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Spaite is going with Crestview

Columbiana lost to Kirtland, but coach is picking Rebels

November 17, 2011
MICHAEL S. BURICH - Staff Writer , Salem News

Columbiana took it on the chin against Kirtland in its Division V opening-round playoff game two weeks ago.

Despite the 49-8 loss, Columbiana football coach Bob Spaite has a strong opinion of who is going to win in the Division V regional final tonight between Crestview and Kirtland at Warren's Mollenkopf Stadium.

"Believe it or not, I really think Crestview is going to win," Spaite said. "People say 'How can you say that?' Because (Columbiana) played rather well against Crestview. Against Kirtland, we didn't play well at all."

Spaite said the reason behind his pick is because of what Crestview brings to the table.

"I just think what Crestview does is harder to stop if you haven't seen it or are not used to it," Spaite said. "Their offense is really hard to stop for all four quarters. It's harder to stop than what Kirtland does.

"Now, don't get me wrong. I think Kirtland is a very good football team. If Crestview can't get them in third-and-long and make them throw, they're in for a long night."

Spaite said that he thinks the Rebels have a significant advantage at quarterback with Adam Coppock.

"If it turns into a game where they're both shutting each other's offenses down, I think Coppock is the better quarterback," Spaite said. "I think (Kirtland coach Tiger) LaVerde would tell you the same thing. He admitted to me that the first three or four weeks of the season that they had a quarterback derby. They really weren't sure of who they were going to use. He pretty much said the offense has been a work in progress all season."

The 'work in progress' has worked out quite well though. Running backs Christian Hauber and Damon Washington have put the Kirtland offense on their shoulders and have done great things. The passing game really hasn't been a concern because the Hornets have not needed to do it that much.

Spaite said comparing the two teams is hard to do though because they don't have similar styles on defense or offense.

"Defensively they're a little bit better than Crestview, but I think offensively Crestview is a little bit better than them," Spaite said. "It's hard to compare though because they both have such contrasting styles. Crestview's offense looks for creases and seams. Kirtland's offense wants to create cavities."

Special teams could be one area where the Rebels could outshine the Hornets. Against Columbiana, the Hornets' kick coverage was sloppy to average at best. The kicking game was nothing to write home about either.

"I think Crestview has a little bit of an edge on the special teams," Spaite said. "I don't think Kirtland has had to be as good in all phases of the game as Crestview has."

Spaite said that he still thought Kirtland had problems turning the ball over even though the Hornets did not do so against the Clippers. It remains to be seen if Crestview will able to exploit that weakness.

"We saw that they were very prone to turning the ball over on the films we saw," Spaite said. "Of course, we did them a big favor (by turning the ball over five times). We didn't do that during the regular season. Crestview hasn't either. Maybe that credit goes to Kirtland's defense. I don't know."



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