LIMA — Crestview is known as a high octane offensive team but it was their defense that stood out Saturday night at Spartan Stadium in Division VII Region 26 action.
The Knights held Arlington to 18 yards rushing as they raced to a 28-7 win that puts them into the regional finals against McComb, which advanced with a 42-0 shut-out of Hicksville.
The Red Devils, on the other hand, came into the contest allowing only 117 rushing yards per game before the Knights, who improve to 9-3 with the win, shredded them for 389 yards on the ground.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Kline paced the Crestview attack with three touchdowns on runs of 36, 53, and 6 yards. Kline finished with 164 yards on the ground on 14 carries. Senior running back Luke Gerardot added 147 yards on the ground for Crestview and scored on a big 87-yard burst in the second quarter that gave the Knights the lead for good at 14-7.
Kline completed 4-of-9 pass attempts in the game for 68 yards and that was enough to keep the Arlington defense honest in their coverage schemes.
The Red Devils rushing attack was completely stymied by the Crestview defensive line that was keyed by Emilio DeLeon, Joel Germann, and Dylan Hicks.
Forced to go to their passing game; Arlington (10-2) quarterback Matt Crawford was able to connect on 12-of-29 for 207 yards but was intercepted twice by the Crestview defense. Crawford’s favorite target was junior Caleb Price who caught six passes good for 148 yards.
Kline started the scoring with his 36 yard run and the Knights looked to be in control when the sophomore signal caller made his only mistake of the evening. An errant pass was picked off by Crawford and returned 42-yards for a score on the final play of the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
But Gerardot went 87-yards on the first play of the second period to put the Knights back up by a score of 14-7.
Kline would go on to add touchdown runs in both the third and fourth quarters while the Knights defense continued to hold the Arlington offense in check.
Crawford was harassed all evening and was sacked five times for minus 28 yards in the game.
“I’m happy for the kids but the coach in me sees that we have things to clean up.” Crestview coach Jared Owns said. “We need to correct turnovers and penalties.”
The Knights lost two fumbles besides the one interception and committed five penalties for 50 yards in the game.
“We tried to establish the line of scrimmage and if our backs get a crease they can make some plays.” Owens said. “We responded to adversity and played really well on defense. McComb is big and physical besides being well-coached. We will sleep on this one and then begin to prepare for them.”
Crestview and McComb will play at 7 p.m. Saturday at a site to be announced today by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.