The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022

Friday Flashback: Cougars, Knights meet

Note: This week’s Friday Flashback goes back four years to August of 2017, when the Van Wert Cougars and the Crestview Knights got in one final tune up before the start of the regular season. Below is the story as it appeared on the VW independent Sports page.

Van Wert independent sports

In the final tune-up before the 2017 regular season, the Crestview Knights and the Van Wert Cougars put on quite a show Friday night at Eggerss Stadium.

In two quarters of play during the fourth annual Ohio High School Athletic Association Jamboree game, Van Wert’s varsity starters outscored their county counterparts 27-21. The second half was largely comprised of junior varsity and freshman players, and the Cougars went on to win 41-21.

The two teams exchanged fumbles to start the game, then Crestview quarterback Drew Kline capped off a nine-play, 74-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Wade Sheets. The extra point by Dylan Hicks made it 7-0.

The Cougars responded with a seven-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Nate Place to Jacoby Kelly. A key play on the drive was a dump off pass from Place to Kelly, which went for 29 yards. Jake Lautzenheiser’s extra point tied the game at seven.

Van Wert’s defense then forced the Knights into a three-and-out, and Jacoby Kelly fielded Crestview’s punt at the 15, cut to the home sideline and sprinted for a special teams touchdown. Lautzenheiser’s PAT made it 14-7.

Van Wert’s Parker Conrad closes in, while Crestview’s Drew Kline hands off to Trevor Gibson.VW independent photo

The Knights answered with a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a game-tying 42-yard touchdown pass from Kline to Sheets. The drive also featured a 21-yard strike from Kline to Grant Schlagbaum.

Undeterred, the Cougars opened the second quarter with an eight-play, 68-yard drive and a 12-yard scoring run by Place. Six of the eight plays were on the ground, including three carries for 20 yards by James Acquaviva, and a 28-yard run by Place.

Highlighted by runs of eight and 20 yards by Kline, Crestview tied the game at 21, on an 11-yard touchdown run by Trevor Gibson.

After trading punts, Van Wert drove 86 yards and scored on a one-yard dive by Jake Hilleary. Key plays on the drive were back-to-back passes of 33 and 21 yards from Place to Kelly. The PAT was no good, and the Cougars led 27-21 going into halftime.

During the first half, Kline threw for 125 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 55 more. Gibson rushed for 33 yards and a score and Sheets caught five passes for 94 yards.

Place rushed for 50 yards and completed 5 passes, all to Kelly for 130 yards.

Starters for both teams sat out most of the second half, although Acquavia scored in the third quarter, and the Cougars tacked on one more score for the final margin.

“We need to be better with penalties and not giving up big plays,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “I was pleased with our effort and attitude, and look forward to getting into Bryan week.”

The Cougars and Golden Bears will kick off in Bryan at 7 p.m. Friday night. The game will air live on WERT 1220 AM and 104.3 FM, and will stream live at

“We found improvement in some areas that we stress throughout the week,” Crestview head coach Jared Owens said. “Also, we have things that we need to shore up heading into week one.”

The Knights will open the regular season Friday night at Parkway. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

POSTED: 08/13/21 at 3:47 am. FILED UNDER: Sports