The year before that, Crestview didn’t drop a single regular season contest, finishing a perfect 8-0.
Yet with the opportunity to claim a fourth straight 2-0 start on the table against Escambia at 7 p.m. Friday in Pensacola, Hatten said he doesn’t put much stock in the concept, especially given the FHSAA’s newly adopted RPI ranking system.
“I think it’s all relevant to who you’re playing,” he said. “The old cliché goes, ‘You can’t get to 10-0 unless you start off 2-0.’ I’m not sure it’s got a lot of meaning other than the fact is you want to win as many games you can.”
And make no bones about it, Crestview (1-0) has been pretty good at winning, claiming victories in 31 of its past 37 contests, including a 53-20 victory against Vernon this past Friday.
As a team, the Bulldogs rushed for 378 yards and five touchdowns (273 coming by way of senior running back Taylor Scarbrough) and limited Vernon to just 216 yards of offense. For the most part, Hatten said, it was a clean performance.
“I think we gotta clean a few things up,” he said. “We missed a couple of reads in our run-pass game, but that’s every game. You won’t be perfect. You get some different looks, people stepping in and bailing, but we’ll be a little bit more polished this week.”
The Bulldogs will need it against Escambia.
They haven’t seen the Gators (1-0) since the 2017 Region 1-6A semifinals, Crestview topping Escambia 44-34 behind 289 passing yards and three total touchdowns from then-quarterback Rod Bouchard.
This year's Gator squad is coming off a 34-13 victory against West Florida in their opener. Senior quarterback AV Smith passed 217 yards and scored four total touchdowns in the win, leading Escambia to 27 unanswered points to start the second half.
“He’s been playing and starting for three years,” Hatten said. “You gotta expect him to be pretty good. He’s a good player, and they’ve got good receivers, good skill players.
“This is kina like a second- or third-round playoff team basically. They’re a good football team. There’s no doubt about that.”