CELINA — Celina had the last chance.
Down 24-17 with a little more than three minutes left to play in the game, Celina drove down the field and cut the Ottawa-Glandorf lead to 1, 24-23 with 27.9 seconds left to play, on a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cooper Jones to Quinn Andrew.
Now, the big decision came.
Does Celina kick the extra point and force overtime, or does it go for the two-point conversion and the win?
The Bulldogs went for the two-point conversion, and the pass from Jones went wide of his target in the end zone, giving O-G the hard-fought one-point victory on the road.
O-G came into Friday’s WBL tilt, undefeated in league play at 4-0, 4-1 overall. Celina entered the contest 2-2 in WBL action and 3-2 overall.
St. Marys defeated Kenton Friday night, 39-34, to give O-G sole possession of first place in the WBL. Kenton entered Friday night’s game with St. Marys with the only other unblemished league record.
“It’s a four-quarter game,” longtime O-G head coach Ken Schriner said. “We knew in the first half that we made mistakes. We’re driving and we fumble the ball. … It’s a killer.
“Our defense – as much as they were giving up yards, they found a way to shut them down in the end. I guess that’s all it takes – is to be ahead by one at the end. … That’s all it was. It wasn’t pretty.”
After a Celina three-and-out on the first possession of the game, O-G took over and mounted a 7-play, 57-yard scoring drive. Jarrod Beach ran it in from two yards out to get the Titans on the scoreboard. With the point after by Ethan Alt, O-G led 7-0, just a little more than five minutes into the contest.
O-G’s seven-point lead held up to the end of the first quarter.
Celina went on an 11-play, 59-yard scoring drive, early in the second quarter to finally get on the scoreboard. Jaxson Silliman ran it in from four yards out. With the point after by Ethan Dirksen, the game was knotted at 7 apiece.
Before the halftime break, Celina put together a 14-play, 62-yard scoring drive to take a 14-7 lead. Silliman capped off the drive with a 4-yard scamper to the end zone.
Right before the break, O-G’s Alt kicked a 29-yard field goal to cut the deficit to four points.
For the first half, Silliman rushed for 57 yards on 14 carries.
For O-G, Clayton Recker led the way in the first half with 92 yards rushing on 10 carries. For the game, Recker rushed for 171 yards on 18 carries.
O-G quarterback Jacob Balbaugh was 3-of-5 passing for 55 yards. Brennan Blevins caught a pass from Balbaugh for a 53-yard gain in the first half.
For the game, Balbaugh was 6-of-10 passing for 125 yards, with a TD pass and an interception.
O-G recaptured the lead late in the third quarter.
The Titans drove 71 yards on eight plays. Balbaugh found Will Kaufman open for a 6-yard TD pass. With the extra point, the Titans led 17-14 with 1:10 left to play in the third quarter. That score held up to the third stop.
The Titans struck again, just seconds into the fourth quarter.
Recker had back-to-back runs of 26 and 27 yards on that drive. The latter run found pay dirt for Recker. With the extra point, O-G led 24-14.
But Celina wasn’t done.
The Bulldogs mounted a 15-play drive which resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Ethan Dirksen, cutting the O-G lead to 24-17 with 5:29 left to play in the game.
“It was a swing (of momentum) type of game,” Schriner said. “It went back and forth. And that’s how most of our games have been this year. Our kids kept battling. Celina played their hearts out, tonight. So, we’re happy to get out of here with a win.’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.