By RYAN HINES
A four-point advantage midway through the second quarter for
Celina turned into a 17-point loss as the Bulldogs were beaten
by Kenton 36-19 in a Western Buckeye League contest at Celina
Kenton, the two-time defending Division IV state champion, improves
to 2-2 overall on the season and 2-1 in the WBL while Celina
falls to 2-2 on the year with a 1-2 mark in league play.
“I have no complaints from our effort tonight, because
I think that we gave it all that we had,” said Celina
head coach Mike Fell. “If you play a game as hard as you
can play it, regardless of the outcome, you’ve got to
be proud of the kids. I’m not happy with the results,
but the effort was there.”
Celina held a 19-15 lead with 5:37 to go in the first half when
Kenton grabbed momentum and ran with it.
With 3:31 to go in the first half, Kenton took over offensively
at their own 15-yard line. The Wildcats then used a balanced
offensive attack to march down the field 85 yards on a 12-play
drive resulting in a one-yard touchdown for running back Zach
Jackson. It was Jackson’s second touchdown of the night
as the sophomore running back amassed 87 yards rushing.
Kenton got the ball immediately following the first half of
action and quickly got back on the board.
On just the third play of the second half, Spivey took a pitch
on a sweep play and raced around the corner, broke one tackle
and didn’t stop until after a 60-yard touchdown put the
Wildcats on top 29-19.
“Celina had a nice game plan in the first half and executed
it really well, that’s why they had the lead in the second
quarter,” said Kenton head coach Mike Mauk. “We
made it a 10-point game in our favor early in the second half
and that was a momentum play that was huge in our favor.”
“They (Kenton) scored right before the first half ended
and then right at the start of the second half and those were
two huge scores for them,” stated Fell. “They got
the momentum then and never let up.”
Celina’s next drive included a 38-yard passing play from
Joe Kanney to Brian Gagle, but the offense stalled and the Bulldogs
were forced to punt.
Spivey and Jackson did most of the damage on the next Kenton
drive. Spivey ran a fake sweep and passed the ball to D.J. Underwood
for a 38-yard gainer and then Jackson ran the ball three straight
times for 12 yards before Billy Cozad ran a quarterback sweep
for a 12-yard touchdown. Cozad’s run came at the 6:34
mark of the third quarter to put Kenton on top for good at 36-19.
Kenton had a very balanced offensive attack on Friday rushing
for 242 yards while also passing for 215. Cozad had 230 yards
of total offense while Underwood hauled in six passes for 111
“Billy continues to improve as a quarterback,” said
Mauk. “The more game time and experience that he gets,
the better he will get. He threw the ball well and made some
plays with his legs too.”
Cozad kid played a great game tonight,” lauded Fell. “I
don’t know how many times that we had him and then he
would escape and make a big play. Nice athlete that threw and
Gagle had an outstanding all-around night for Celina with 86
receiving yards, 36 rushing yards, 35 passing yards, nice yardage
off of special teams returns and double digit tackles on defense.
Gagle, playing a lot of running back with Kyle Schott out for
the season, got the scoring started in the contest with a 20-yard
Kenton answered with a Jeff Parsons 13-yard pass from Cozad
before Kanney faked a handoff to Brady Bonifas and then followed
him through the hole for a 37-yard scoring run putting Celina
on top 12-7.
Kenton’s Jackson and Celina’s Bonifas added touchdown
runs in the second quarter before the Wildcats scored the final
21 points of the game for the win.
Celina is back in action Friday at home against Elida while
Kenton hosts Defiance.