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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — Charles Stefanek returned two kickoffs for touchdowns to help the Crestview Knights defeat the Delphos Jefferson Wildcats 49-21 on Friday.

The win officially clinched a home playoff game for Crestview (8-1, 5-1 Northwest Conference), and it kept the Knights alive in the chase for a share of the NWC championship.

Jefferson dropped to 6-3 (4-2 NWC), and the loss eliminated the Wildcats from the conference title race, and most likely a playoff spot.

While Stefanek’s returns were important factors, there were other big plays in the game.

Crestview and Delphos Jefferson face off on the line. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

With a 35-28 lead early in the fourth quarter, Crestview’s defense squelched what appeared to be a promising Wildcat drive with a critical stop on fourth and two at the 35.

On the ensuing play, quarterback Drew Kline took the snap, faked a pass then sprinted 65 yards for a score that put the Knights up 42-28.

“Huge swing,” Crestview head coach Jared Owens said. “That allowed us to get some momentum and gave our guys some energy. I thought their guys showed some tired legs at that point.”

The Wildcats’ next drive ended with a sack on third down, then a botched punt that gave the Knights the ball at the two yard line. Trevor Gibson scored on the following play to clinch the victory.

The game resembled a track meet in the first half. The Wildcats took the opening kickoff and ran 11 plays before scoring on a one yard touchdown run by Brenen Auer. Troy Dudgeon added the first of four extra points for a 7-0 lead with 7:22 left in the first quarter.

The Knights moved the ball on their first possession, but the drive ended with a fumble at the Jefferson nine yard line. The Crestview defense forced a quick punt, then the Knights took just two plays to score. Kline found Wade Sheets for a 40 yard gain, then Gibson scored on a two yard run. Dylan Hicks kicked one of his five extra points to tie the game with 2:22 showing on the clock.

Grant Schlagbaum tries to break a tackle after a catch. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

The two teams combined for five touchdowns in the second quarter.

The Wildcats went 79 yards in 12 plays and scored on a two yard run by Tanner Mathewson to give Jefferson a 14-7.

Charles Stefanek returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, but the PAT was no good.

Jefferson had to punt on the next drive, and the Knights put together a nine play drive that ended with an interception. After another Wildcat punt, Kline connected with Sheets again, this time for a 72-yard score. The Knights went for two and got it when Stefanek took a pitch from Kline, then fired a pass to Sheets in the end zone to give Crestview a 21-14 lead with 3:14 left in the quarter. Sheets finished the game with three catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Keyed by a 49-yard run by Mathewson, the Wildcats capped a quick drive with an 11-yard touchdown run by Auer to tie the game at 21 with 1:26 remaining before halftime.

Stefanek gave the Knights the lead for good when he grabbed Jefferson’s kickoff at the 12 and raced 88 yards for his second touchdown of the game.


POSTED: 10/21/17 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Brett Schwieterman threw six touchdown passes and led the Celina Bulldogs to a 63-21 Western Buckeye League victory over Van Wert on Friday.

The loss dropped the Cougars to 4-5 (3-5 WBL) and ended Van Wert’s slim playoff hopes. Celina improved to 6-3 (6-2 WBL).

Tanner Barnhart returns a kickoff for Van Wert. Jerry Mason for the Van Wert independent

Schwieterman’s touchdowns passes spanned 43, 37, 90, 12, 61 and 20 yards. He finished the game 13 of 15 for 340 yards, and he rushed 18 times for 141 yards.

Celina put the game away early by racing to a 28-7 first quarter lead. The Bulldogs found paydirt 90 seconds into the first quarter, when Schweiterman hit Dillon Hoying for a 43 yard touchdown, then the senior quarterback connected with Kole Murlin for a 37 yard touchdown with 8:05 left in the quarter.

Kyle Zizleman ran 16 yards for a touchdown with 5:59 left, then Schwieterman threw his third touchdown pass of the quarter, a 90 yarder to Hoying with 2:40 showing on the first quarter clock.

The Cougars answered with a 72-yard touchdown pass from Jake Hilleary to Jacoby Kelly with 2:22 left in the quarter. Hilleary got the start, because Nate Place was unable to play due to an illness.

Celina scored just 23 seconds into the second quarter, when Schwieterman found Murlin from 12 yards out to put the Bulldogs up 35-7.

Van Wert answered with a two yard touchdown run by Hilleary, but Schwieterman connected with Murlin again for a 61 yard touchdown with 1:50 left until halftime.

Murlin opened the scoring in the third quarter with a 10 yard run, but the Cougars responded with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Owen Treece to Kelly to make it 49-21.

Celina scored twice more in the fourth quarter. Schwieterman hit Murlin early on for 20 yards, then Branson Miller scored from seven yards out with less than two minutes left.


POSTED: 10/21/17 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert High School senior soccer player Cassidy Meyers is this week’s Van Wert Independent/Northwest Ohio Welch Trophy Student-Athlete of the Week. Meyers is a three-year starter and a two-time team captain for the Lady Cougars, and she leads the team with four goals and five assists. She’s a three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and runs track. Meyers was nominated by head coach Richard Nouza, who said “She is an extremely hard working and committed player who is a fantastic role model to her teammates. She is a joy to coach and is an excellent student and person.” Coaches and athletic directors may nominate student-athletes for the weekly award by e-mailing Winners will receive a T-shirt, courtesy of Northwest Ohio Welch Trophy, 1034 Westwood Drive, Van Wert. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 12:02 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

OTTOVILLE — State-ranked Ottoville (No. 3 in Division IV) was too much for Crestsview Thursday night.

The Lady Green (18-6) topped the Lady Knights 25-19, 25-18, and 25-19 in the sectional championship game at Ottoville High School.

Bailey Gregory was 12 of 12 serving, and Lexi Gregory was 10 of 10 with an ace, 13 kills and 11 digs. Abby Bagley had 30 assists and 10 digs, while Lyvia Black had 19 digs and Lauren Black finished with 10 digs.  Ally McCoy finished with a team-high 14 kills.

Ottoville will play poll champion New Bremen in the district semifinals Tuesday night at Van Wert High School.

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 12:01 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

It’s Week No. 9 of the 2017 high school football season, and some interesting games dot this week’s schedule. Some have league/conference title and/or playoff implications, while others could turn out to be entertaining games.

It’s a bit different than last week’s schedule, which consisted of many mismatches. For the record, I was 17-3 last week (85 percent) and my overall record is 132-52 (71.7 percent).

Here are my predictions for Week No. 9 (projected winner in bold):

Celina (5-3) at Van Wert (4-4): As much as I want to pick the Cougars, I’m going with Celina. An option attack is difficult to prepare for, especially in a week’s time. I hope I’m wrong here. I’d love to see Van Wert win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Delphos Jefferson (6-2) at Crestview (7-1): This has the potential to be a very good game between two teams tied for second in the NWC. Brenen Auer (over 1,100 yards rushing) is one of the area’s better running backs, and he can give any team fits. On the other hand, Crestview’s offense can be explosive, and the Knights can score on special teams as well. I’ll pick Crestview in a high-scoring game.

Delphos St. John’s (4-4) at Parkway (1-7): I believe Parkway is better than 1-7, but look for the Blue Jays to snap a two-game losing streak. The Blue Jays are out of the MAC title race, but remain a lock to advance to the playofffs.

Wapakoneta (5-3) at Ottawa-Glandorf (3-5): The Redskins have rebounded from an 0-2 start, and have won five of their last six. They seem to be on a roll. While the Titans have struggled at times this season, they are good enough to pull an upset. Even so, I’ll pick Wapakoneta.


POSTED: 10/19/17 at 3:40 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

A big challenge awaits the Van Wert Cougars Friday night at Eggerss Stadium.

In addition to being the final home game of the season, the Cougars (4-4, 3-4 WBL) will face the Celina Bulldogs (5-3, 5-2 WBL) and their multi-pronged option attack.

Van Wert’s Thurston Miller returns a kickoff against Bath. Jerry Mason for the Van Wert independent

“Offensively, Celina is very unique when compared to all the other teams we play during the season,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “Being a double and triple option team, they force you to play assignment football which then creates a lot of one-on-one matchups in the pass game and run game.”

“Their quarterback is the guy that makes everything go in their offense,” Recker added. “He is someone we need to do a great job of keeping him contained inside the tackles because of his speed and elusiveness.”

Unlike some option offenses, the Bulldogs have able to throw the football with success. In addition to rushing for nearly 600 yards, quarterback Brett Schwieterman has completed 75 of 127 passes for 1,033 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite target is Dillon Hoying, who has 33 receptions for 553 yards and six touchdowns.

Kyle Zizelman leads the team in rushing with 107 carries, 676 yards and eight touchdowns. As a team, the Bulldogs average nearly 240 yard rushing per game.

Celina averages 32 points per game, and give up 24 points per game, while the Cougars are averaging 28, and giving up 26.

Van Wert snapped a three game losing streak by topping Bath 38-6 last Friday. The Cougars led 25-0 early in the second quarter and coasted to the easy win.


POSTED: 10/19/17 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — After last Friday’s 49-21 win at Allen East, the Crestview Knights (7-1, 4-1 NWC, No. 5 in Division VII) are back home for three straight games.

Two of those are regular season games against Delphos Jefferson and Paulding. The third one will be an Ohio High School Athletic Association Division VII, Region 28 quarterfinal playoff game against an opponent to be determined.

However, Crestview head coach Jared Owens and the Knights are focused on one thing – Friday’s game against the Delphos Jefferson Wildcats.

Dylan Hicks swings his leg into an extra point. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

The Wildcats (6-2, 4-1 NWC) are coming off a rare Saturday night game, a 28-21 victory over Columbus Grove. Running back Brenen Auer rushed for over 150 yards and a touchdown, which brought his current total to more than 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“Brenen is a great leader for our team,” Delphos Jefferson head coach Brandon Behnfeldt said. “He is not the most vocal, but he does a great job of modeling how to do things the right way. He is a hard worker all the time and gives everything he has on the field and in the classroom. He also plays at a high level and his execution is always on point.”

Auer also has the attention of Crestview head coach Jared Owens.

“He runs with good vision, he is strong especially in the lower body, and he has the speed to score from anywhere on the field,” Owens said.

The Wildcats don’t pass often, but when they do, they are effective. Quarterback Tyler Bratton is 35 of 68 for 625 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

While looking at his own team, Owens noted Crestview’s special teams have played well this season. Charles Stefanek has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, and he’s returned a punt for a score. Coverage teams are allowing just 17 yards per kickoff return, and six yards per punt return. Grant Schlaghbaum is averaging nearly 32 yards per punt, and Dylan Hicks has converted 25 of 38 PATS.


POSTED: 10/19/17 at 3:33 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert’s 2017 volleyball season came to an end with Tuesday’s Division II sectional semifinal loss against St. Marys, 29-27, 14-25, 25-22, and 25-19. The Lady Cougars finished the season with a record of 3-17 (2-6 Western Buckeye League). (Van Wert Booster Club photo)

POSTED: 10/19/17 at 3:32 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

Crestview’s Lexi Gregory and Ally McCoy have been named to the 2017 First Team All-Northwest Conference volleyball team, along with Lincolnview’s Lakin Brant and Alana Williams.

Tammy Gregory is NWC Coach of the Year. Crestview photo

Abby Bagley of Crestview earned second team honors, while teammate Lyvia Black was named honorable mention. Kayla Schimmoeller of Lincolnview was also named honorable mention All-NWC.

Crestview head coach Tammy Gregory was voted Coach of the Year at a meeting of NWC volleyball coaches in Delphos, and Ada senior Melina Woods was named the NWC Player of the Year for the third consecutive year. Ada finished season as conference champions, while Crestview was second.

First team: Melina Woods (Ada); Paige Bellman (Columbus Grove); Lexi Gregory (Crestview); Carlee McCluer (Columbus Grove); Cassidy Posey (Paulding); Ally McCoy (Crestview); Alana Williams (Lincolnview); Lakin Brant (Lincolnview).

Second team: Abby Kennedy (Allen East); Madisyn Gossard (Ada); Kyra Clark (Allen East); Katie Prater (Bluffton); Olivia Alexander (Bluffton); Lauren Birkmeier (Columbus Grove); Abby Bagley (Crestview).

Honorable mention: Sarah Miller (Delphos Jefferson); Kayla Schimmoeller (Lincolnview); Rylee Sybert (Columbus Grove); Macy Wallace (Delphos Jefferson); Megan Tope (Paulding); Sadie Estle (Paulding); Lyvia Black (Crestview); Summer McCloskey (Allen East); Ashley Eachus (Bluffton); Sidney Gossard (Ada); Kristina Claypool (Delphos Jefferson); Megan Neimeyer (Allen East); Abby Satterfield (Spencerville); Haley Radabaugh (Columbus Grove).


POSTED: 10/18/17 at 8:07 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

Lincolnview juniors Jared Pollock and Kyle Wallis have been named to the 2017 First Team All-Northwest Conference Boys Soccer team.

Teammate Clayton Leeth was named to the second team, while Creed Jessee and Landon Moody were named to the honorable mention team.

On the girls side, Crestview’s Mckenna Thompson was named to the second team, and Salex Overmyer was named honorable mention. Lincolnview’s Maddie Gorman was named first team, Olivia Gorman second team, and Hanna Young, Raegan Boley, Allie Crow, Haley Pollock and Trinitey Brown honorable mention.


First team: Tristan Smucker (Bluffton); Logan Williams (Ada); Chris Reyes (Ada); Ethan Grant (Allen East); Jesse Montel (Bluffton); Noah Pinkey (Ada); Luke Young (Bluffton); Jordan Sieferd (Bluffton); Jared Pollock (Lincolnview); Matt Dawes (Bluffton); Noah Garmon (Ada); Kyle Wallis (Lincolnview).

Second team: Christian Hedrick (Allen East); Braelin Houston (Allen East); Nate Allen (Ada); Dakota Clymer (Bluffton); Ryan Woodring (Paulding); Clayton Leeth (Lincolnview); Zach Basinger (Bluffton); Tanner Christman (Spencerville); Brice Wilcox (Allen East); Brayan Casiano (Ada); Josh Trausch (Paulding);

Honorable mention: Simon Derstine (Bluffton); Dalton Crum (Allen East); Ethan Reichenbach (Allen East); Creed Jessee (Lincolnview); Jacob Litsey (Spencerville); Braden Conrad (Bluffton); Noah Fredritz (Bluffton); Jack Williams (Allen East); Landon Moody (Lincolnview); Charles Clapsaddle (Paulding); Grant Hackworth (Spencerville).


POSTED: 10/18/17 at 8:05 am. FILED UNDER: Sports