By RYAN HINES
VAN WERT — Celina’s Brian Gagle is quickly being
noticed as one of the top big-play threats on the football field
in northwest Ohio.
Gagle made two huge plays Friday on the road at Van Wert and
that was all that Celina needed as the Bulldogs shutout the
Cougars, 13-0 in the Western Buckeye League opener for both
“Brian Gagle is a big-time player and he made two great
plays that led us to scores,” said Celina head coach Mike
Fell. “One of the plays went for a touchdown and the other
set up another touchdown. Teams have to be aware of where Brian
is at on the field at all times.”
Celina is now 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in the WBL while Van
Wert falls to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
The soggy field conditions kept both offenses in check for the
first half as both teams went scoreless, although Celina failed
on three solid scoring chances in the first 24 minutes of action.
The Bulldogs drove the ball deep into Van Wert territory on
three different occasions in the first half only to see two
interceptions and a turnover on downs halt the threats. The
two interceptions occurred inside the red zone and the turnover
on downs came at the 33-yard line.
“Van Wert played well up front and were beating us off
the ball in the first half,” said Fell. “We didn’t
execute and they played well defensively. We were deep in their
territory and we just didn’t finish off those early drives.”
After Van Wert went three-and-out on its first possession of
the second half, Gagle turned a scoreless game into a 7-0 lead
On second down, Joe Kanney threw the ball to Gagle on a wide
receiver swing pass near the sidelines and Gagle broke a tackle
and then used a perfect block by fellow receiver Jon Beougher
before racing down the sidelines 60 yards for a touchdown. Gagle
kicked the extra point to give the Bulldogs a seven-point cushion.
Then at the 5:15 mark of the third quarter, the Celina defense
held strong and forced Van Wert to punt the ball. Waiting patiently
for the punt was Gagle who promptly broke one tackle and broke
outside for a 43-yard return to the Van Wert 17-yard line. The
punt return by Gagle set up Celina’s only other score
of the game.
On first down, Celina used a full-house backfield for the first
time of the game and Kyle Schott took advantage as the senior
running back raced to the right corner of the end zone from
17 yards out giving the Bulldogs a 13-0 lead after the PAT kick
From that point on, it was Celina’s defense that kept
the 13-point advantage safe.
Van Wert was only able to accumulate 82 total yards, including
just 36 yards in the second half. The Cougars were only able
to advance the ball into Celina territory four times the entire
“Celina stunted their linebackers a little more than we
thought they might,” said Van Wert head coach Jeff Hood.
“We’re not doing anything well on offense. We strive
for balance on offense and we had it, only it was balance that
we couldn’t run or pass. They absolutely dominated the
game on defense and manhandled us.”
“Mick Gabes, Drew Braun and Jack Clouse did a great job
preparing for our kids tonight and the kids just went out and
executed the defensive game plan,” lauded Fell. “The
secondary was outstanding, the pressure on the quarterback was
there... I just thought that it was a tremendous defensive effort
out there. Everybody was going to the ball and that’s
what makes a successful defense.”
Gagle, on the otherhand, had more receiving yards than Van Wert
had total yards as the senior wideout caught five passes for
133 yards. Gagle was the main threat through the air for Kanney
as Tim Homan (four receptions, 29 yards) battled cramps throughout
the game. Gagle, who didn’t play the entire second half
of last weeks game due to a mild separated shoulder and a slight
sprain to the AC joint, gave his teammates all the credit for
his strong statistical performance.
“I iced my shoulder this week and there was no way that
I wasn’t going to play in this game,” stated Gagle.
“Jon Beougher had a perfect block on the touchdown reception
and the punt return team made some big blocks to spring me.”
Schott was the top ground gainer for Celina picking up 93 yards
on 18 carries.