Saturday, October 24th, 2009
By Ryan Hines
Celina beats Bath in double overtime for first win of year
LIMA - It wasn't a matchup with a league title hanging in the balance or a potential playoff position up for grabs, but as far as excitement goes, the Celina-Bath contest proved to be the best game in the Grand Lake area on Friday night.
Celina made an aggressive decision and scored a two-point conversion in the second overtime as the Bulldogs were victorious for the first time of the season, 41-40, over Bath in Western Buckeye League action.
Celina's Andy Sutter answered Bath's touchdown in the second overtime with a two-yard plunge into the end zone leaving the Bulldogs down 40-39 with the PAT pending. Bulldogs head coach Jared Rolfes discussed the decision to try a PAT kick for a tie or go for the win with a two-point conversion with his coaching staff on the headset.
Rolfes sent his team out for the two-point conversion, but just as Sutter took a handoff, the officials waved off the play because of a Bath (2-7, 1-7 WBL) timeout. The two teams came back out of the timeout and Celina (1-8, 1-7 WBL) again ran Sutter on the exact same play as before the timeout and the junior running back got a little help from his friends as he crossed the goal line to give the Bulldogs the one-point win with the two-point conversion run.
"As much as I would like to take credit for the touchdown, it was Brian Donovan (center) and Derek Jones (guard) that should get the credit," said Sutter. "Derek opened the hole and then Brian pushed me in from behind to make sure I got in."
Rolfes said it wasn't an easy decision to make in going for the two-point conversion.
"I wasn't going to go for it initially," said Rolfes. "I'm not a gambler...But I got a lot of help from my assistant coaches that are gamblers and they got in my head. We were struggling on some of our PATs, so we decided to just go for it. We ran our best play, the inside-zone play and it worked out. We showed our hand when they called timeout and I almost changed the play, but our guys said that they could get it in with the inside-zone run."
It was an offensive contest filled with fireworks as the two worst defenses in the WBL were on the field.
Celina amassed a season-high 470 yards of offense with a strong balance of 248 on the ground and 222 through the air.
"It was a great team effort out of our team tonight," said Paulus. "Our offensive line did a nice job of giving us time to throw and opening some holes for Andy. Our line gave me time and our receivers went out and made plays. Just a team effort."
Paulus had a big night for the Bulldogs by completing 17-of-28 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns to go with one interception. At one point in the game, Paulus completed 12 straight passes. Paulus also gained 84 yards on the ground and added another touchdown.
Kahl Knapke and Caleb Fickert each grabbed six balls for 47 and 54 yards, while Shawn Feierstein added three catches for a team-high 83 yards and a touchdown.
Sutter paced the Celina ground attack with 164 yards on 26 carries and he added two touchdowns to go along with a pair of two-point conversion runs.
"Andy just ran the ball hard tonight and that's what you get out of that kid," said Rolfes. "He ran hard even when there wasn't anything there and had a monster game for us."
Bath amassed 417 yards of offense and the Wildcats were led by running back Aaron Smith, who ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game on a stretcher in the fourth quarter.
The two offenses didn't get much going until the third quarter when the two teams opened the second half in a 7-7 tie. However, both teams scored three touchdowns apiece in the third quarter and the shootout was on.
Bath looked as if it was going to win the game in regulation with the ball at the 17-yard line with just over one minute left in the game. Bath was just trying to position the ball for a routine field goal to win it, but Cameron Garver fumbled the ball and Celina recovered.
The Wildcats also had a chance to get the win in the first overtime after Celina went scoreless on its possession. Bath had the ball at the three-yard line and Davey Briggs lined up for a 22-yard field goal, but the kick was no good to force the second overtime.
"I thought that we were beat on about three different occasions, but it was great to see things go our way, because the kids deserve it with all the work they have put into getting better," said Rolfes. "Resiliency is the word that I would use with this group. I feel blessed to coach these guys because of their resiliency to work hard and get better."
NOTES - Two years ago Celina visited Bath Stadium and pulled out an overtime thriller with the Bulldogs winning 22-21 thanks to a two-point conversion pass from Derek Gagle to Zach Sams. ...With the win, Celina avoids its first winless season since 1955. The Bulldogs went 0-8-1 under Bill Spitzer in 1955 and also went winless at 0-9 under Bill Feth in 1953. ...Celina will look to finish the season with a two-game winning streak which would put the Bulldogs at 2-8 for the fourth straight year and for the fifth time in the last six years. Finishing with a win in the season finale next week at home will be a tall task against Ottawa-Glandorf.
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