AUBREY — Head coach Mike Segleski talked to his team before and after the game about using Celina as a measuring stick.
The Chaparrals more than measured up for a half, giving state-ranked Celina all it could handle. But the second half was a different story as the Bobcats used their size, depth and experience to capitalize on Aubrey miscues and pull away for a 39-20 victory at Chaparral Stadium on Friday night.
“Celina is known for their defense, and we couldn’t seem to get more than a couple first downs at a time or sustain drives,” Segleski said. “Celina is good for a reason, and that’s where we want to get, too.”
The Bobcats (7-1, 3-0 District 10-3A) broke open a 13-6 game at the half with a dominating defense and methodical offensive drives in the third quarter. Celina held the ball for just under eight minutes in the quarter and held Aubrey to minus-13 yards on its six offensive plays.
Justin Leshowitz helped Celina pull away on the first play of the second half, pouncing on an Aubrey fumble and returning it 28 yards for a touchdown. The Chaps (2-5, 0-3) answered right back on a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Brylen Williams, keeping Aubrey within striking distance at 20-14.
But Celina countered with a seven-play, 68-yard scoring drive that Deshawn Davis capped with a touchdown run from the 1 to push its lead to 27-14. The Bobcats maintained momentum from there, sacking Williams for a safety three plays later and adding a Fabian Aguirre 37-yard field goal on their ensuing possession to grab a commanding 32-14 lead.
“They brought a serious fight to us, but I think our physical nature did pay off at the end,” Celina head coach Bill Elliott said. “It’s hard for teams to beat us with just big plays; you’ve got to be more consistent on offense.”
Consistency was hard for the Chaps to find with Williams making his first start at quarterback. The senior didn’t complete his first pass until 10:58 remained in the game, Aubrey receivers dropped a couple balls and the team amassed 126 yards in penalties and five turnovers.
The mistakes eventually added up and wasted a solid defensive performance in a first half that saw Aubrey jump out to a 6-0 lead on dazzling 56-yard touchdown run by Williams and stay in the game by holding Celina’s vaunted offense to only 13 points and nine first downs.
“We knew it was a must-win situation for us [to stay in the playoff hunt], and we came out and gave them all we got. But when you play a team like that, you can’t make mistakes like that and expect to come out with a win.”
Celina 39, Aubrey 20
A — Brylen Williams 56 run (conversion failed)
C — Nathan Elliott 13 run (Fabian Aguirre kick)
C — Willie Sims 7 run (kick failed)
C — Justin Leshowitz 28-fumble return (Aguirre kick)
A — Williams 95 kickoff return (Daniel Longhenry rum)
C — Deshawn Davis 1 run (Aguirre kick)
C — safety
C — Aguirre 37-yard FG
A — Matt Davis 4 run (conversion failed) 10:03
C — Torbert 7 run (Aguirre kick) 0:32
Rushing — C: Nathan Elliott 15-54, Willie Sims 6-14, Connor Torbert 13-71; Deshawn Davis 9-94, Ben Thiel 2-(-3); Nick Grant 2-11, Cash Conder 3-3; A: Brylen Williams 12-96, Daniel Longhenry 4-13, Anthony Alford 5-33, Matt Davis 2-5
Passing — C: Nathan Elliott 8-18-0 113; A: Brylen Williams 3-15-3 52
Receiving — C: Ben Thiel 2-33, Willie Sims 3-20, Nick Grant 1-15, Connor Torbert 2-34, Blake Pasqua 1-11; A: Tanner Buxton 1-26, Robert DeLaTorre 2-33