For 24 minutes on Thursday night, the new kid on the Class 3A football block put a major scare into perhaps the most tradition-rich program in the most revered high school football state in the country.
When Krum quarterback Caz Wojciak hit Zack Hughes for a 25-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-2 from to give Krum an early lead over Celina, it looked as if Krum might just knock off the eight-time state champions.
Then came the second half.
Celina (9-2) scored with 27 seconds left in the half to take a lead before reeling off 27 unanswered points in the second half end Krum’s Cinderella season with a 58-27 victory.
“I think we just got a little worn down,” Krum head coach Greg Robinson said. “They’re big and strong. They’ve been doing this a long time, and we’ve been pretty much doing it for one year, you could say.”
Krum finished 9-2 after starting the season 9-0 in its first full varsity season and first season in Class 3A after moving up from 2A in February’s realignment.
Celina head coach Bill Elliott said his team might have been suffering from a bit of a hangover after last week’s 45-7 loss to Argyle in the regular-season finale, and it showed with a sloppy first half.
Celina committed 11 penalties for 115 yards in the first half alone to help keep Krum alive in the game, and Krum made Celina pay for its mistakes.
Wojciak finished the first half with just five completions, but three of them went for touchdowns to Hughes, Tanner Rankin and Connor Torbert.
Wojciak finished the game with 20 carries for 75 yards and 6-of-12 passing for 83 yards, an interception and the three first-half touchdowns. Krum turned the ball over four times — all in the second half.
It appeared as if Krum would take a lead into halftime against the state powerhouse when Jake Fleckenstein took a perfectly executed reverse 33 yards to the end zone with just 1:18 remaining in the half, but Celina scored with under a minute to play to take the 31-27 halftime lead.
“We just talked at halftime that it was our mistakes keeping Krum in the game with the selfish penalties we were getting,” Elliott said. “We had to quit that. That was the main adjustment we made is that we had to quit playing so selfish and play as a team and eliminate those mistakes, and we did a good job of that in the second half.”
Celina committed just three penalties for 25 yards in the second half as its running game finally got the best of Krum.
The rushing attack was led by running backs Deshawn Davis and Willie Sims, who combined for five touchdowns on the night.
Davis rushed for 159 yards on 11 carries, doing most of his damage on the edges. Sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott, the Celina coach’s son, rushed for 101 yards on 11 carries.
“We are fortunate to have a kid with a lot of speed there,” Bill Elliott said of Davis. “And we have some good linemen with our tackles and a tight end that do a good job blocking and we were able to get that stuff done.”
Elliott, who was a longtime assistant at Celina before taking over for former head coach Butch Ford, praised the Krum program.
“It’s unbelievable,” Elliott said. “They’ve had a great season going 9-1 [in the regular season] and getting their first playoff game. They have a lot of really good kids. Coach Robinson is a great guy, and I’m just really proud for what they’ve done. They ought to be real proud of the season they had this year.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Celina 58, Krum 27
C – Aaron Reedy 35 field goal, 8:14
K – Zack Hughes 25 pass from Caz Wojciak (Morgan Sprayberry kick), 4:41
C – Willie Sims 3 run (Fabian Aguirre kick), 2:07
C – Sims 3 run (Aguirre kick), 11:36
K – Tanner Rankin 16 pass from Wojciak (Sprayberry kick), 9:08
K – Brennan Ellis 6 pass from Wojciak (Sprayberry kick), 6:11
C – Connor Torbert 9 pass from Nathan Elliott (Aguirre kick), 2:17
K – Jake Fleckenstein 33 run (run failed), 1:18
C – Cash Conder 12 pass from Elliott (Aguirre kick), 0:27
C – Deshawn Davis 1 run (Aguirre kick), 6:04
C – Conder 30 pass from Elliott (Aguirre kick), 1:27
C – Davis 26 run (kick failed), 11:27
C – Sims 61 run (Reedy kick), 6:45
Rushing — K: Caz Wojciak 20-75, Reed Flores 15-96, Jake Fleckenstein 2-42, Brenna Ellis 2-(-2). C: Nathan Elliott 11-101, Deshawn Davis 11-159, Connor Torbert 10-81, Micah Nelson 2-21, Willie Sims 6-70, Cash Conder 2-6, Nick Grant 3-(-8), Collin Schmid 3-6, Damian Umana 1-1.
Passing — K: Caz Wojciak 6-12-1-83. C: Nathan Elliott 7-15-0-125.
Receiving — K: Brennan Ellis 3-34, Reed Flores 1-8, Zack Hughes 1-25, Tanner Rankin 1-16. C: Cash Conder 3-49, Blake Pasqua 1-22, Ben Thiel 1-37, Connor Torbert 2-17.