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Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Celina falls out of playoff contention

By Ryan Hines
ELIDA - Celina's hopes of ending a 14-year postseason drought took a fatal hit on Friday night at Elida.
Three turnovers, over 100 yards in penalties and three stalled offensive drives in the red zone all contributed to Celina's 32-9 defeat against Elida during Western Buckeye League action from Kraft Stadium.
Elida (7-2, 6-2 WBL) may have locked up a third straight postseason berth by beating Celina (6-3, 5-3 WBL), which suffers its second straight defeat.
"We have to play for pride now next week and to win seven games," said Celina's head coach Jared Rolfes. "We had goals of competing for the WBL title and making the playoffs, but those two things are out of reach now. Winning seven games would be great for the program since it hasn't happened since 1998. That's our goal for next week."
It was a mistake-filled night for Celina's offense with two interceptions and one lost fumble to go along three offensive drives that ended without points inside Elida's 11-yard line.
"We tried a lot of different things, but we just couldn't put the ball in the end zone tonight until it was too late," said Rolfes. "We didn't execute at certain times and Elida's defense made some plays at times."
Mistakes played a factor in Celina's offensive struggles, but Elida's defense showed why it is ranked second in the WBL allowing just 15.2 points per game.
"They are good on defense and in my opinion have two Division I players on that side of the ball with (Quentin) Poling and #55 (Chance Weitz)," said Rolfes. "I think they are really strong on defense. They are athletic and their corners are better than I thought they were on film. They took the things we like to do away."
Elida's defense put the first points on the scoreboard. Celina's quarterback Braden Billger started the second drive of the game from the 10-yard line and dropped back to pass, but Elida's Tyler Smith pressured Billger and he slipped in the end zone for a safety.
Elida then took the ensuing free kick and drove 56 yards in nine plays with Seanquez Frye capping the drive with a five-yard touchdown and a 9-0 lead for the home team.
Celina found some offensive rhythm on its next drive and covered 56 yards as Zach Hembree, Andrew Moriarty and Collen Byer all made first-down receptions to put the ball on Elida's 9-yard line. The drive stalled there and Cody Vogel then put Celina on the scoreboard by booting a 26-yard field goal.
Elida answered right away when Nick Pauff's 36-yard reception helped set up Logan Alexander's 21-yard TD pass to Quentin Poling for a 16-3 lead.
Brandon Stinson was suspended for the first quarter of the game for a violation of team rules and made an impact right away in the second quarter. Stinson caught three passes in the second quarter for a total of 54 yards, including a 20-yard strike from Alexander for a touchdown that gave Elida a commanding 22-3 lead at halftime.
Desmend White gave Elida a 29-3 lead after a 49-yard TD reception and the home team went up as much as 32-3 after a 24-yard field goal from Clark Etzler in the fourth quarter.
Celina's lone touchdown of the night came with 1:08 left in the game when Zach Hembree bullied his way into the end zone on a one-yard run to cap an eight-play drive. Eric Welch caught two passes for 57 yards to highlight the drive.
Celina amassed 303 yards of offense, but only four of those yards came from the running game. Billger, who was sacked four times for a loss of 20 yards, completed 27-of-52 passes for 299 yards.
"We got a team effort from our defense and they did a good job tonight against an explosive offense," said Elida's head coach Jason Carpenter. "We stepped up in some big situations when they had the ball in the red zone and made plays."
Penalty flags were flying all night long in the Battle of Bulldogs as Celina drew 11 penalties for 122 yards while Elida was flagged 18 times for 173 yards.
Celina wraps up the regular season next Friday with a home game against Bath.
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