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Saturday, October 4th, 2008
By Ryan Hines
Celina gets first taste of victory
ELIDA - The strategy for Celina's offense at Elida on Friday night was simple - get the ball into the hands of playmakers Blake Moran and Alex Dues.
Moran and Dues were the focal points of the offense and helped guide Celina to its first win of the season, a 34-13 triumph over Elida in the Battle of Winless Bulldogs.
Celina is now 1-6 overall (1-5 Western Buckeye League) while Elida remains winless at 0-7 on the season and 0-6 in the WBL.
"I'm just happy for the kids," said Celina first-year head coach Jared Rolfes. "We've been fighting and battling with all the teams that we've played against this year. Our kids battle hard and play with such emotion, that I think it's great to see them get a win to help build some confidence."
Moran and Dues each scored a pair of touchdowns on the way to big individual nights for the duo. Moran, the leading receiver in the WBL this year, had a career-high 10 catches for 126 yards and touchdowns covering 15 and 61 yards while Dues carried the ball 20 times for a season-high 94 yards and two scores (TD runs of eight and one yard).
"We said before the game and at halftime that we wanted to get the ball into the hands of number 22 and 10," said Rolfes. "That was our goal and I think that we did a pretty good job of it. We were happy to get those two guys involved into what we were doing and it paid off for us. We consider those two guys our two big weapons on offense and we tried some different things to try and get them the ball as much as possible."
Moran helped get Celina on the board first in the opening quarter. On the first play of the first drive, Moran took a backward pass from Derek Gagle and then launched a perfect pass to Shawn Feierstein for 37 yards to open the drive. Celina then ran the ball on five straight plays taking the ball to the Elida 15-yard line, when Gagle rolled to his left and lofted a pass to the back of the end zone where Moran made a great leaping catch for the score.
Elida answered the Celina touchdown with a score of its own midway through the second quarter. Desmond Ragin capped an 11-play drive that covered 79 yards with a three-yard run to tie the score at 7-7.
A big play in the passing game helped Celina regain the lead at the 3:21 mark of the second quarter. Celina started its next drive at its own three-yard line, but moved the ball to its own 39-yard line thanks to a strong mix of Dues and Gagle in the running game. Then Gagle fired a deep pass to Moran, who got behind the Elida safeties, and raced into the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown reception. Gagle, who fumbled the snap on the ensuing PAT play, rolled to his left and fired a pass to Caleb Wilson for a two-point conversion giving Celina a 15-7 lead.
Wilson recovered a fumble on Elida's next offensive series, but Celina gave the ball right back to the hosts when Gagle fumbled the ball at the 24-yard line just before halftime.
Following another Gagle fumble on the first possession of the second half, Celina rebounded on its second drive of the third quarter. Gagle completed four passes to put the ball at the Elida eight-yard line and then Dues hit paydirt for the first time of the evening on a four-yard scamper for a 21-7 Celina lead.
Dues found the end zone for the second time of the evening early in the fourth quarter with a one-yard score to put Celina on top 28-7. Ryan Paulus then put Celina on top 34-7 with a three-yard touchdown run.
Elida closed the scoring with 1:35 to play in the fourth quarter when Alex McAdams found Michael Knotts in the end zone for an 11-yard scoring strike.
Celina will look to make it two wins in a row on Friday with the final home game of the season at Celina Stadium against Lima Bath.
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