The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021

Crestview holds off Wayne Trace 22-15

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

HAVILAND – JJ Ward ran for two touchdowns, Rontae Jackson had a key kickoff return for a touchdown and the defense came with a big stop late in the game to help Crestview to a 22-15 win over non-conference rival Wayne Trace on Friday.

The victory improved Crestview’s record to 3-0 while the Raiders dropped to 0-3.

Rontae Jackson (20) had a key kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter of Friday’s game against Wayne Trace. Wyatt Richardson/file photo

A 27-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Wenzlick to Race Price capped gave Wayne Trace an 8-7 lead with 7:51 left in the third quarter but Jackson returned the ensuing Raider kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown. Ward then completed a two-point conversion pass to Nick Helt, putting Crestview ahead 15-8.

“We put the hands team out there thinking we’d secure possession and maybe get good starting field position but the guys quickly got into block mode,” Crestview head coach James Lautzenheiser said. “JJ Ward and Ayden Lichtensteiger had great blocks and Rontae just kept running. I wanted to go for two right there because I thought it was going to be important and it turned out to pretty important in the long run.”

“If we don’t give up a score on special teams it’s a tie game, so all three phases of the game are certainly important,” Wayne Trace head coach Matt Holden said.

Wenzlick tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, a four-yarder to Tucker Antoine and Nate Osborn kicked the extra point to tie the game 15-15 with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter.

Once again, the Knights answered the bell and capped an 11-play, 77-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run and Kaden Kreischer’s PAT put the Knights ahead 22-15 with 6:19 left in the game.

“Give Crestview credit for playing tough all night,” Holden said. “We didn’t give them anything and made them earn everything they got tonight.”

The Raiders put together a drive but Crestview freshman Wren Sheets had a big sack and the Raiders eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Knight 10-yard yard line and from there, the Raiders were able to run out the clock.

Wenzlick finished the game 24-of-39 for 200 yards and two touchdowns and his favorite receiver was Antoine, who had 12 receptions for 74 yards. Dylan Hildebrand had four receptions for 49 yards. Jared Pierce was Wayne Trace’s leading rusher in the game with 12 carries for 29 yards while Wenzlick had eight carries for 27 yards.

“It was a great game,” Holden said. “We were much improved offensively and did a great job of taking what the defense gave us, but we just couldn’t convert all of our possessions into scores. I’m very proud of proud of my kids tonight and the improvement each week is evident.”

Crestview opened the scoring by capping a 13-play, 88-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Ward, giving the Knights a 7-0 lead with 2:57 left in the first quarter, but a holding penalty on Crestview in the end zone resulted in a safety and a 7-2 score with 18 seconds left in the period.

Both teams went scoreless in the second quarter and the Knights endured three first half turnovers, two on offense and one on special teams.

Ward completed 9-of-16 passes for 75 yards and two interceptions and had nine carries for 67 yards and the two touchdowns.

Turnovers just can’t be part of our DNA and we have to work to avoid those,” Lautzenheiser said.

Lichtensteiger caught four passes for 44 yards, while Helt had 15 carries for 49 yards and Isaac Kline finished with eight carries for 43 yards. As a team, the Knights finished with 182 yards on the ground.

Both teams will begin conference play next week. The Raiders will host GMC foe Hicksville while the Knights will travel to Allen East.

“We’ll get to work on putting together a winning performance for next week,” Holden said.

“It’s going to take incredible focus again,” Lautzenheiser said. “Allen East is a team that has some weapons and we consider them one of the top dogs in the conference.”

Scoring summary

First quarter

CV – JJ Ward 3-yard run (Kaden Kreischer kick)
WT – Safety

Third quarter

WT – Cooper Wenzlick 27-yard pass to Race Price (PAT failed)
CV – Rontae Jackson 83-yard kickoff return (Ward pass to Nick Helt)

Fourth quarter

WT – Cooper Wenzlick 4-yard pass to Tucker Antoine (Nate Osborn kick)
CV – JJ Ward 2-yard run (Kaden Kreischer kick)

POSTED: 09/03/21 at 11:35 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports