Crestview Roster Is Loaded With 19 Seniors


COLUMBIANA — Veteran Crestview coach Paul Cusick has definite holes to fill, but at the same time has the nucleus to get the Rebels right back where they are used to being — the postseason.

In his 20th season at the school, Cusick has had Crestview in the Ohio playoffs 14 times, including 12 of the last 14 seasons. The Rebels are coming off a 6-5 campaign in which they were defeated in the first round.

Cusick’s roster is loaded with 19 seniors and 16 sophomores, however, there is not a junior on the squad and seven freshmen.

Crestview welcomes back two of its leading rushers from a season ago, a top-flight receiver and four linemen on offense.

The biggest hole to fill is at quarterback where Caleb Hill, who threw for more than 1,000 yards, ran for more than 300 and accounted for 17 touchdowns, is gone. Senior Stephen Barr takes over with a pair of very capable running backs to hand the ball to.

Senior Andrew Yanssens returns after rolling up 1,238 yards on the ground and scoring 12 touchdowns. Sophomore running mate Ethan Powell is also back after gaining 714 yards and scoring five times as a freshman.

They will be joined by sophomores Kain McIntosh and Kaden Paskevitch and freshmen Sam Campbell and Anthony Cusick.

Senior flanker Dylan Huff is the leading returning receiver coming off a 29-catch, 456-yard, five-touchdown season. There are three other seniors available at receiver in Austin Brodigan (SE), James Fitzgerald (SE) and Jude Riffle (SE). Senior Devin Turvey returns at tight end and is joined by classmates Gabe Cusick and Nick Sherrill. Also slated to see action are sophomores William Hardenbrook (FL), Tony Perorazio (TE) and Brandon Yanssens (FL).

The line will be led by four returning seniors in Dante Pelino and first team All-Ohioan Dominic Perry at the guards, Wyatt Woodring at tackle and Josh Simmons at center. The other tackle will more than likely go to either senior Alex Pecor or sophomore Wyatt Babik.

“We will continue to run the spread on offense and be an up-tempo team,” Paul Cusick said. “And there should be great competition in camp for starting positions. “There is plenty of experience on the offensive side of the ball and we need to continue to learn the system to be competitive.”

Gone from last year’s squad are Dylan Baker, Caleb Dew, Andrew Hardenbrook, Caleb Hill, Jeff Feo, Danny Moore, Dakota Stratton and Jacob Ricketts.

There are six starters back on the defensive side of the football, however, while three are back in the defensive backfield and three on the line, the entire linebacking corp will need to be replaced.

Senior safety Stephen Barr is one of the team leaders and recorded 50 tackles and three interceptions last year. He is joined by returnees Brodigan and Huff at defensive back while Pelino and senior Justin Collins are back at the ends and classmate Nick Sherrill at tackle.

The remaining letterwinners on the line include seniors Brandon Adams, Pecor, Pelino, Perry, Josh Simmons, Woodring and Andrew Yanssens. Other available at DB are Fitzgerald, Huff, Riffle, Turvey, Powell and Brandon Yanssens.

Senior Chucky Lindsay is the top returning linebacker with 55 tackles to his credit last season. Fighting for the remaining spots are Gabe Cusick, William Hardenbrook, McIntosh, sophomores Tyler Harrison and Kyle Saunders and freshman Sam Campbell.

“Our defense will have good speed,” Cusick said. “The defense also looks to be more aggressive and must make plays for us. There is a great balance of experience throughout the defensive unit, and we must create turnovers and field position.”

Cusick will be assisted by three coaches who have been at the school for 20-plus seasons and four that have nine years or less. The veterans include Dom Perry (23 years), Eric Potts (22) and Lowell Bacon (20). The remainder of the staff includes Jed Campbell, Keith Drewnoski, Mike Bettura and Scott Mickey.

The Rebels open the season at West Branch and will play a schedule highlighted by three Ohio Valley Athletic Conference squads in Magnolia, Indian Creek and Linsly, which will all be played during the final four weeks of the season.