By Ryan Hines
ELIDA -- A late Elida rally was wasted when the home team botched the snap on a potential game-tying field goal, handing Celina a 10-7 win in Western Buckeye League football action at Kraft Memorial Field on Friday.
Elida drove 55 yards in the span of 2:30 late in the fourth quarter allowing the home team to line up for a 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds left on the clock.
Brooks Mohr, a special mention all-Ohio selection last year as a special teams standout, was set for the kick, but teammate Adam Fletcher bounced the snap back to the holder and Mohr never got a chance at the game-tying field goal as Celina's Eric Link recovered the fumble.
Celina (2-4, 2-3 WBL) won its second game of the season, but you wouldn't have known it after talking to head coach Jerry Harris after the game.
"This game was a game with two teams struggling and it basically came down to who made the last mistake," said Harris. "We make every mistake that an inexperienced and inopportunistic team can make. You name it and we covered it all tonight. "There were two teams that didn't play very well on that field tonight and one of them has to go home not as unhappy as the other one," added Harris. "That's us."
On the other side of the ledger, Elida (0-5, 0-4 WBL) head coach Chris Etzler was clearly disappointed following the heartbreaking three-point loss.
"We should have kicked the field goal," muttered Etzler while walking toward the media after the game. "I just didn't think that it was a good angle (left hash mark with line of scrimmage being the three-yard line). I just wasn't comfortable with that. I thought that if we go for it and don't get it that it would put them at their own three-yard line and in a tough position."
The field goal that Etzler was talking about came on the first play of the fourth quarter when Elida had the ball on the Celina three-yard line and decided to go for six points on a fourth-down situation despite having a potential college kicker on the roster.
Instead of a game-tying field goal, Elida tried to throw a pass on the fourth down and Celina's Zach Sams knocked the ball away keeping the three-point advantage for the visitors intact.
Opportunities were there for Elida to win its first game of the season, but mistakes came back to haunt the home team according to Etzler.
"Once we got something going, we always seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot somehow," pointed out Etzler. "That's what happens with inexperience at times. We've been getting better each week and we got better this week, we just need to get over the hump."
Elida had its first lead of the 2006 season when the home team took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards on 13 plays before Tyler Bly hit paydirt on a one-yard scoring plunge. Mohr added the PAT kick and Elida was in front 7-0.
"'After that first drive I was thinking that this game was going to go like our whole season has so far," stated Harris.
On Elida's next series, Schuyler Crowe fumbled the ball and Sams recovered it for Celina at the Elida 44-yard line. It was all running for Celina on this drive as John Bonvillian capped the nine-play drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Bonvillian, who rushed for a game-high 110 yards on a career-high 23 carries, also ran in a two-point conversion to put Celina ahead 8-7 just 30 seconds into the second quarter.
Bonvillian later came up big on defense sacking Elida's C.J. Warren for a seven-yard loss which led to an attempted punt for Elida from its own seven-yard line. Special teams gave Celina a spark just before half as Brandon Koontz broke through the middle of Elida's blockers on punt team and blocked a punt that bounced through the back of the end zone for a safety giving the Green and White a 10-7 lead.
"Every week you practice things like that and then say maybe this would be a good time to use it," said Harris. "We thought that maybe punt team wasn't their strength and this time it worked for us to get through and block it."