Before the 2019 campaign began, Crescent head football coach J.L. Fisher knew his youthful squad was going to experience some growing pains.
The Tigers are right in the middle of those pains in the ever-so tough District A-3.
Unbeaten Minco handed Crescent its fourth straight loss last Thursday by scoring 19 straight points to pull away for a 34-14 victory.
Crescent is now 2-5 on the season, including 1-4 in district games.
Third-ranked Minco upped its marks to 8-0 and 4-0.
The Tigers hung with Minco early as Hunter Wilmoth’s 76-yard punt return for a touchdown and ensuing two-point pass to Cade Watkins tied the game at 8-8 at 3:17 of the first quarter.
Minco scored again before the end of the first quarter, but Wilmoth struck again with a 13-yard TD run with 9:11 to play in the half.
Tayon Johnson’s extra-point attempt was blocked, but the Tigers were within 15-14.
But it took Minco just 19 seconds to add another touchdown while the Bulldog defense did the rest.
Cavin Russell and Kenny Fouch connected for a touchdown through the air for the second time in the game, this time from 45 yards out for a 21-14 lead.
The Bulldogs got two more touchdown passes from Russell in the second half to put some distance between themselves and the Tigers.
Russell finished with four touchdown passes overall and was 10 of 14 for 238 yards.
Fouch caught seven of those passes for 202 yards.
The Tigers struggled to move the ball consistently against the Bulldogs’ defense.
Watkins threw for 72 yards on 11 of 20 passing.
Crescent’s run game produced just 88 yards and averaged 2.4 per attempt.
The Tigers also struggled to hang on to the ball as they fumbled six times, losing two of them. Crescent had three turnovers in all.
Wilmoth led that charge with 74 yards on 19 carries.
Corbin Burchfield countered with 148 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts for the Bulldogs.
Dominic Descher led Crescent’s defense with 10 total tackles. Gage Tontz added eight.
The Tigers get a two-week break from district play.
They host Putnam Heights this week and travel to Healdton on Nov. 1.
Crescent wraps up the regular season Nov. 8 by hosting Christian Heritage.