LIMA — Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III sent Crestview a simple message Thursday.
He wished the Knights well and hoped they’d give it their best.
Crestview did exactly that.
Crestview ran over Lima Central Catholic for 407 rushing yards in a 48-35 victory over LCC in the opening round of the Division VI playoffs Friday at Lima Stadium.
Crestview tailback Malcolm Oliver pounded out 208 yards on 30 carries with three TDs. He had TD runs of 15, 10 and 5 yards.
“We had the physical play up front, and it was huge,” Crestview coach Jared Owens said. “It was our five linemen and our tight end doing a great job and Malcolm running down hill.”
It was the Knights’ first playoff win after losing in the first round in their only appearance in 2005.
“It feels good,” Oliver said. “Everyone’s on the field. It’s sweet, making school history.”
Crestview (9-2) advances to the second round to meet Ada at 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be named.
“This is a program builder,” Owens said. “We can’t think about it now because we’re living in the moment.”
Earlier in the week Crestview grad Kory Lichtensteiger, a starting guard for the Redskins, made a tape with his fellow Redskins wishing the Knights well in the playoffs. The Knights watched the tape Thursday night.
“RGIII said good luck to us last night,” Oliver said. “Alfred Morris (the Redskins’ tailback) told us good luck, but when RGIII told us good luck it really pumped us up. It was sweet.”
Oliver found holes, then twisted and bounced off tackles, pulling T-Birds along for more yards. On his 30 carries, 10 went for 9 yards or more. He also got loose for runs of 15, 20, 14, 19 and 33 yards.
“The offensive line came out and did their assignments,” Oliver said. “It was a good night. I thought in the second quarter I knew (the line was taking control).”
Cooper gave credit to the Knights for their running game. But Cooper was also less than pleased with the officiating.
“Give Crestview a lot of credit,” Cooper said. … “It’s embarrassing that the OSHAA officials aren’t more competent and I hope that you print that.”
Cooper cited the time the time his team was called for an illegal formation when it was fourth-and-3 from the Crestview 28 with 7:07 left. LCC was trailing 48-35. The flag pushed the T-Birds back to fourth-and-8 and they failed to make a first down.
“They said there were too many guys in the backfield and called us for an illegal formation. We completed a pass and we had a first down.”
It wasn’t just Oliver, however. Crestview quarterback Preston Zaleski ran for 88 yards on 17 carries with one TD. He also completed 4 of 6 for 108 yards and one TD. Crestview fullback Jake Lippi ran for 64 yards on four carries with one TD.
“It feels great,” Zaleski said. “We got the execution (up front) and we put up the win.”
The game was tied at 14 after the first quarter.
LCC went ahead 28-21 on a 53-yard punt return by Colin Stolly with 5:43 left in the first half. Crestview tied it at 28 on a 10-yard TD run by Oliver.
LCC lost a fumble on its next drive. Crestview took advantage by going 65 yards in nine plays for the score. Crestview took the lead to stay 35-28 on a 2-yard TD run by Zaleski with nine seconds left before halftime.
Oliver’s 5-yard TD pushed the Knights’ lead to 42-28 with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
“I was running with authority. You have to do that sometimes,” Oliver said. “I wanted to get that first playoff win and make school history.”
Kalito Lasenby returned the next kickoff 89 yards for a TD to get LCC within 42-35 with 7:08 to go.
But once again the Knights came right back with a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Fullback Justin Overmyer bulled it over from the 6 and the Knights’ lead became 48-35 with 2:06 left in the third.
For LCC, Stolly completed 10 of 20 for 210 yards. He had two TD passes, a 75-yarder to Mykale Rogers and a 68-yarder to Cameron White. Rogers finished with 35 yards on the ground on seven carries. Lasenby had 23 yards on six carries.