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Perfect play saved 10-0 season

October 31, 2012
By MICHAEL S. BURICH - Assistant Sports Editor , Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA - There are many plays which are vital in the makeup of a 10-0 season.

In Crestview's case, perhaps the biggest of all came in the fourth quarter of a 37-33 victory over Columbiana on the opening Thursday of the season.

Early in the final period of that game, Columbiana's Britton Steiginga took off on 62-yard run which initially appeared to give the Clippers the lead back in what was a hard fought rivalry game.

That is until Crestview's Kris Simpson caught him from behind at the 1-yard line.

"We talked about that a lot," Crestview coach Paul Cusick said. "That inspired a whole series of big plays. We had a goal-line stand and then Anthony Marnejon had a 66-yard punt to get us out of trouble.

"There were situations in that game where that play set all of those up for us to win it. Those series of plays were keyed by him making that play. We needed for him to make that play because he's a senior and it really helped our young team grow up."

It wasn't surprising that Simpson caught the speedy Steiginga, who had 247 yards on 15 carries in that game. He was a part of two record-breaking relay teams which became the first Rebel relay squads to place at the state track meet when he was sophomore.

"I wasn't thinking about catching him at all," Simpson said. "It just happened, I guess."

Simpson admitted he didn't think he was going to catch him, but kept positive in the pursuit.

"It would have been a different result for sure if I didn't catch him," Simpson said. "The guys on the team tell me I saved the game for them. It makes me feel good."

It also saved the Rebels' first perfect regular season.

Simpson said he knows Steiginga, but the Clipper back hasn't said anything to him about the touchdown-saving tackle.

"I just laughed to him about it," Simpson said.

Simpson has 13 tackles this season, but has defined himself more on the offensive side of the ball. He leads the team with 16 catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 25.8 yards on four kickoff returns and 14.6 yards on 19 punt returns.

Even though Simpson did not play in the second-round playoff win against Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas last year because of a shoulder injury, he's excited to see how he'll stack up on Saturday night when the unbeaten Rebels entertain the Knights (9-1) in a first-round encounter at Crestview High School.

"They're fast and aggressive," Simpson said. "They seemed pretty good last year."



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