SPENCERVILLE – Sometimes, it just takes one play. And sometimes, there are many plays that can swing the momentum of a football game.
Early in Friday’s huge Northwest Conference showdown against visiting Crestview, Spencerville seemed to be in control.
Crestview battled back and pulled out to as much as a 26-point lead over the Bearcats. Spencerville came roaring back and eventually took the lead late in the game.
However, Crestview was able to make that last big play, as it pulled off a dramatic 50-49 victory over Spencerville on a last-second touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Kline to Griffen Painter on Spencerville’s Homecoming at Memorial Field.
With the win, Crestview moves to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the NWC. Spencerville slips to 4-2 and 2-1 in conference play. Spencerville came into Friday’s game tied for first with Columbus Grove in the NWC.
Columbus Grove defeated Ada on Friday night to claim sole ownership of first place in the NWC standings through Week 6.
Crestview was coming off a loss to Columbus Grove last week.
“I’m exhausted,” Crestview coach Jared Owens said. “We were to the point of exhaustion. We had guys cramping. We had guys getting carted off. We just dug in and found ways to make plays and find a way to win.”
Spencerville struck first.
Junior running back Joel Lotz went off left tackle for an 18-yard run to the end zone.
After a three-and-out by Crestview on the ensuing possession, Spencerville got the football back at Crestview’s 28-yard line.
Quarterback Dalty Prichard found Lotz open in the secondary for a quick 28-yard scoring strike. With the two-point conversion, Spencerville led 14-0 with less than two minutes to play in the opening quarter.
Right before the end of the first quarter, Kline scrambled well behind the line of scrimmage after a high snap from center and eventually found Kaden Short open for a 15-yard TD pass. The extra point was blocked, and Spencerville’s lead was cut to 14-6.
That play gave Crestview new life.
Early in the second quarter, Crestview took full advantage of great field position by driving 31 yards in four plays, capping it off with a 9-yard TD pass to Wade Sheets. With the two-point conversion, the game was knotted at 14 apiece.
Special teams then took center stage. Sheets fielded a punt on his own 21-yard line and ran it back to the house for the score. With the two-point conversion, Crestview claimed its first lead, 22-14, at the 7:12 mark of the second quarter.
The Knights were not done. Crestview mounted an 8-play, 78-yard scoring drive, capped off with a 14-yard TD run by Brody Brecht to extend its lead to 30-14 with 1:36 left in the half.
After a stellar goal-line stand in the waning moments of the first half by Crestview, the Knights took the 16-point lead into the locker room.
On the opening drive of the second half, Spencerville was marching down the field. Then it happened.
On a first-and-goal play at the 6, Prichard was intercepted by Sheets at the goal line. Sheets ran it back 100 yards for the score, pushing the lead to 36-10.
With 9:41 left to play in the third quarter, Lotz ran it in from 14 yards out, cutting the deficit to 36-22.
Now the momentum was back in Spencerville’s favor. With 4:48 left in the third quarter, Cannan Johnson ran it in from 35 yards out to cut the deficit to 36-29.
The Bearcats’ defense stepped up. With Crestview backed up on its 7-yard line, Lotz came away with an interception at Crestview’s 24-yard line.
Three plays later, Kale Lee ran it in from 9 yards out, and with the point after, the game was knotted at 36 apiece. Lee led all rushers with 212 yards.
Early in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, Spencerville regained the lead, 43-36, with a 30-yard TD run by Lotz.
Then, with 4:44 left to play, Kline punched it in from 1-yard out, putting his team within one, 43-42.
And like all night long, Crestview went for the two-point conversion. Kline rolled out and found Landin Burch in the end zone, giving the Knights a 44-43 lead.
The Bearcats drove it down the field, and Johnson eventually ran it in from three yards out to give Spencerville a 49-44 lead.
The Knights took the ball over with less than two minutes to play in the game. With the clock running down, Kline found Painter open for the game-winning TD.
After last week’s tough loss to Columbus Grove, Owens’ advice was simple to his team.
“We just told them to do whatever it takes,” he said.