CONVOY - The Crestview and Jefferson football teams squared off in a cross-county Northwest Conference game at Crestview Friday night, in a back-and-forth which eventually saw Jefferson take the lead for good and hold on for a 32-27 win.
Though the Wildcats committed their fair share of mistakes on the night, coach Bub Lindeman was happy to come away with a win.
“All in all, (we) got the win and that’s what it’s all about. We’ll move on; we’ll enjoy this and get back to work on Monday,” he observed.
The loss was a tough one to take for Crestview, who dropped its third conference game in three tries.
“I thought we played hard but we’ve never been able to question that all year long. No question, Jefferson is a good team; they’ve got some nice players,” said Crestview coach Jared Owens.
Jefferson got the ball to open the game but was forced to punt after a 3-and-out.
Crestview took over at the Jefferson 34 and struck quickly when sophomore quarterback Preston Zaleski took the ball 34 yards for a touchdown run on the Knights’ first play from scrimmage. A Kameron Grubaugh PAT gave Crestview an early 7-0 lead with 9:44 to play in the first.
“Coming out, I really don’t think our kids were ready to play this football game. Credit Crestview’s kids; they came out, played hard and put us behind the 8-ball right away,” explained Lindeman.
Jefferson answered by taking the ball at its own 25 and driving the field, mainly behind the arm of junior quarterback Austin Jettinghoff. He completed four passes to move the Jeffcats to the Crestview 6. On the seventh play of the drive, junior tailback Zavier Buzard took the ball in six yards for a would-be touchdown but the play was negated by a hold.
The hold was especially costly because three plays later, Jettinghoff was intercepted by sophomore defensive back Isaiah Simerman at the 2; Simerman returned the ball to the 34 but Crestview promptly returned the ball to Jefferson on a fumble by sophomore running back Malcolm Oliver.
The teams continued to trade turnovers on the following possession, when Jettinghoff was intercepted by senior defensive back Venice Roberts - again at the Crestview 2. This time, Roberts was tackled there and gave the Knights a first-and-10 deep in their own territory.
Crestview then put together a methodical 18-play, 83-yard drive to the Wildcats’ 16. Unfortunately for them, the drive ended in a turnover-on-downs for the Knights early in the second quarter.
After a few empty possessions for both teams, Jefferson struck late in the second. After taking over at the Crestview 40, the Wildcats got a 16-yard carry from Jettinghoff to get things going. On the next play, Jettinghoff connected with Buzard for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 4:22 to play in the first half. Jettinghoff added a PAT to tied the game at seven.
Crestview put another promising drive together on the ensuing possession but Zaleski was intercepted by junior linebacker Ross Thompson when a receiver slipped, intercepting the ball deep in Wildcat territory and taking it all the way to the 26 of Crestview. Two plays later, senior fullback Quinten Wessell carried the ball in from 13 yards out to give Jefferson its first lead of the game. Jettinghoff’s PAT was good to make the score 14-7 with 1:40 to play in the half.
After Oliver returned the ensuing kickoff to the Jefferson 46, Zaleski hooked up with Roberts for three consecutive passes to put Crestview at the Wildcat 6 with just over a minute to play in the half. Oliver then carried in a 6-yard touchdown on a sweep to the left with 59 seconds left in the quarter. Grubaugh added the PAT to tie the game.
The first play of Jefferson’s possession, Jettinghoff was intercepted again, this time by senior defensive back Justin Lare to return the ball to the Knights. Passes to Oliver and Roberts set Crestview up with the ball at the 31 with 1.3 seconds to play. Crestview elected to try a 48-yard Grubaugh field goal, which fell just short to send the game to the half tied at 14.
The teams played to a scoreless third quarter, with missed opportunities on both sides.
“In the third quarter, we got a couple of first downs but couldn’t put a drive together,” explained Owens.
The Jeffcats did put a drive together, which started in the third and continued into the fourth. The 8-play, 62-yarder featured seven Buzard carries, the final one being a 9-yard touchdown run with 11:13 to play in the fourth. A blocked PAT gave Jefferson a 20-14 lead.
The Knights then went 3-and-out before the Wildcat offense went back to work. Jefferson took over at its own 42 and three plays later, Jettinghoff connected with Thompson for a 37-yard touchdown pass. A failed 2-point conversion made the score 26-14 with 9:13 to play.
After the teams traded possessions, Crestview retained the ball with 5:55 to play in the game and opted to go with a no-huddle offense. The move paid off and Zaleski found Oliver on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 5:09 to play. The Grubaugh PAT made the score 26-21.
The Wildcats attempted to run some clock on the ensuing drive but Buzard broke free for a 44-yard touchdown run with 3:18 to play. Jettinghoff missed the PAT to make the score 32-21, Jefferson, with 3:18 to play in the game.
Crestview would not go away, however, and drove the field again on its next drive. They went 49 yards on seven plays in 53 seconds. They got a touchdown when Zaleski hooked up with Roberts for a 17-yard touchdown pass. The Knights failed to convert on a 2-point conversion to keep the score at 32-27 with 2:22 to play.
The Knights attempted the onside kick, which went out-of-bounds at the Crestview 49. The Knights had three timeouts but an 8-yard Jettinghoff pass to Wessell and an 8-yard Buzard run sealed the win for Jefferson.
“It was back-and-forth for a while as we went no-huddle and they had trouble stopping it. It came down to who was going to make the last big play and we just couldn’t get a stop there when we needed it,” Owens added. “We came back and scored, tried the onside kick and it wasn’t successful. Then you get into a trying to strip the ball scenario. (Jefferson) is a good team; they know the situation and they were able to grind it out.”
Lindeman wasn’t happy with the overall execution of his team but was glad to see them get big plays when they were needed: “We were happy with the big plays. We put the defense on its heels a couple of times. The kids kept grinding away, kept making plays. That was an indication of our hard work.”
The Knights fall to 3-3 on the season with the loss, 1-3 in the NWC. They had 339 yards of total offense, 220 through the air. Zaleski completed 21-of-37 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also had 62 yards on the ground on 12 carries with a touchdown.
Jefferson improves to 5-1 on the season, 3-1 in NWC play. They had 373 yards, 222 on the ground. Buzard carried 24 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Jefferson hosts Columbus Grove Friday; Crestview visits Ada.
Jefferson 32, Crestview 27
Jefferson 0 14 0 18 - 32
Crestview 7 7 0 13 - 27
Team Qtr Time Scoring play Del Cre
Crestview 1 9:44 #10 Zaleski, Preston 34 yd run (#18 Grubaugh, Kameron kick) 0 7
Jefferson 2 4:22 #5 Jettinghoff, Austin 27 yd pass to #7 Buzard, Zavier (#5 Jettinghoff, Austin kick) 7 7
Jefferson 2 1:40 #32 Wessell, Quinten 13 yd run (#5 Jettinghoff, Austin kick) 14 7
Crestview 2 0:59 #3 Oliver, Malcom 6 yd run (#18 Grubaugh, Kameron kick) 14 14
Jefferson 4 11:13 #7 Buzard, Zavier 10 yd run 20 14
Jefferson 4 9:13 #5 Jettinghoff, Austin 37 yd pass to #2 Thompson, Ross 26 14
Crestview 4 5:09 #10 Zaleski, Preston 20 yd pass to #3 Oliver, Malcom (#18 Grubaugh, Kameron kick) 26 21
Jefferson 4 3:18 #7 Buzard, Zavier 44 yd run 32 21
Crestview 4 2:28 #10 Zaleski, Preston 16 yd pass to #5 Roberts, Venice 32 27
First downs 18 21
Rushing yardage 222 119
Pass comps.-atts. 7-15 21-37
Passing yardage 151 220
Pass TDs-int. 2-3 2-1
Total plays 56 67
Total offense 373 339
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 5-45 3-40
Punts-average 3-47.3 5-27.8
Rushing: Buzard 24-126-2, Wessell 14-97-1, Jettinghoff 3-1-0. Total: 41-222-3.
Passing: Jettinghoff 7-15-151-2-3.
Receiving: Thompson 3-58-1, Buzard 2-63-1, Kortokrax 1-23-0, Wessell 1-7-0.
Rushing: Zaleski 12-62-1, Oliver 12-39-1, Harmon 5-14-0, Burdette 1-4-0. Total: 30-119-2.
Passing: Zaleski 21-37-220-2-1.
Receiving: Roberts 12-130-1, Oliver 4-45-1, Simerman 2-24-0, Lare 2-15-0, Lippi 1-6-0.