MINERVA, Ohio (WKBN) – It wasn’t exactly how the Crestview Rebels had hoped to end their season, but they still had a lot to be proud of in spite of a 33-6 loss to the Central Catholic Crusaders Friday night in a Division V, Region 15 championship game in Minerva. The Rebels close the season with a 10-3 record.
Last year the Rebels also loss to the Crusaders, but by a 45-0 margin. Friday night they were able to compete with them, only trailing 13-6 halftime intermission. The Rebels had limited success in the first half as tailback Zack Hicks had 96 first half rushing yards and a touchdown. But the Crusaders limited Hicks to only 27 total yards in the second half.
“It was just a matter of not executing,” Rebel Coach Paul Cusick said of the second half offensive struggles. “Their defense shut our offense down. I was a little worried about that because their speed on defense. It just caught up to us.”
“They were definitely quick and they fired off of the ball,” Rebels senior lineman Jarred Jones said. “They are all players. That definitely helps.”
The Crusaders were the first to get on the scoreboard when midway through the first quarter the Rebels fumbled the ball at their own 20-yard line. The Crusaders Will Walencewicz recovered the ball at the 17, setting up their offense in excellent position. On the next ply the Crusaders John Colangelo took an end around for a 17-yard touchdown run to give them a 7-0 lead with 5:42 remaining in the first quarter.
The Rebels would try to answer right back as they drove to the Crusaders 16-yard line on their next possession. But that is where the drive would stall and would force them to try a 34-yard field goal. The kick was wide left, leaving the Crusaders in charge at 7-0.
But following a change in possessions that gave the Rebels good field position at the Crusaders 29-yard line, they were able to punch in a touchdown to cut the deficit. Hicks would race 23-yards with 3:59 left before halftime to make it 7-6 as the extra point attempt failed.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, the Crusaders were able to score just before halftime as they drove 61-yards on 8-plays as quarterback Dan Platek hit tight end Luke Stuffel on a 11-yard touchdown pass. That score would come with only 5-seconds remaining before intermission.
Adding to the Rebels slipping momentum was the start of the second half when the Crusaders were able to take their first possession of the half and score again. They would go on another 61-yard drive, using 9-plays with Colangelo scoring on a 7-yard run. That score would come at the 8:22 mark of the third quarter. That touchdown pushed their advantage to 19-6.
“It’s a big one,” Cusick admitted. “Any time you can score on a opening drive in any half it’s big. They have a great program and they just executed better than us.”
The Crusaders would add two more touchdowns as Colangelo would score again at the 0:22 mark of the third quarter on a 8-yard jaunt, and Justin Ditty would add the final points of the night with 2-minuted remaining on a 4-yard run.
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