The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022

Preview: Crestview hopes to trump Aces

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY – It’s one up and one down for the Crestview Knights.

After defeating Parkway 35-13 in last Friday’s season opening game, the 1-0 Knights are set to open the home portion of the 2021 schedule against the 0-1 Hicksville Aces.

Crestview built up a 35-0 lead entering the fourth quarter and head coach James Lautzenheiser is hoping to build on the positives from Week No. 1. 

Mason Penix (55), Trevon Barton (51) and the rest of the Crestview defense will try to corral Hicksville’s offense on Friday night. Wyatt Richardson/Van Wert independent

“I think that Dylan Barricklow on defense was an incredible bright spot for us over the past two weeks as a run stopper up the middle,” Lautzenheiser said. “He demands double team attention and our linebackers can see running lanes easier for a faster fill response. We were quite pleased with our kicking game on Friday. Kaden Kreischer had a solid leg on kickoff and Ayden Lichtensteiger pinned them deep consistently in our punt game.” 

“Our focus this week is to continue working toward consistent growth and improvement,” the coach continued. “With school beginning to hit stride, we want to build a positive routine for our players and set them up for success. I don’t think we want to overcomplicate our players with scheme adjustments, but instead, continue to work on improving on what we do well.”

Quarterback JJ Ward completed 7-of-10 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Nick Helt logged 12 carries for 73 yards and a pair of scores. 

Meanwhile, the Aces dropped their season opener 41-16 to Patrick Henry and head coach Lucas Smith said despite the loss, there were several bright spots. 

“We had a lead (8-0) at the end of the first quarter and we had three plays in the first have that could have created three more touchdowns for us, but we didn’t hit on those plays,” Smith said. “We were only down 12 points in the middle of the fourth quarter, but a bad stretch in the second quarter and a bad stretch in the fourth quarter turned the game quickly.”

Hicksville finished with 209 yards of total offense in the game, including 178 on 11-of-23 passing by junior quarterback Aaron Klima. Wide receiver Jackson Bergman, who recently committed to play baseball at the University of Toledo, had nine catches for 124 yards.

“Hicksville is one of the better-coached teams that we’ll face all season, especially in the non-conference portion of our schedule,” Lautzenheiser stated. “Hicksville always gives us challenging schemes on offense and defense and is one of the best teams at making halftime adjustments. Hicksville players want to do well for that staff, and they’ll play hard for their position coaches and head coach on Friday night. We have to be ready for them at the beginning of the game, and as it progresses throughout the night.”  

“Look for them to use multiple formations to run the ball and also pass quickly on the edges. They have some athletes that we have to corral before they get the ball in space. They’re never afraid to onside kick or work on a trick play in order to steal momentum. This is a great game for us to understand how much attention an opponent needs each week.”

Smith was equally complimentary of the Knights and said his team’s focus is on two things.

“The focus for us is always two fold,” Smith noted. “First, we have to fix our mistakes first and make any necessary adjustments to scheme, personnel, etc.  We can’t expect to beat other teams until we fix our own issues.”

“Second we will turn our attention to Crestview. They have good numbers, size, speed, and strength.  I believe all of their starters are juniors and seniors and they seem physical and are always well coached and disciplined.”

Due to COVID-19, the two teams didn’t square off in 2020, but Hicksville won the 2019 game 32-13. Before that, Crestview had won three straight against the Aces.

Friday’s Hicksville at Crestview game will air live on 99.7FM WKSD. 

POSTED: 08/25/21 at 3:55 am. FILED UNDER: Sports