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Bi-District Bobcat Battle: Celina outlasts Krum 58-27
By Townsend Keller, Special to the Record
DENTON -- In the first helping of area playoff action, the Celina Bobcats outlasted the Krum Bobcats 58-27 in a game of two different halves.
Celina held only a 31-27 lead at halftime before scoring 27 unanswered points to secure the bi-district win.
The first ever meeting between the two teams started favorably for Celina, as senior kicker Aaron Reedy kicked off the first-half scoring with a 35-yard field goal. But Krum struck back quickly, as quarterback Caz Wojciack capped off a 61-yard drive with a 25-yard strike to receiver Zack Hughes.
In the final seconds of the first quarter, junior halfback DeShawn Davis raced 95 yards to the end zone only to be undone by Celina’s most challenging adversary of the evening: penalties. Celina ended the night with 16 penalties for 146 yards, the bulk of which came in the first half.
“We just talked about at halftime that it was our mistakes that were keeping Krum in the game,” said head coach Bill Elliot. “We were getting the selfish penalties, the personal fouls. We’ve got to quit that. That was the main adjustment we made that we’ve got to quit playing as selfish people and play as a team.”
“A lot of it was selfish mistakes that we were doing, we were being penalized for our stupidity,” said Damian Umana, senior linebacker. “That’s something we can all cut out as a team and play for each other as a family instead of individuals.”
After Sims added a 2-yard touchdown run, Wojciak brought Krum back with his arm as he hit Tanner Rankin on a 16-yard pass and Brennan Ellis on a 2-yard score the following drive. Celina, which gave up 200 passing yards to Argyle last week, again looked susceptible in pass defense.
“Again, it was discipline,” Umana said. “We were doing the simple things wrong, that we were coached. So we just weren’t doing the little things right like we’re supposed to.”
Sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott again put Celina in the lead, hooking up with junior halfback Connor Torbert on a 9-yard pass.
But Krum, who secured a playoff berth after their first varsity season, displayed the scrappiness that got them into the postseason as Jake Fleckenstein took a reverse 33 yards to the house to seemingly give Krum the halftime lead.
Celina wasn't having any of it though, as the Bobcats drove 41 yards in 54 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown after Elliott connected with sophomore halfback Cash Conder on a 12-yard pass.
“They rose up,” coach Elliott said. “We really talked about how this is Celina time, this is the time Celina rises up when we get to the playoffs.”
Celina’s time would be the second half, where the Bobcats posted 27 unanswered points on Krum.
“We just talked about in the locker room how we need to come out and eliminate those penalties,” said Dalton Hamilton, senior defensive back. “How we needed to come out stronger and hard because they had a lot of momentum.”
Davis kicked off the onslaught on a 1-yard scoring run on Celina’s opening drive of the second half. Celina's defense then forced a Krum fumble and Elliott only needed one play to make them pay for it, hitting a 30-yard strike to Conder. Elliott finished his passing night 7-of-14 for 128 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Conder was also the lead receiver, hauling in three passes for 49 yards and two scores.
In the final quarter, Davis added a 26-yard jaunt to the end zone, wrapping up his night with 159 yards on 11 attempts for two scores and one lost fumble. Sims closed out the night’s scoring with a 61-yard dash to paydirt for his third touchdown of the night.
Wojciak finished 6-of-11 for 81 yards, three touchdowns and an interception but didn’t complete a pass the entire second half. Reed Flores led Krum in production with 13 rushing attempts for 105 yards.
The night then took a somber turn as Krum linebacker Morgan Sprayberry sustained a serious leg injury that required him to be taken from the stadium in an ambulance. Despite a physical game that got chippy at times, Celina and Krum players alike came to Sprayberry’s side as he was taken off the field on a stretcher.
“It all comes down to the kids and what the kids learn, and what they’re able to do and sportsmanship,” coach Elliot said. “Krum is a great example of that. Our kids are a great example of that. They were praying for the kid and encouraging him and patting him on the back. He’s a great player and you hate to see that on a kid, especially late in the game like that and hopefully he’s going to be OK.”
With the victory Celina now gears up for a showdown with Dallas Madison in an area-round matchup.
“They’re going to have a lot of speed, they’ve got a lot of skill kids and we’re going to have to look and see what we can do,” coach Elliott said. “Maybe try to keep the football away from them and try to contain them a little bit.”
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