Rebels off and running

NEWTON FALLS — Crestview rose to the challenge from host Newton Falls during the second half and pulled away for a 48-20 victory in the regular-season finale.

The Rebels improved to 5-4 and could make another strong postseason run after reaching a Division V regional semifinal last season.

Crestview, which pretty much assured itself a Region 21 playoff berth last week when it defeated Champion 44-38 in overtime last week, had a big offensive night against the Tigers.

Quarterback Anthony Cusick threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns on 20-for-25 passing, spreading the wealth out nearly equally between receivers Dominic Yerkey (6 receptions, 74 yards), Kirkland Miller (5-64) and Zander Witherow (5-74), as well as running back Roclen Bettura (3-57).

Yerkey, Witherow and Bettura all caught touchdown passes and Bettura finished with four touchdowns, including three on the ground as he cruised for 151 yards on 14 handoffs.

“We’re pretty happy with that production, but there was a couple of times that we didn’t put points on the board when we failed to finish drives into the red zone,” said Crestview coach Paul Cusick, the quarterback’s father. “We had a few turnovers and got stopped on downs at the 1-yard line and those are things we’ve got to clean up.

“We have just eight seniors and they have to lead us, especially in the postseason, because we’re pretty young overall and we’re not the same team we were last year that made the playoff run. But we strive to play in Week 11 every season and we’re doing it again. So the young guys will get a taste of it this year.”

Crestview was not forced to punt the ball against Newton Falls, but still managed to have terrific field position the entire first half.

“We went up 14-0, but (Newton Falls) came right back and tied it up,” coach Cusick said. “They’re very gritty and we knew they wouldn’t give up. They needed a win to get into the playoffs and they really battled. We were in a tight game until late in the third quarter there.”

The Rebels led 28-17 at halftime and shored up some things defensively at halftime to limit Newton Falls’ big passing plays.

The Tigers drove to the Crestview 8-yard line trying to make it a one-score game, but the Rebels stiffened. Then on fourth-and-1, Newton Falls drew a motion penalty and was forced to attempt a field goal. The kick was wide left.

Inspired, the Rebels drove 80 yards in five plays with Bettura capping the march with a 5-yard run to make the score 35-17.

Crestview dominated from there.

“That was a huge turnaround; you could just feel it,” said Newton Falls coach Greg Lazzari, whose troops finished 3-7. “We played pretty well for three quarters and that big shift in momentum at the end of the third quarter was just a gut punch. Who knows, if we punch it in there without that penalty, what may have happened?”

Crestview will be back in action next Saturday at an opponent to be determined.

CRESTVIEW: 14-14-7-13–48

N. FALLS: 7-10- 0- 3–20


First quarter

C–Dominic Yerkey 30 pass from Anthony Cusick (Joey Carr kick), 5:07;

C-Roclen Bettura 36 run (Carr kick), 3:05;

NF-Camryn Brainard 29 run (Jacob Sipka kick), 0:00.

Second quarter

NF-Nick Rapczak 48 pass from Alex Pennington (Sipka kick), 11:35;

C-Bettura 3 run (kick failed), 10:55;

C -Zander Witherow 20 pass from Cusick (Yerkey pass from Cusick), 5:13;

NF-Sipka 27 FG,0:06.

Third quarter

C-Bettura 5 run (Carr kick), 0:28;

Fourth quarter

NF-Sipka 33 FG, 10:51;

C-Bettura 20 pass from Cusick (Carr kick), 9:02;

C-Spencer Cline 4 run (run failed), 0:46.



First downs 22 17

Total Yards 465 324

Rushes-yards 26-195 35-149

Passing 270 175

Comp-Att-Int 27-20-1 10-25-2

Punts 0-0 5-25

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0

Penalties-Yards 8-74 4-45



RUSHING–Crestview, Anthony Cusick 6-18, Roclen Bettura 14-151, Spencer Cline 5-23; Newton Falls, Camryn Brainard 11-73.

PASSING–Crestview, Anthony Cusick 20-27-270-1; Newton Falls, Alex Pennington 10-25-175-2.

RECEIVING–Crestview, Dominic Yerkey 6-74, Bettura 3-57, Zander Witherow 5-74, Kirkland Miller 5-64.

INTERCEPTIONS–Crestview, Bettura, Daniel Fitzgerald.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.50/week.

Subscribe Today