Crestview has been down this road before
GARRETTSVILLE — The sixth-seeded Crestview Rebels fought and battled and were rewarded for their effort as they advance in the OHSAA Division V, Region 17 playoffs with a 23-15 win over the third-seeded Garfield G-Men on Saturday night.
“This is a huge game,” senior running back William Hardenbrook exclaimed. “The last time we were here I was watching my older brother back in 2012. We practiced hard all week and a huge shout-out to the linemen in blocking.”
“It was a very physical game, all game,” senior center Kyle Saunders said. “We had to keep up the intensity because I didn’t think they could keep up with our pace.”
“It was exactly what we expected,” Rebels coach Paul Cusick said. “We knew it was going to be a dog fight for four quarters and that’s what it turned out to be.”
The win propels the Rebels to 6-1 on the season as they move on to play at local rival South Range next Saturday. The two teams were originally scheduled to play in the regular season before COVID adjusted schedules.
The Rebels got behind the eight-ball early in the contest when the G-Men scored on their first possession with a 38-yard touchdown run by Anthony Demma at the 7:04 mark of the first quarter. That gave them an early 7-0 lead.
Demma rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on the night to lead the G-Men, but he was only able to run for 23 of those yards in the second half when the Rebels defense started to clamp down on their top back.
In the second quarter, the Rebels started to find some traction as they put together a 76-yard, 10 play drive down to the G-Men’s 11. Facing a fourth and five, Brandon Yanssens booted a 28-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3 with 8:00 left in the first half.
The Rebels went into the intermission with a lot of momentum as they put together an impressive 95-yard drive, using 11 plays with Yanssens catching a 12-yard pass from quarterback Anthony Cusick with only 43-second remaining in the half. That gave the Rebels a 10-7 lead going into the intermission.
The game was ultimately decided at the beginning of the second half when the Rebels defense forced the G-Men into a quick three and out. The Rebels followed that defensive stand with a 10-yard touchdown run by Ethan Powell with 6:59 left in the third stanza. That gave the Rebels a two-possession advantage at 17-7.
“That was a huge play. We needed that momentum to keep carrying us. We knew we still had two quarters and we were up and we knew they wouldn’t stop fighting and we weren’t going to stop fighting either,” Hardenbrook described the intensity of the game.
“That’s the game right there. When you fall down by a couple of scores, it hard for us to do what we do,” G-Men’s coach Mike Moser said. “Credit goes to them. The plays were there to be made, we just didn’t make them a couple of times.”
They added to their lead at the end of the quarter when William Hardenbrook raced around the left end and rambled down the left sideline 74-yards to go up 23-7. That score came with only 9-second remaining in the third.
“I got the ball and I looked to outside and I saw a huge opening and ran as hard as I could,” Hardenbrook said.
The G-Men did not go away easily as they answered with a touchdown of their own early in the fourth quarter. The G-Men’s Austin Lysiak powered in from 6 yards out to cut the Rebels lead down to just eight following a successful two-point conversion. The score came with 9:43 with the Rebels clinging to a 23-15 lead.
The Rebel defense turned the G-Men away on their next three possession, including one at the Rebels 37 following an unsuccessful fake punt attempt. The closest the G-Men got was the Rebels 29 in the final seven and half minutes of the contest.
“I maybe got a little conservative offensively a little too soon, but we were trying to grind it out. Our defense responded and that’s what you have to do in the playoffs,” Cusick said.
GG — Anthony Demma 38 run (Colin Lysiak kick)
CR — Brandon Yanssens 28 field goal
CR — Yanssens 12 pass from Anthony Cusick (Yanssens kick)
CR — Ethan Powell 10 run (Yanssens kick)
CR — Williaim Hardenbrook 74 run (kick blocked)
GG — Austin Lysiak 6 run (Ryan Stoller pass from Brody Swinonski)
C G First downs 16 14
Total Yards 351 322
Rushes-yards 42-273 41-192
Passing 78 130
Comp-Att-Int 5-14-0 7-27-0
Punts 3-33 5-32.6
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 1-10 7-65
RUSHING–Crestview, William Hardenbrook 20-194, Ethan Powell 20-76; Garfield, Anthony Demma 26-113, Austin Lysiak 8-89.
PASSING–Crestview, Anthony Cusick 5-14-78-1-0; Garfield, Brody Swignoski 7-26-130-0-0.
RECEIVING–Crestview, Brandon Yanssens 2-32, Jack Yerkey 1-22; Garfield, Ryan Stoller 3-58, Anthony Demma 4-47.