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The Daily



08-28-03: Bulldogs open WBL slate


With the lone nonleague game of the season over, it’s time for the Celina football team to turn its focus to the Western Buckeye League slate.
On tap for the Bulldogs will be Van Wert on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Eggeress Stadium.
“It’s always important to start off the league season well because the WBL is so good that it’s tough to recover from early losses,” said Celina head coach Mike Fell.
“The WBL is tough week in and week out and the first league game is just as important as the last league game of the season,” said Van Wert head coach Jeff Hood. “It’s always nice to be able to build momentum early in the season because sometimes that can vault you through the season.”
Both teams enter the contest with 1-0 marks as Celina cruised past Greenville 47-8 while Van Wert beat Bryan 26-14 in the first week of action.
“The first win for us was big because it gave the kids positive reinforcement of the new things that we are doing this year,” said Hood.
Last year, offense was at a premium as these two teams met on the final regular season evening of the year with Celina slipping past Van Wert 10-7 on a 37-yard field goal from Josh Green with 2:15 to go in the game.
This year, Celina’s offense appears to be explosive after a 411-yard effort against Greenville while the offense could still be a concern for Van Wert as the Cougars managed just 231 total yards (116 passing, 115 rushing) of offense against a mediocre Bryan team.
“We’re very young and inexperienced at the varsity level. There are some mistakes that we made against Bryan that are fixable,” said Hood who had a losing record last season (4-6) for the first time since 1996.
One bright spot for Van Wert’s offense against Bryan was the play of quarterback John Moonshower, who started his first game for the Cougars. Moonshower (6-3, 170, junior) completed 8-of-16 passes for 116 yards and two scores in his varsity debut.
Split end Craig Syphrit (6-2, 165, senior) and tight end B.J. Knapke (6-4, 195, senior) caught the two scoring passes from Moonshower.
Dan Goodlan (6-0, 195, junior) was the top rusher for Van Wert last week with 72 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries.
“We grew a lot in our first game as a team and came away with no injuries and John Moonshower did a very nice job in his first start at quarterback for us,” stated Hood. “What we need to do is run the ball better to take some pressure off of our young quarterback. If we can run the ball better, that should help our whole offense.”
Offense doesn’t appear to be a big worry for Fell and the Bulldogs after last weeks performance.
Kyle Schott (148 yards rushing) and Brady Bonifas (67 yards rushing) controlled things on the ground while Joe Kanney (95 yards passing) kept the defense honest with precision passing to his talented group of wideouts. Expect a similar gameplan Friday with a little more passing against the Cougars as the Green and White look to keep its high-powered offense balanced.
“Van Wert runs a 4-3 defense which will put seven people in the box so we figure that we will have to throw the ball more this week to move the ball on offense,” said Fell. “The key for us will be how our offensive line plays because Van Wert always blitzes linebackers and we must be able to protect our quarterback if we are going to throw the ball more. We have to win the battle up front.”
“With an offense like Celina has, our key will be to try and contain them, because I’m not sure that we can stop them completely,” explained Hood. “We’re going to try to stop their run first and we need to make them earn their scores and not get anything too easy.”


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