Amanda Parrish/Times Bulletin
Crestview’s Drew Nofer (4) lines up against a wide receiver during the Knights’ game against Wayne Trace on Friday, Sept. 11, 2009 in Haviland.
Amanda Parrish/Times Bulletin Crestview’s Drew Nofer (4) lines up against a wide receiver during the Knights’ game against Wayne Trace on Friday, Sept. 11, 2009 in Haviland.
BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin news writer

egebert@timesbulletin.com

The Crestview Knights were hoping to turn around their 1-2 season, but once again fell victim to missed opportunities, losing to host Bluffton 21-7.

Crestview scored only once of three times in the red zone on the night, while the Pirates took advantage of a pair of big plays in the first half to take a lead into halftime. Meanwhile, the Knight defense made some impressive stands, taking the Bluffton offense off the field in three plays a total of four times on the night, and holding on fourth down twice.

It didn't take long before Bluffton found the end zone. On the game's first drive, Pirate quarterback Levi Gleason found senior Zach Devier who managed to slip behind the Knight secondary. The 41-yard touchdown pass and the point-after put Bluffton up 7-0 little more than two minutes into the contest.

"Big plays like that, those things happen with kids," noted Crestview Coach Jason Cross. "We work on it all week, but sometimes we just got caught out of position."

After an exchange of punts, Crestview got possession at their own 48 and started to march down the field. Using key completions to receivers Tyler Torrey and Drew Nofer, the Knights found themselves ready to hit paydirt. However, the Pirates' Drew Luginbuhl stepped in front of a Stephen Semer pass in the end zone, then streaked down the sideline, somehow managing to stay inbounds. He was finally stopped 85 yards later, and Bluffton was in business at the Knight 15 to begin the second quarter.

Just a few plays into the next stanza, Gleason hit senior running back Tyler Rayl with a scoring strike, and after the PAT the score was 14-0 Bluffton.

Crestview got the ball back in good field position for their first possession of the second period, but a third down pass was picked off by the Matt Gillett of the Pirates to stop the Knights cold.

With the ball near midfield, Bluffton's offense went back to work. This time, the red, white and blue defense stiffened, forcing a Pirate punt.

Cross then sent in junior Cody Hagaman to quarterback the Knights, but the result was a quick three-and-out.

Getting the ball back again, Crestview went to work only to turn the ball over on a fumble at its own 38 yard line.

Bluffton could not convert on the turnover though. A sack of Gleason by Crestview's Dan Lichtensteiger set up a third and 19 for the Pirates. After a short gain, a fourth down pass headed for R. J. Stratton fell to the turf in the end zone ending the Bluffton drive and the scoring opportunities in the first half.

After a quick Crestview possession, Bluffton took over and marched down the field, capping off the scoring drive with Rayl carrying the ball the final five yards for the score. The point-after put the Pirates on top 21-0 with 4:37 to go in the third quarter.

Again, Bluffton got the ball back after a defensive stand, but the Knight defense came up big as well, stopping the Pirates on fourth and one, moments into the last quarter.

The Crestview offense then finally found its rhythm, grinding out yardage with a series of runs by sophomore Matt Holden and a big fourth down connection from Hagaman to Joey Overmyer. However, once down in the red zone, the Knights found frustration again as Christian Smith picked off Hagaman at the Pirate 5.

"We just need to figure things out," said Cross after the game. "We'll continue to work with the guys and try to make the adjustments we need to put us in a position to score... to make the right decisions."

Crestview got the ball back on a solid defensive stand. The offense then managed to finish off a drive, moving 44 yards down the field with Holden scoring from six yards out. Lichtensteiger's PAT bounced off the left upright and through to make the score 21-7.

Cross noted, "In the second half, we didn't give up. The defense continued to play well. Hey, we moved the ball down the field and we scored, and I like that. I like that we moved the ball, we made certain adjustments, and we punched one in."

The Knights move to 1-3 on the year and will host Allen East next Friday.