CONVOY – The field quickly turned into a muddy mess.
Crestview had the answer though. The Knights would mothball the pass and turn to the read-option play.
Crestview quarterback Drew Kline mastered the read option in the second half to lead the Knights to a 36-22 football victory over Allen East on Friday at Crestview.
Crestview outscored Allen East 16-0 in the second half to notch the come-from-behind win.
“In these kind of conditions, sometimes you have to do what you’re good at it and what you can do at that point,” Crestview coach Jared Owens said. “We felt we had some things we could have some success with, and that’s what we decided to go with at halftime. We came out and executed it pretty well.’’
Crestview stands 7-1, 4-1 in the Northwest Conference. The Knights are tied for first in the NWC with Columbus Grove (4-1) and Spencerville (4-1).
Allen East is 4-4, 3-2 in the NWC.
Kline paced the Knights’ offense with 25 carries for 206 yards and two TDs. He had touchdown runs of 35 and 61 yards.
“We established the run right away in the second half, and it was fun,” Kline said. “The line got after it, and we got nasty with it.’’
Knights’ power back Brody Brecht rumbled downfield for 15 carries for 100 yards. He had a 35-yard TD.
Tyler Clum triggered the Allen East spread through the rain and the mud. He completed 10 of 32 for 108 yards. He threw one TD and had three interceptions.
Mustangs wide receiver Cole Fletcher had four receptions for 122 yards and two TDs. He had TD catches of 64 and 17 yards.
“They (the Mustangs) played their guts out,” Owens said.
The Crestview night was dedicated to Knights freshman Noah Riggenbach, who suffered a head injury in a junior varsity game last Saturday. Riggenbach is recovering after undergoing brain surgery in Columbus this week.
The Knights ran Riggenbach’s No. 54 jersey onto the field in the pre-game introductions.
“Honesty, until he started to show steps in the right direction after surgery, for me, I had a hard time focusing on anything Allen East,” Owens said. “There was a lot of heart-felt prayer, and I’m carrying his jersey right now. We dedicated this one to him.’’
Allen East led 12-6 after the first quarter and 22-20 at the half.
But with the driving rain and muddy field, Crestview turned Kline and his read-option game in the second half.
On the Knights’ first play after halftime, Kline got loose on the read-option keeper for a 61-yard TD.
“We work on that read-option play every day in practice,” Kline said. “That’s our bread and butter, and it’s fun when it’s working.’’
With the two-point conversion, Crestview took the lead to stay 28-22 with 10:23 left in the third.
After the Crestview defense held Allen East in check on its next drive, it was back to the Crestview running game.
Crestview pounded out a 14-play, 80-yard drive and it was all on the ground. It was Kline and Brecht carrying the load down the field.
Caylib Pruett took it over on a toss sweep to the left side for a 10-yard TD. That pushed the Crestview lead to 36-22 with 11:52 to go.
“It was wet and tough to throw the ball, and they were doing a pretty good job on the pass,’’ Kline said of the running game. “We established the run, and it worked pretty well in the second half.’’
The Crestview defense, along with the field conditions, halted the Allen East passing game the rest of the way.
The first time Allen East touched the ball, the Mustangs ripped a trick play out of the bag. Quarterback Clum threw the ball back for a lateral to wide receiver Bryce Belcher.
Belcher fired the ball down the field to a wide-open Fletcher for a 64-yard TD. That gave the Mustangs a quick 7-0 lead with 8:43 left in the first quarter.
Crestview tied the game at 6 with a four-play, 56-yard drive. Kline kept it around the right side on a read-option play for a 35-yard TD to make it 6-6 with 6:47 left in the first.
Allen East’s spread attack went back to work with a nine-play, 52-yard drive.
On fourth-and-2 from the Crestview 17, Clum hit a leaping Fletcher in the left corner of the end zone for a 17-yard TD. That gave the Mustangs a 12-6 lead with 2:39 left in the first quarter.
Allen East pushed its lead to 15-6 on a 19-yard field goal by Bradden Crumrine.
The Knights’ 200-pound Brecht ran off right tackle for a 35-yard TD to bring Crestview within 15-14 with 8:25 left in the first half.
Then Crumrine took the kickoff for the Mustangs and brought all the way back for an 85-yard TD.
That gave Allen East a 22-15 lead with 8:08 before halftime.
Crestview cut the Mustangs’ lead to 22-20 with a 6-yard TD pass from a scrambling Kline to Landin Burch with only 12 seconds left before the half.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.