Seldom is there a preseason football scrimmage that leaves a coach with a totally positive assessment of his team.
Such was the case on Friday for Crestwood High School head coach Roosevelt Nelson after watching the Knights come away with a 21-7 victory over Timmonsville at the Sumter Sertoma Club's 36th Annual Sumter County Jamboree held on Freddie Solomon Field at Sumter Memorial Stadium.
Crestwood's defense recovered a pair of Timmonsville fumbles early, with the Knights' offense taking advantage for two scores in the first five minutes of the opening 12-minute quarter. However, the ensuing kickoff after the second score was returned 84 yards for the Whirlwinds' only points. Along with that special teams breakdown, Crestwood had penalties that nullified three scores, although the Knights eventually found the end zone in two of those instances.
In all, Crestwood was flagged seven times for 67 yards, while the Whirlwinds were cited for six infractions totaling 62 yards. One of Timmonsville's penalties, an offensive pass interference, nullified a gain inside the Crestwood 20, effectively squashing what could have been a scoring drive.
"We came out of the game healthy. That's a good thing," Nelson said. "I saw some good things, but too many penalties. That's just a lack of focus, a lack of concentration, a lack of communication. We've got to get that corrected before next Friday comes. We've got to get that fixed. That's not good enough for us. We're going to get it corrected, but we won. That's a good game to win.
"I was aggravated by the kickoff that they ran back. We had a guy that got outside of the lane, but overall we stayed healthy, got some good things on film, got a lot of guys in the game who competed, so it's a good thing."
Timmonsville took the opening kickoff at its own 25 and got a first down before running back Kevion Spann coughed up the ball on the fourth play from scrimmage. Joshua Goodman secured the ball for Crestwood and the Knights took six plays to travel 41 yards to the end zone, with quarterback Anthony Bradley lofting a pass to the end zone on a play that saw Jaquest McLeod essentially win a jump ball over the defender for the score and a 7-0 Crestwood lead.
The Whirlwinds took over at their own 22, only to see quarterback Ja'Marc Morris victimized by a high snap on the drive's second play. This time the Knights took over at the 14, with Bradley rushing for five yards on first down. Bradley hit McLeod for what appeared to be a 9-yard touchdown pass, but an illegal shift brought the play back and pushed Crestwood back to the 14 once again. On the next play, Bradley decided he would take matters into his own hands, bursting up the middle for the 14-yard score and a 14-0 Knights advantage.
After Timmonsville cut the lead in half with Christian Taylor's long kickoff return, the defenses dominated for the remainder of the opening quarter. The Whirlwinds took over in Crestwood territory after an interception, but could not make anything of it on the drive that was stalled by the offensive pass interference call.
The Knights took over at their 23 late in the opening quarter and Bradley was on the loose yet again on the drive's fourth play, cruising down the far sidelines for a 63-yard scoring run. However, a holding call would bring the play all the way back. Crestwood still crossed the goal line on the drive, which took 14 plays after two more holding calls hindered the offense's progress. The drive culminated in a 30-yard pass from Bradley to Tyrese Felder on fourth down and eight yards to go.
Crestwood's final costly miscue came on its last drive of the scrimmage, as another holding infraction wiped a 20-yard Bradley scoring run off the board.
The Knights host Lower Richland on Friday at Donald L. Crolley Memorial Stadium in Dalzell to open the regular season.
"They've got a good program, and they've got some guys that can play," Nelson said of the Diamond Hornets. "They're well coached, and (LR head) Coach (Rodney) Barr is doing a good job in his second year with them. Their quarterback is pretty good; he's got a good strong arm, a big kid and we've definitely got to come in ready to play when he comes up there. That's how we've got to prepare and approach that."