Sports > Schools
Back for more: Bobcats eliminated in similar fashion
Celina had a rare opportunity at postseason payback during its regional semifinals matchup this season.
The Bobcats were eliminated from the playoffs a year ago at the hands of Henderson in a 42-19 loss that featured a 28-point halftime deficit. History repeated itself, with Henderson bouncing Celina in consecutive postseasons with a 64-35 victory on Nov. 30.
“[Henderson’s] strength and size eventually wore us down,” said Bill Elliott, Celina head coach.
Unlike the first loss, Celina went toe-to-toe with Henderson in the opening half and carried a 20-16 advantage into the locker room. However, sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott reaggravated an ankle injury just before halftime and was relegated to a one-dimensional passer in the second half.
“[Henderson] knew they didn’t have to worry about him running anymore,” coach Elliott said.
The sophomore had a 29-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and finished the game with 43 yards on seven carries. However, without the signal caller’s mobility in the second half, Henderson outscored the Bobcats 48-15 in the final 24 minutes.
“We felt like we controlled the game in the first half,” coach Elliott said. “Things just didn’t go our way in that second half.”
With Celina’s quarterback hobbled, the Bobcats were led by junior running back Deshawn Davis in the second half. Davis finished the night with 173 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while also catching a 15-yard pass.
Elliott finished his night with 176 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions after completing 14-of-24 pass attempts.
The 64-35 loss ended Celina’s season with a 10-3 mark.
“You always want to have more success, especially at Celina,” coach Elliott said. “We always have such big expectations here.”
The 10-win year came on the heels of an 18-13 season-opening loss to Melissa that sparked an eight-game winning streak.
“This is just a great group of kids,” coach Elliott said. “They knew what they wanted to do after that and went to fighting for it. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys.”
Contributing to the eight-game streak was a 3-0 start against District 10-3A teams that featured blowout wins over Carrollton Ranchview, Frisco Lone Star and Aubrey. However, the Bobcats met a talented Argyle team in the district finale and dropped a 45-7 contest that determined the 10-3A championship.
“Argyle is a good team,” coach Elliott said. “They had something like 24 juniors on their team this year too, so they will be very competitive next year.”
For the Bobcats, five starters return on each side of the ball, including a majority of the skill positions on offense.
“We’ll have all three running backs, Nathan with a huge amount of experience and some big linemen,” coach Elliott said.
The defense takes the biggest hit with brothers Jake and Josh Raulerson graduating, along with safety Micah Nelson and others.
“A lot of young kids are going to have to step up next year,” coach Elliott said.
The team will also have to replace leading receiver Ben Thiel, who finished his senior campaign with 44 receptions for 810 yards and 10 touchdowns. Thiel also returned kicks and punts and had 95 yards on 11 carries for the ground game.
However, with a run-oriented offense returning Elliott under center and multiple weapons in the backfield, the Bobcats should be in position for another district run against Argyle.
“I imagine it will be [Celina and Argyle] again,” coach Elliott said. “It’s going to be a very competitive district.”