TRI-COUNTY LEAGUE Crestview ends OT jinx with win over Leetonia
Joe Leskosky came up big on defense to preserve the victory.
By JOHN BUTERA
COLUMBIANA -- Matt Thompson scored his second touchdown of the game in overtime as the Crestview High football team edged Leetonia 14-7 Friday in a battle of last year's Tri-County League's co-champions.
Joe Leskosky came up big defensively as Crestview celebrated the school's first overtime victory.
Before Friday, Crestview (3-1, 1-0) had lost four overtime contests.
Big play: With Leetonia (3-1, 0-1) facing fourth-and-goal in overtime, the Bears tried a halfback pass and had a receiver open in the endzone.
But Leskosky, a 6-foot-2, 189-pound defender, read the play correctly and broke up the pass in the endzone.
"I just read the tailback's eyes," Leskosky said. "He telegraphed the pass."
On Crestview's possession in overtime, the Rebels came up big on a second-and-10 from its 20 when quarterback Seth Antram found Will Franklin for a 13-yard pass.
Josh Louk picked up 5 yards to set the stage for Thompson's 2-yard burst.
Comment: "This is just a great win for us and this is the type of game you get when you have the two champions going head-to-head," Crestview coach Paul Cusick said.
"When you play [Leetonia coach] Artie [Altomare], you know the tricks are going to come out of the bag," Cusick said.
First half: In a first half that featured little offense, Crestview got on the board first after recovering a fumble at the Leetonia 31-yard line.
Thompson completed an eight-play drive by going the final 7 yards for a touchdown.
Crestview enjoyed fine field position the entire first half, starting drives on its own 30, the Leetonia 45, the Bears' 31, its own 44 and its own 41.
Despite this situation, Crestview managed just 110 total yards and six first downs even though Leetonia committed three penalties and lost two fumbles.
The Bears collected just four first downs and had 68 total yards.
"You just can't give up field position to a team like that," Altomare said. "We were fortunate to only be trailing 7-0 at halftime."
Second half: Leetonia began the second half with the game's biggest play as quarterback Kevin Cibula found Drew Mason for a 49-yard gain, giving the Bears a first down at the 11.
The Bears advanced the ball to the 3 where, on a fourth-and-2 play, Cibula found Freddie Gray in the back of the endzone to tie the game at 7-7.
With 4:28 remaining in regulation, Leetonia tried a halfback option pass which resulted in a 29-yard gain from Matt Custer to Gray.
The play gave Leetonia a first down on the Crestview 36, but the Rebels' defense stiffened to thwart any further damage.
Crestview took over on its own 18 with 1:51 remaining, played it close to the vest in hopes of coming up big in overtime.
"It was a call that we thought could go," Altomare said of the game's final play. "But their kid just made a great defensive play."