By Tim Cox
Celina made some big plays, missed barely on a couple of others and Ottawa-Glandorf caught all the breaks and bounces en route to a 40-20 victory over the Bulldogs.
Statistically, the game was a dead heat, but a couple of overthrown passes and some untimely turnovers kept the Bulldogs from contending.
The 20 points were the most the undefeated Titans have allowed in one game all season after posting three consecutive shutouts. But there were no moral victories for Celina head coach Mike Fell, who saw the game as one of missed opportunities.
"We missed a couple of huge opportunities to score touchdowns," Fell said. "Nothing really went our way tonight."
Celina missed two key chances to keep the heat on the Titans late in the game with O-G, ranked third in Division IV in the latest Associated Press state poll, leading 33-14. The Bulldogs were set up with first-and-goal at the O-G nine-yard line following a 45-yard run on a reverse by Jordan Heuker. But quarterback Erik Chapin was stuffed four straight times, losing 15 yards in the process. The Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs and the Titans responded with a touchdown drive to take control by a score of 40-14.
Celina's following drive was derailed when a long Chapin pass to Zach Sams caromed off the receiver and was intercepted by O-G.
Celina scored late on a spectacular 75-yard run by Andy Ball but the Titans recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the game.
Celina briefly led the game 7-6 in the first half before the Titans put together some solid scoring drives. The Bulldogs missed a scoring chance when Chapin put too much air under a pass intended for a wide open Hueker and it was tipped away in the end zone by an O-G defender.
Also in the first half, the Titans muffed a punt that fell to the turf in the vicinity of two Bulldogs. The lone Titan player in the scrum came up with the loose ball, dashing another chance for Celina to get back in the game.
"Those things happen against good football teams," Fell said.
For O-G head coach Ken Schriner, the Titans' dream season continues as the team moves to 8-0 on the year. Schriner said he can tell that other teams are gunning hard to knock his squad from its perch atop the Western Buckeye League standings.
"We've put ourselves in this position with a big bullseye on our chest. When everybody's gunning for you, you have to take care of business," Schriner said. "We're not taking anything for granted right now. The only game we're thinking about is our next game."
By the numbers, the game could not have been much closer. Celina piled up 445 yards of total offense to O-G's 399. The Bulldogs had 318 rushing yards with Chapin leading the way with 109 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs quarterback was also 10-of-19 passing for 127 yards.
On his lone touchdown pass, Chapin fought off a heavy blitz to find Andy Harner on a middle screen. Harner took the dump off and scampered 29 yards for the score.
"Celina has an outstanding quarterback. he did a great job," Schriner said.
Chapin was sacked six times but also worked out of heavy pressure several times to make big plays. O-G signal caller Jay Laubenthal was 9-of-15 for 133 yards and one touchdown. Chad Ellerbrock led the Titans with 137 yards rushing with Matt Quinn piling up 79 yards on the ground.
"The yardage was ugly but the outcome was good," Schriner said.
Celina falls to 3-5 on the year.