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The Daily



10-11-03: Blocked PAT proves costly


Brian Gagle’s second touchdown pass of the season to Tim Homan appeared to give Celina a tying score late in the third quarter against Defiance on Friday night at Celina Stadium.
Defiance prevented the tie with a brilliant special teams play as Nolan Killion blocked the ensuing extra-point kick and the Blue and White Bulldogs handled things the rest of the way in a 21-20 win over Celina.
Defiance improves to 6-2 overall on the season and 5-2 in the Western Buckeye League while Celina falls to 4-4 overall and 3-4 in league play.
Special teams hasn’t been a strong point for Celina this season and Defiance must have seen it on films when head coach Jerry Buti called the play for his squad.
“We had Dan Orta (who weighs 340 yards) take on two guys and then had Nolan come flying in to try and block the kick behind him,” explained the Defiance mentor. “You have to give Dan Orta credit for that play. He asked me in practice why we never run our kick block play and I told him that’s because I forget about the play. I didn’t forget about it this week and it paid off. Dan cleared out the middle and Nolan is quick and made a nice play.”
“We were so concerned with Orta (Dan) that we kind of let a guy come right up the gut,” said a disappointed Celina head coach Mike Fell after the game. “I’m sure that it’s a play that they called from the sidelines and they executed it very well.”
From that point on, the defenses for both teams dominated play. Celina held strong on a goal line stand and forced one fumble to contain Defiance but a late interception with 1:31 left in the game by Brandon Gazarek put the game away for good.
Celina’s defense was strong against the WBL’s best rushing offense allowing just 178 total yards and limiting Robert Orta to 92 hard-earned yards on 26 carries.
Defiance wide receiver L.J. Helton was the difference in the game until the fourth quarter when the senior wideout was injured and taken off the field on a stretcher.
“L.J. is our go-to guy on our team and he has been here starting for two years and those are the type of guys that you go to in tight situations like we had tonight,” said Buti. “He’s a pressure player that had some big plays on catches. L.J. was always okay, it was a just a precautionary move on our part.”
Helton certainly did his damage before the injury occurred as he caught six passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Celina countered with its standout wide receiver, Tim Homan, who caught six balls for 101 yards and two scores. Homan’s first score on the night came on one of Celina’s three successful trick plays.
Trailing 14-6 with 1:01 left in the second quarter, Gagle threw a pass to Andy Harner near the sidelines, who then aired out a pass down the sidelines to a wide open Homan who raced 60 yards for a score. Gagle ran the ball in for a two-point conversion to tie the score at 14-14.
Defiance decided to play aggressively with just 45 seconds left on the clock in the first half. Will Swary reeled off a 13-yard gainer and then Austin Keel connected with Helton through the air twice for 41 yards moving the ball down to the Celina 18-yard line.
Three straight incomplete passes and a fall start penalty moved the ball back to the 23-yard line and brought up a fourth-and-15 situation for Defiance with just one second to go before halftime.
Defiance made the most of that one second as Keel hit Helton on a deep post for 23-yard score giving the Blue and White a 21-14 lead at halftime.
“That was the play of the game tonight,” said Fell. “We can’t give up touchdown like that with no time left on the clock, but you have to credit Defiance because they made the catch in the end zone.”
“We had a lot of chances to put the final nail in the coffin against them in the second half, but to Celina’s credit, they battled us the whole way,” said Buti. “It almost ended up being disastrous for us by missing out on those opportunities. We did make good on a huge play before halftime on that pass and L.J. made a great play on a nice pass from Austin.”


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