22 strong: Crestview returns all starters, including speedsters Powell, Yannsens

Sports

After a season with no seniors, the Rebels return all 11 starters on both sides of the ball as they look to build off a 5-5 season in 2019

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – When it comes to personnel, not much has changed for the Crestview Rebels since 2019.

Following a senior class with no football players, all 11 starters are back on both sides of the ball.

“We have never had that,” said Paul Cusick, head coach of the Rebels. “I think the most exciting thing is the growth we made through the season from game one to Week 10. We made great strides and really grew up.”

Numbers are also up for Crestview with 47 total players, compared to the low 30s last season. The offense is loaded as junior Anthony Cusick, the coach’s son, is back under center. He threw for over 1,400 yards — a new school record for a sophomore at Crestview.

Cusick also has all kinds of weapons around him, including William Hardenbrook — who’s a big target at H-back — and speedsters Brandon Yannsens at receiver and Ethan Powell at running back. The duo was part of two winning relays, the 4×100 and 4×200, at the state track meet in 2019.

“We gotta get those guys the ball,” Cusick said. “Ethan is not going to be a one-man band. He’s a great running back and he’ll get the ball in the run game, but we gotta get the ball to those other guys. So it’s great to make teams have to spread the field.”

“We’re not really that big of a team. We’re going to be a really fast team, so we’re going to be able to move the ball a lot faster and outrun our opponents,” Yannsens said. “We’re not really going to be able to push through them, we’re just going to have to maneuver around them.”

Crestview’s up-tempo, spread offense will be tough to stop as they look to build off last season. After dropping five of their first six games, the Rebels rolled off four-straight wins to end the year.

“It’s a big season overall, especially coming off the pandemic because you’re really leery if you’re going to even play or not,” Powell said. “We’ve got new jerseys, new helmets, new turf and a bunch of athletes, so we’re very excited.”

“I’ve been looking at this year since, like, fifth grade, middle school,” Yannsens said. “I’ve even got in a paper written down. It just makes it way more exciting and I want to get out there.”

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