SPENCERVILLE – Friday night’s football season opener between Northwest Conference foes, Crestview and Spencerville was typical of the past matchups between these two programs.
Both teams displayed their respective running games Friday night.
By the halftime break, Spencerville and Crestview were knotted at 14-14 at Memorial Field.
However, in the second half, Spencerville’s defense stepped up, while its tenacious running game took over, en route to a 35-14 victory over Crestview.
Friday’s game featured two of the best running backs in the NWC.
In 2019, Crestview’s Brody Brecht led the conference in rushing (1,556 yards, 18 TDs). In the first half Friday night, the 5-foot, 8-inch, 200-pound Brecht punished Spencerville with 80 yards on nine carries. However, Crestview contained Brecht much better in the second half, as he ended the night with 93 yards on 14 carries.
Junior running back Gunner Grigsby, who led Spencerville in rushing last season (1,134 yards, 13 touchdowns), came into Friday’s contest as its biggest threat on the ground. For the game, Grigsby rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.
In the first half, Crestview’s passing game kept the Bearcats’ defense off guard.
Crestview quarterback Jayden Ward was 5 of 8 passing for 70 yards in the first half. However, in the second half, Spencerville made some adjustments and held Ward to just 1 of 8 passing in the second half (92 total passing yards).
“We made just a few adjustments (at halftime),” Spencerville coach Chris Sommers said. “But they (Crestview) are such a good team. I can’t say enough about the respect I have for them. I respect them. I respect the way they play. They have a great coaching staff. They’re going to be a really good team.”
To start the game, Crestview did not take long to make a statement.
On the opening drive, Crestview traveled 52 yards on six plays to hit pay dirt. Brecht carried it in from 10 yards out to get the Knights on the scoreboard. With the point after by Kaden Kreischer, Crestview quickly led 7-0.
With 3:51 left to play in the first quarter, the Bearcats got on the board on a 1-yard run by quarterback Dalty Prichard. Spencerville was set up nicely on that short scoring drive, after a 60-yard kick-off return by Dale Smith (five carries, 104 rushing yards for the game), which put the ball on Crestview’s 10-yard line. With the extra point by Emerson Layman, the game was knotted at 7 apiece.
At the 11:28 mark of the second quarter, Crestview capped off a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard TD run by Logan Gerardot. With the point after by Kreischer, the Knights reclaimed the lead, 14-7.
On the second play of the very next possession for Spencerville, Smith broke loose down the sideline for a 74-yard TD run. With the point after, the Bearcats knotted the contest at 14 each.
In the second half, Spencerville cashed in on its first drive, traveling 80 yards in a little more than three minutes. The Bearcats punched it in on a 6-yard TD run by Grigsby. With the point after, the Bearcats reclaimed the lead at 21-14.
The Spencerville defensive unit stymied a couple Crestview drives.
Then, less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Bearcats extended their lead to 28-14 on a 12-yard TD run by DJ Bowens (nine carries, 83 yards), that capped off a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive for Spencerville.
For the game, Spencerville rushed for 338 yards.
Crestview was held to 138 yards on the ground.
Prichard added another score for the Bearcats. With 2:41 left to play, the senior signal caller rambled in from three yards out to round out the scoring.
“I’m just really proud of our guys, because we knew they were a good team,” Sommers said. “Both teams played really hard.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.