CELINA — Coming into Friday’s game against Wapakoneta, Celina was ranked the No. 1 team in total team offense in the Western Buckeye League, averaging 458 yards a game.
Still, the Redskins smothered the Bulldog offense and limited Celina to 121 total yards and no points en route to a 35-0 victory Friday night.
Wapakoneta improves to 5-1 in the WBL and 6-1 overall and keeps its hopes alive for a league championship. With the loss, Celina saw its title hopes dashed and fall to 4-3 on the season and 3-3 in the league.
Redskin coach Travis Moyer gave credit to his coaching staff for preparing and producing the shutout. Moyer said two big fourth down plays at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half were instrumental in keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone and allowing Celina to generate any type of momentum offensively.
“I thought that was key,” Moyer said. “We knew coming in they were a really explosive offense, and they have the ability to score from anywhere on the field and a variety of different ways. I thought our defense was exceptional tonight, and when we needed stops we got them.”
With an unrelenting approach, the Redskins stuffed Celina’s running game and held the usually potent Bulldog runners in check all night long. Kyle Zizelman, who came into the game averaging six yards a carry and 99.8 yards a game, was held to 49 yards on 15 carries.
Celina coach Brennan Bader said Wapakoneta came in with a little bit of revenge on its mind after the Bulldogs beat them last year in overtime, as well as keeping their eye on the WBL prize.
“They’re a very good team, and our kids knew that, but we made a lot of mistakes and did not put ourselves in situations to give ourselves a chance to succeed, especially early on,” Bader said.
While the Redskin defense was dismantling and manhandling the Celina offense, the Redskin running machine was firing on all cylinders. It took about a quarter for the Redskins to heat up, but once Wapakoneta’s offense started going it became unstoppable.
Redskin running back Evan Kaeck was the Redskin workhorse. The bruising back accounted for 197 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns. Kaeck’s three scores helped Wapakoneta jump out to a 21-0 halftime lead.
“Defensively we didn’t get settled down and aligned correctly the first few series, and when we had chances to get off the field we didn’t. If we could have given our offense a couple of opportunities, who knows if we punch one in early and maybe we hang in there and give ourselves a chance in the second half,” Bader said. “Ultimately they just started to impose their will in the second half, and we couldn’t get off the field and give our offense a chance.”
Running back Riley Gibson and quarterback Brady Erb complemented Kaeck’s bruising style with quick runs around the end. Erb worked the read option for 86 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown, and Gibson addded 55 yards on 10 carries.
“We wanted to be balanced with our run game going in and outside, and I thought we did a good job of establishing that early,” Moyer said. “Our offensive line did a good job blocking up front, and guys made plays when they were in open field, and that is really important.”
The success of the running game started up front for the the boys in the trenches. Moyer said the work put in by Nate Ambos, Jeffrey Plaugher, Brenan Knueve, Devin McBride, Isaac Meeks and Tyler Shroyer was instrumental in the Redskins sustaining clock-chewing drives that kept the potent Celina offense off the field.
“I was really proud of that group tonight,” Moyer said. “We had to shuffle some guys up front, and they played really well as a unit.”
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