CELINA - The Celina football team ended up 7-3 in 2017, finishing up 7-2 in the rugged Western Buckeye League.
A trio of all-WBL honorees will be called upon to pace the 2018 edition of the Bulldogs.
Up front, 3-year starter Seth Huston (6-1, 285, senior) will lead the way on both sides of the football, blocking for honorable-mention pick at quarterback in senior Brett Schwieterman (5-9, 155; 93 of 149 passing, 1,456 yards, 15 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 173.3 passer rating, good for best in the WBL; 153 carries, 963 yards, 5 scores) and second-team all-WBL running back Kyle Zizelman (5-9, 170, senior; 143 rushes, 854 yards, 10 scores).
“We have an experienced team coming back. We have 15 seniors, most of whom have played varsity for two and three years,” head coach Brennen Bader said. “We also have a good group of juniors and sophomores that have a lot of experience.
“We closed last season very well and we’re trying to pick back up where we closed last fall. It took us a while to figure out what we did well last season and we want to continue that this fall.”
Among the veterans back to familiar spots offensively are receiver Jordan Song (5-9, 155, junior), Cooper Jones (6-3, 195, sophomore), senior receiver Grant Wagner (5-9, 155), senior receiver Isaac Connolly (6-2, 160), senior running back Chase Stephens (5-11, 165), senior center Logan Binkley (5-10, 220), junior tackle Cole Robbins (6-4, 245) and senior tackle Kyle Stein (6-1, 190).
“We use a multiple offensive scheme. We’ve tried to make it harder for the defense to play against us,” Bader said. “We try to develop more weapons offensively in order to do just that. We are an option-based system that we’ve run for several seasons but we try to be more varied.
“We feel we have some outstanding skill players that we want to put in space and take advantage of their skills. Cooper, at 6-3, is an example of that.”
Expecting to play big roles on the offense are varsity newcomers such as senior receiver Bransen Miller 5-11, 175).
The Bulldogs will use a 4-2-5 scheme on defense.
“We went to this scheme at the beginning of last season and it took us a tome to get up to speed. We started to play better as we got more used to what we were doing on that side of the ball,” Bader said. “We are trying to pick right back up where we left off last year; we’re so much better off at this point than last year at this time.
“What also helps us is we have so few guys going both ways. We have the veterans but we’re going to try and rotate people in as well.”
Among the veterans back from last fall on that side of the ball are junior Drake Langenkamp (6-5, 225, junior), safety Jaxson Stillman (6-0, 185, sophomore), linebacker Logan Muhlenkamp (6-1, 170, senior), lineman Cory Fortkamp (5-9, 205, junior) and junior lineman Cayden Thomson (6-0, 230, junior).
“We are very excited about our team, especially our young guys. Our theme this year is whatever it takes,” Bader said.