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Friday, Jun. 14, 2024

D-VII playoff preview: MCVA at Crestview

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — Saturday will mark the sixth consecutive season for Crestview in the postseason, and the second straight year of opening the playoffs at home.

On the heels of last Friday’s 50-8 win at Paulding that gave Crestview a share of the NWC championship, the No. 2 seed Knights (9-1) will host No. 7 seed Miami Valley Christian Academy (7-2) in the Division VII, Region 28 quarterfinals.

Wade Sheets (3) and the Crestview Knights will host Miami Valley Christian Academy on Saturday. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

After shifting all playoff games to Friday last season, the Ohio High School Athletic Association moved back to a Friday-Saturday format for this postseason, with Divisions I, II, III and VI playing on Friday, and Divisions IV, V and VII playing on Saturday.

“We essentially just bumped things back a day for our practice schedule,” Owens said of the split night format. “I don’t really have a preference – we are just blessed to be in position to still be playing this time of year.”

“The biggest difference is playing our game on a Saturday, which gives us an extra day of prep to work with,” Owens added. “We will treat our routine very similar to the regular season, but there is obviously an extra since of urgency with every game being the last if we don’t win.”

Miami Valley Christian Academy has roughly two dozen players on the roster and on paper, the game may appear to be a mismatch, but Owens isn’t taking the Lions lightly.

“They have an athletic backfield,” Owens said. “They use two very capable running backs, and their quarterback also runs the ball very effectively.”

In just nine games in MCVA’s option offense, Seth Henderson is the team’s leading rusher with 89 carries for 913 yards (10.3 average) and 12 touchdowns. Jon Surman has 80 carries for 880 yards 15 touchdowns, while quarterback Caleb Lusby has rushed for 657 yards and nine touchdowns, and has completed 20 of 58 passes for 397 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Lions average 43 points per game and allow 10 per outing.

“Defensively they are very aggressive and like to bring pressure from a number of areas. It will be a great challenge for our offensive line this week to recognize who is blitzing from where and to make the proper adjustments.”

Joe Lusby has 16.5 sacks on the season, while Henderson has 11.

Just two of MVCA’s opponents had winning records, and the Lions lost both of those games, falling 28-14 to Summit Country Day (5-4) and 43-29 to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (7-2).

On the Crestview side, Drew Kline has completed 80 of 142 passes for 1,274 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while rushing for 961 yards and 15 more scores on 129 carries. Brody Brecht has tallied 735 yards and 12 touchdowns on 98 carries. Wade Sheets leads the Knights in receiving with 31 receptions for 574 yards and seven touchdowns.

As a team, Crestview is averaging 44 points per game while allowing 21 per contest.

While Crestview has enjoyed six straight playoff appearances, MCVA has been to the postseason just twice (2014, 2015), going 0-2 in those games. That fact gives Crestview an advantage in terms of playoff experience.

“I think the experience of knowing what to expect is valuable,” Owens said. “I think our team has a belief in each other and in themselves as individuals, and that confidence comes from having been here before.”

The winner of Saturday’s game will face Minster or DeGraff Riverside next Saturday at a site to be determined.

MCVA head coach Robert Vilardo did not return a request for comment.

Saturday’s Crestview-Miami Valley Christian Academy game will air live on WKSD 99.7FM.

POSTED: 10/31/18 at 1:01 am. FILED UNDER: Sports