The Crenshaw high school Cougars football team brought intensity in all four quarters and made big plays on both sides of the ball to defeat the Manual Arts Toilers 66-20 in the Division III City Section Playoffs.
Crenshaw quarterback Donce Lewis made two rushing touchdowns and three touchdown passes in the bout.
“He can do it all like he’s maybe Lamar Jackson,” Crenshaw cornerback Damarion Keyes said. “He got loose, scored, they can’t mess with him.”
The Cougars scored on their first possession and recovered a fumble on the Toilers second down. The Crenshaw offense found lucrative opportunities to advance the ball through the run and the pass. A face mask penalty by Manual Arts put Crenshaw on their third-yard line and the Cougars scored their second rushing touchdown of the night. The Cougars were up 13-0.
Manual Arts responded with sophomore tight end Ezekiel Belote making a 70-yard touchdown rush and had a successful two-point conversion.
On the first play of the second quarter, Lewis made a 60-yard scramble for a touchdown. Manual Arts tried to get their passing game going only for Crenshaw junior corner Damarion Keyes to pick them off. The turnover led to the Cougars scoring.
“My coach told me ‘Zone Turn,’ they’re just gonna throw the ball up to you and that’s what I did,” Keyes said. “And I went up for the ball and I caught it.”
A 57-yard rush from Belote put the Toilers in the Cougars’ redzone, allowing junior signal caller Shaun Black to scramble in a touchdown from 11 yards out. However, the Toiler defense allowed three touchdowns before halftime.
Manual Arts did not give up, but only scored one more touchdown in the final minutes of the game.
Crenshaw will battle the Wilson Mules in the CIF City Section Division III championship. The Cougars battled through multiple injuries and a competitive Coliseum League this season, earning a 5-7 overall record and a 1-3 league record.
“I knew that when my team got healthy, we was gonna go on a run and it shows on the field,” said Crenshaw junior Jeremiah Blackmon. “We get out on the field, play how we play, every Friday, every Thursday, whatever condition, cold, hot, we’re gonna do it every time.”
While Wilson flaunts an 8-5 overall record, they struggled in the Northern league with a 1-3 record.
For the Cougars, Coliseum league helped them learn from their mistakes, according to Keyes.
“These last league games, they’ve been doubting us and doubting us and we made it this far,” Keyes said. “We’re just coming out here to prove them wrong.”