By RYAN HINES
The cold, damp and breezy weather didn’t stop Celina from
celebrating on Friday night following the homecoming game with
Celina’s senior duo of Brady Bonifas and Brian Gagle combined
for 198 yards rushing in leading the Bulldogs to a 20-16 win
over the Titans in Western Buckeye League action.
Celina slips past the .500 mark again improving to 4-3 overall
and 3-3 in the WBL while Ottawa-Glandorf falls to 2-5 on the
year and 2-4 in league play.
Bonifas led the way for Celina’s offense from his running
back position with 21 carries for 104 yards and the game-winning
touchdown while Gagle made the most out of his 12 carries in
the game, amassing 94 yards and one score. Gagle also added
29 yards passing.
Gagle and Bonifas made their presence felt most in the third
and fourth quarters when the Celina running game began to take
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Justin Conn caught a 23-yard pass from
Jay Laubenthal at the 8:49 mark of the third quarter to give
the Titans a 16-8 lead.
Celina responded right away behind the running game. Bonifas,
Kelly Mallory and Andy Harner each carried the ball once for
a total of 20 yards and then Bonifas again carried for six yards
bringing the Bulldogs deeper into Titans territory.
The Titans defense again looked for one of the running backs
to carry the ball, but instead, Gagle ran a bootleg and outran
a host of O-G defenders on his way for a 38-yard touchdown run.
Celina elected to try for a two-point conversion to try and
tie the score, but the run failed and O-G still held a 16-14
Late in the third quarter, a 25-yard punt return by Gagle set
up Celina’s final score of the game.
Gagle gave Celina the ball at the O-G 20-yard line and Bonifas
did the rest as he carried the ball on three straight plays
with the final carry covering four yards for the score putting
the Bulldogs on top, 20-16 as another two-point conversion run
With 11:07 left in the game, O-G looked prime to regain the
lead behind a strong running attack.
The Titans took over on their own 45-yard line and slowly milked
the clock while picking up crucial first downs.
A Laubenthal pass to Kyle Kuhlman covering 14 yards highlighted
a 12-play drive that ended in frustration for the Titans.
On fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line, Laubenthal dropped
back to pass and found a wide open Kuhlman in the end zone,
but the pass bounced right off the chest of the Titan receiver
and to the ground for an incomplete pass turning the ball over
on downs with 4:25 left in the game.
“I saw the ball in the air and I started thinking about
how much time was left in the game to where we could try and
mount a comeback but the ball dropped,” said Celina head
coach Mike Fell. “We didn’t have many breaks in
the game, but we got a break there in a big situation.”
“That play was just one of those things where we did everything
right but catch the ball,” said Ottawa-Glandorf head coach
Ken Schriner. “One play doesn’t lose a game for
a team and I told the kids that. We missed several opportunities
to score earlier in the game and that’s where the (Continued
from page 6B)
game was lost.”
It was back to the Bonifas and Gagle show for the next 4:13
of the game as the senior duo kept the chains moving for the
Bulldogs while chewing up valuable time off the clock. Gagle
and Bonifas combined for seven carries covering 38 yards before
the drive stalled.
A strong Tim Homan punt pushed O-G back to its own 34-yard line
with just 12 seconds to play in the game when two incomplete
passes hit the ground and sealed the win for Celina.
“We moved people on the drive at the end of the game and
the kids knew that we had to take some time off the clock,”
“We used our timeouts earlier in the second half and that
hurt us late in the game when they were taking time off of the
clock,” said Schriner.
Kelly Mallory got Celina on the board in the first quarter on
a 12-yard touchdown run. O-G’s Derek Patrick carried the
ball a game-high 25 times for a game-high 144 yards and one
score to pace the Titans offense.
Celina is back in action on Friday at home against Defiance
while O-G hosts Shawnee.