The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021

JJ Ward leads Knights by Parkway 35-13

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

ROCKFORD — Crestview set the tone early by grabbing a two touchdown lead in the first quarter and the Knights cruised to a 35-13 season opening win at Parkway on Friday night.

The victory was the first for new head coach James Lautzenheiser.

“It feels good and I’m glad it’s over, it’s like a short sigh of relief,” Lautzenheiser said. “I’m really happy for our players, I’m happy for our seniors. They had a lot of pressure to go down there and get that trophy back because last year’s seniors didn’t get a chance to even compete against Parkway.”

Senior quarterback JJ Ward tossed three touchdown passes during Crestview’s 35-13 season opening win against non-conference rival Parkway. Wyatt Richardson/Van Wert independent sports

“It’s just really big for our kids and for our community,” Lautzenheiser continued. “The amount of support we had there tonight even with Wren Days going on, it was just a really neat environment out there.”

Nick Helt capped a seven-play, 53-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run and the first of five Kaden Kreischer extra points put Crestview ahead 7-0 with 7:06 left in the first quarter. The Knights struck again with 61 seconds left in the period when JJ Ward tossed a five-yard touchdown pass to Ayden Lichtensteiger.

“Everything in our game plan was about setting the tone and dictating the pace, and I don’t think it could have worked out any better for us in the first half,” Lautzenheiser said.

Ward connected with Hunter Rothgeb for a 28-yard touchdown with 3:12 left in the second quarter and the Knights went into halftime with a 21-0 lead.

A pair of third quarter touchdowns put Crestview on top 35-0. Ward fired his third touchdown pass of the night, a 37-yarder to Rontae Jackson with 9:00 left in the period, then Helt bolted 16 yards for his second score at the 3:46 mark.

Ward completed 7-of-10 passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns, with three of his completions going to Jackson for 61 yards and two going to Lichtensteiger for 22 yards.

“We didn’t come into the game with the focus to throw three touchdowns, we really came into the game to try to establish the run,” Lautzenheiser explained. “We want to pass to set up the run but we thought there were a couple of things we could take advantage of and we also had a couple of big plays out of our receiving corp. Ayden caught a touchdown off a tipped ball and Hunter caught a ball and made a big move to get to the end zone.

Helt led Crestview’s ground game with 12 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns, while Ward tallied 22 yards on seven carries. Isaac Kline chipped in with five carries and 15 yards.

“Nick had a huge night for us and we kind of just took what they gave us,” Lautzenheiser said. “We didn’t try to force it too much and it worked out well.”

Both of Parkway’s touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. Fletcher Smith threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Aiden Anderson and Grant Bollenbacher ran 55 yards for the second score. Zack Hawk added both PATs for the Panthers.

Smith finished the night 14-of-25 for 150 yards, one touchdown and one interception, with two completions going to Anderson for 77 yards as well as three completions to Eddie Nichols for 45 yards. Bollenbacher led the Panther ground game with four carries for 74 yards.

Boosted by the two long fourth quarter touchdowns, Parkway outgained Crestview in total offense 310-286, but the Panthers also had three turnovers, while the Knights had none.

“Our defense played incredibly sound ball,” Lautzenheiser stated.

Parkway (0-1) will travel to Spencerville on Friday while Crestview (1-0) will host Hicksville the same night.

Scoring summary

First quarter

CV – Nick Helt 2-yard run (Kaden Kreischer kick)
CV – JJ Ward 15-yard pass to Ayden Lichtensteiger (Kreischer kick)

Second quarter

CV – Ward 28-yard pass to Hunter Rothgeb (Kreischer kick)

Third quarter

CV – Ward 37-yard pass to Rontae Jackson (Kreischer kick)
CV – Nick Helt 16-yard run (Kreischer kick)

Fourth quarter

PW – Fletcher Smith 69-yard pass to Aiden Anderson (Zack Hawk kick)
PW – Grant Bollenbacher 55-yard run (Hawk kick)

POSTED: 08/21/21 at 1:02 am. FILED UNDER: Sports