WAPAKONETA — Ada and Crestview entered Friday’s regional semifinal game sporting two prolific offenses.
But it was the Bulldogs defense that took center stage.
Ada’s defense stuffed, flustered and dominated Crestview’s offense en route to a 35-0 victory at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field in a Division VI regional semifinal game. Ada will play Wayne Trace next Friday at a site to be determined. Wayne Trace (11-1) beat Tinora 40-7 on Friday.
Ada improves to 9-3 while Crestview finishes the season 9-3.
Last week, Crestview’s offense ran for more than 400 yards and scored 48 points on Lima Central Catholic. In Week 5 of the regular season, the Knights rolled over Ada 63-12. This season, Crestview averaged 39.6 points per game and never got shutout.
On Friday, Ada’s defense forced four turnovers — three interceptions and one fumble recovery — and gave up just 151 total yards.
“The defense played their fannies off,” Ada coach Bob Olwin said. “We got up quick with the 14 (points) but the defense was really the story of the game.
“I told people we were a different team than when we played these guys the first time. We came together after that night, and we’ve played really well after that. I’m proud of the kids for bouncing back, believing in the coaching staff and getting to Week 13.”
The Bulldogs’ front seven was an absolute bulldozer Friday, giving up just 7 yards to Crestview standout tailback Malcolm Oliver and swarming quarterback Preston Zaleski the entire evening.
“They were physical, and we weren’t,” Crestview coach Jared Owens said. “Playing football still comes down to blocking and tackling. It was just a matter of them playing more physical.”
Ada went up 14-0 in the first quarter when quarterback Matt Wilcox hit flanker Hunter Waller for two touchdowns, of 4 and 21 yards. Waller kicked all five extra points on the night.
At that point, Crestview seemed to find a bit of a spark with quick handoffs to fullback Jake Lippi, who ran for 52 yards on the night. Following Ada’s second score, the Knights marched down to the red zone twice — once at Ada’s 7-yard line and then to the 8 — but got stuffed on fourth-and-1 running plays both times.
Then, on its final possession of the half, Crestview got the ball at the Ada 34. But on the second play of the drive, Zaleski was picked off by Spencer Archer.
The second half was even more brutal as the Knights got just one first down and only made it past the 50-yard line at the very end of the game.
Ada’s offense took full advantage of its defensive domination, rolling up 220 of its 367 total yards in the second two quarters. Blake Ansley ran for three touchdowns in the second half, on runs of 1, 3 and 3 and finished with 53 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Wilcox had 258 passing yards, completing 21-of-30 passes with two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 56 yards on 17 carries and had two interceptions on defense.
“He’s a good athlete,” Owens said. “He made plays. He can run and scramble, and he did a good job of giving his receivers time to make plays.”
Archer caught five passes for 79 yards for Ada, and Austin Dumbaugh had five catches for 69 yards.
For Crestview, Zaleski passed for 104 yards, hitting Isaiah Simerman for 95 yards on five receptions.