High school football: Celina stifles Elida 17-3

ELIDA – Celina’s defense shut down the Elida running game.

And that brought a halt to Elida’s perfect record.

Celina notched a 17-3 victory over Elida Friday at Elida’s Kraft Stadium.

Celina scored 17 in the second quarter to grab a 17-0 lead.

Elida was playing without its starting quarterback Larkin Henderson, who suffered a right (throwing) shoulder injury last Friday against Bath.

“You can’t replace a kid like Larkin Henderson in a week,” Elida coach Kyle Harmon said. “He’s a tough kid and gutty. Jackson Covault came in and had a good week of practice. We just didn’t get the job done tonight.

“Their defense is a tough group of kids. They’re a physical football team. They took a lot of things away from us with their athleticism and their physicality.’’

Backup quarterback Jackson Covault stepped in at quarterback for Henderson.

Covault ended up completing 8 of 27 for 71 yards. He threw three interceptions, two to Landon Ackley.

Covault also had 16 yards on 11 carries.

Elida’s top rusher, Brady Kirk, was held to 17 yards on five carries.

Overall, Celina held Elida to 33 yards rushing.

“Their D-line is extremely physical,” Harmon said.

Elida is 4-1, 3-1 in the Western Buckeye League. Celina is 3-2, 3-1 in the WBL.

Celina was 1-9 last year.

“It’s a credit to our players,” Celina coach Brennen Bader said. “They bought into our culture. The last couple of years we struggled, but they kept working every day. I’m proud of our kids and it’s a huge win. Elida was 4-0.’’

Celina was paced by quarterback Nick Adams, who completed 6 of 14 for 153 yards and one TD.

“What people don’t know is he (Adams) had the flu real bad today,” Bader said. “He hydrated all day and he balled out. He was dialed in and made the throws he had to make.’’

Adam Faber had two catches for 82 yards, with a 74-yard TD.

Zander Jones led Celina on the ground with 34 yards on 13 carries.

Ackley had 33 yards on 10 carries.

Celina took a 3-0 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Logan Billerman with 11:51 left in the second quarter. That capped a 15-play, 79-yard drive.

Celina’s defense then made a huge play to set up its second score.

On the second play of the Elida drive, Covault’s pass was picked off by Braylen Gabes at the Elida 37 and returned 36 yards to the Elida 1.

“That was a huge play,” Bader said of the interception.

Celina’s Ackley plowed over from the 1 and Celina pushed its lead to 10-0 with 10:45 left in the second quarter.

Celina’s next score came via a big play on offense.

Celina quarterback Adams connected with a wide-open Faber for a 74-yard post pass TD.

That gave Celina a 17-0 lead with 6:52 left in the second quarter.

“We felt like their safeties were getting pretty aggressive coming up, so we thought that might be a chance to take. And we hit it.’’

The TD pass was the third play of the drive, which covered 78 yards.

By halftime, Adams completed 4 of 9 for 108 yards and one TD.

Elida’s only score came on a 31-yard field goal by Grant Hardeman with 43 seconds to play.

Harmon said Henderson will be “re-evaluated every week.

“It’s touch and go from here on out,” Harmon said. “We’re not exactly sure (if he’ll be back at quarterback or another position).’’

Tom Usher wrote this story for The Lima News. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.