High school football: Wapakoneta tops Celina for share of WBL title

WAPAKONETA — Celina had already earned a piece of the Western Buckeye League title, heading into the final week of the regular season.

Wapakoneta wanted its share.

Celina came into Friday’s showdown against Wapakoneta, 8-0 in the WBL and 8-1 overall. Wapakoneta had a league mark of 7-1, and 7-2 in all games.

Friday night, Wapakoneta powered its way to a convincing 30-3 victory against Celina to notch a share of the WBL title at Mercy Health/Wapak Ford Field at Harmon Stadium.

With the win over Celina, Wapakoneta recorded its fifth consecutive WBL title (excluding the 2020 shortened COVID season) – and its eighth league crown in the past nine full seasons (excluding 2020).

Celina won its first WBL title since the 1995 campaign.

“From our standpoint, our first goal each and every year is to win a WBL championship,” Wapakoneta head coach Travis Moyer said. “Obviously, we were fortunate to win the last five (WBL titles) – then, I believe eight out of the last 10 (counting COVID season). … So, it’s very special.”

As a team, Wapakoneta rushed for 252 yards Friday. Jace Knous led the Redskins with 167 rushing yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns.

Wapakoneta quarterback, sophomore Caleb Moyer, Travis Moyer’s son, was 5 of 5 passing for 93 yards with a TD pass to Grant Jolly (five catches, 93 yards).

Moyer also rushed for 31 yards on seven carries and had a 1-yard TD run.

Wapakoneta jumped out to a 7-0 lead Friday, midway through the first quarter.

After a muffed punt by Celina, Wapakoneta took full advantage of the short field by traveling 28 yards on eight plays for the first score of the night. Knous capped off the short scoring drive with a 2-yard TD run.

“Our special teams made a big play and gave us a short field, and we were able to capitalize on that,” Moyer said.

Wapakoneta recorded its second score of the contest, just three minutes into the second quarter, on a 1-yard TD run by Moyer to extend the lead to 13-0. Moyer’s TD scamper capped off a 13-play, 67-yard scoring drive for the Redskins.

Celina registered its only points of the game, late in the second quarter on a 28-yard field goal by Zach Greber, making it 13-3 Wapakoneta.

The Redskins were not finished.

Wapakoneta managed to score 10 more points before the halftime break.

With 2:17 left in the first half, Moyer connected with Jolly for a 37-yard TD reception, pushing the lead to 20-3 after Kyle Beach’s point-after.

Then, in the closing moments of the first half, Beach booted a 34-yard field goal to give Wapakoneta a 23-3 lead heading into the halftime break.

Wapakoneta rounded out the scoring, early in the fourth quarter with a 4-yard TD run by Knous. The Redskins traveled an impressive 99 yards on that scoring drive.

For the game, Wapakoneta moved the first-down marker 15 times. Celina recorded 11 first downs.

“I’m just really proud at how we executed on offense, tonight,” Moyer said. “I thought we ran the ball exceptionally well. I thought Caleb (Moyer, quarterback) made great decisions with the ball in his hand, tonight. I really credit our entire offense on how we played. I thought in the second half, that was a championship drive (last scoring drive). We get the ball and drive it 99 yards down the field (for a TD). So, I really credit all three phases tonight.”

Parker Bertke led Celina with 35 rushing yards on seven carries. Braylon Gabes added 33 yards on seven touches. As a team, Celina ended the game with 92 rushing yards.

Celina’s passing game was kept in check as the two quarterbacks that were utilized (Braylon Gabes and Bobby Morris) combined for 4 of 9 passing for 68 yards.

Wapakoneta (8-2, 8-1 WBL) and Celina (8-2, 8-1 WBL) will wait and see who they will face in the first round of the postseason playoffs next Friday.

“I just can’t say enough about this team,” Moyer said. “Obviously, we continued to fight all year. We got off to a tough start – played some very good teams, early on. The message, early to our guys, was that we needed to fight and execute. They’ve done that for the past eight weeks. I’m just really, really proud of each and every one of them.

“I’m really proud of our coaches. They’ve put a lot of time in, to put our guys in the right position to be successful. I’m just really proud of our entire program.”

Game summary

Score by quarters:

Celina 0 3 0 0 – 3

Wapakoneta 7 16 0 7 – 30


Wapakoneta– Jace Knous 2 run (Kyle Beach kick)

Wapakoneta–Caleb Moyer 2 run (kick failed)

Celina–Zach Greber 28-yard field goal

Wapakoneta – Grant Jolly 37 pass from Caleb Moyer (Kyle Beach kick)

Wapakoneta – Kyle Beach 34-yard field goal

Wapakoneta – Jace Knous 4 run (Kyle Beach kick)

Celina Wapakoneta

11 First downs 15

160 Total yardage 345

92 Rushing yardage 252

68 Passing yardage 93

4-9-1 Passing (Com-Att-Int) 5-5-0

1-1 Fumbles-Lost 1-0

3-36.x0 Punts-Average 1-43.0

3-15 Penalties-Yards 5-43

Individual leaders:

Passing: Celina-Braylon Gabes 1-2-35; Wapakoneta-Caleb Moyer 5-5-93.

Rushing: Celina-Parker Bertke 7-35; Wapakoneta-Jace Knous 27-167.

Receiving: Celina-Zander Jones 1-35;Wapakoneta-Grant Jolly 5-93.