Nikki Fox Photography
Crestview’s Matt Holden runs over a Parkway defender during the Crestview/Parkway rivalry game on Friday, August 28, in Rockford.
Nikki Fox Photography Crestview’s Matt Holden runs over a Parkway defender during the Crestview/Parkway rivalry game on Friday, August 28, in Rockford.
BY DREW BITTNER

Times Bulletin Sports Editor

sports@timesbulletin.com

ROCKFORD - Crestview was considered the underdogs heading into Friday's matchup with Parkway, but it didn't look like it when the teams hit the Panther Stadium grass last night.

The Knights erased the bad memories of 2008 as they upended the Panthers 26-6.

The way the game started, it had all the makings of a close, nail-biting contest. Parkway marched right down the field on their first possession, connecting on big play after big play. A three-yard touchdown run by Panthers quarterback Jared Bourelle capped off the drive. A botched snap prevented Parkway from getting the point after, and the Panthers took a 6-0 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Knights answered right back, though. After an opening pass that went for negative yardage, Crestview's offense pulled things together and delivered an impressive drive of their own, storming down the field with a balanced offensive attack. Crestview quarterback Stephen Semer finished the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Nofer to even the score at 6-6. The Knights' point after kicked was blocked by Parkway to keep the score even.

Parkway appeared to have the makings of another scoring drive until two penalties derailed the possession. The Panthers defense, however, would hold Crestview off as well to preserve the 6-6 tie.

However, things quickly turned ugly for Parkway. The Panthers fumbled on a subsequent punt return at their own 41 yard line, and the Knights quickly pounced on the loose ball.

Crestview would capitalize on the miscue, driving down the field and scoring on a two-yard touchdown run by Semer. The Knights made the extra point to give Crestview a 13-6 advantage.

On the very next possession, Bourelle was picked off by Crestview's Matt Holden, who returned the interception down to Parkway's 24 yard line.

The Knights would fail to turn the takeaway into points, though, and the score would remain tied.

Parkway again looked to be driving the ball down the field without interruption, but a crucial offensive pass interference penalty stopped their drive cold again.

The teams went to halftime with Crestview on top and the score 13-6.

The second half started much like the first had ended, with both defenses providing solid play and preventing the offenses from getting into a rhythm. But that changed at the 7:40 mark, as Crestview's Ryan Ramey intercepted a Bourelle pass to give Crestview possession.

This time, the Knights would capitalize on the mistake, driving down the field and scoring on another Semer to Nofer connection. This one was a short five-yard strike to right hand corner of the endzone. The Knights missed the extra point, but increased their lead to 19-6.

After stopping Parkway on their first three plays, Crestview again provided excitement as Dallis Gibson broke through the punt team and blocked the Panthers' punt at Parkway's 28. Once again, though, the Knights would come up empty on offense.

The game went back into stalemate mode again with neither team being able to do much of anything, and the third quarter ended with the score still at 19-6.

The beginning of the fourth quarter reversed that trend, providing excitement for the fans who filled The Pines. Crestview fumbled a snap on their opening fourth quarter possession and Parkway would recover the football and gain back some of the momentum of the game.

Crestview quickly snuffed out that momentum, however, holding the Panthers in check as Josh Staten sacked Bourelle to force the Panthers into fourth and 13.

The Knights took over possession after the following punt, but couldn't move the ball effectively, bringing up a fourth down situation. One of the game's high drama moments would follow.

Crestview lined up in a shotgun formation only to have Semer quick-punt in an attempt to pin the Panthers deep. Parkway was fooled by the play, and the ball hit off an unsuspecting Panthers' player and bounced into the endzone. A Crestview player fell on the ball and the Knights thought they had scored another touchdown. The officials, however, ruled a touchback - much to the ire of the Crestview coaching staff and relief of the Parkway faithful.

On the ensuing drive for Parkway, as Bourelle scampered on a quarterback keeper, the Panthers quarterback was hit low by a Crestview tackler. Immediately, Bourelle grabbed at his knee and it was apparent to all at the stadium that the senior quarterback was in extreme pain. After several minutes of the trainers looking him over, Bourelle was taken off the field on a stretcher as fans on both sides gave the player applause.

The Panthers were then forced to bring sophomore Bryce Bedwell into the game and the quarterback was picked off on his first pass attempt of the season. His throw was tipped by a Panthers wide receiver, but brought down by Crestview's Tyler Torrey, who took the ball all the way to the Panthers' one-yard line.

Semer all but sealed the game then, faking a handoff up the middle and then turning and taking the ball off the left side of his offensive line for a five-yard touchdown run. The Knights would add the extra point to take a 26-6 lead, effectively ending the game.

With the victory, the Knights snap a two-game losing streak to Parkway, and claim the traveling trophy which is given to the winner of this rivalry game.