ARGYLE — In what was billed as a battle of two top-10 teams for the District 10-3A championship, only one team lived up to the hype.
Using a dominant running game and an equally effective defensive performance, Argyle rolled over powerhouse Celina with a 63-13 win on Friday night to cap an undefeated regular season.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better to have two 9-0 teams play for the district title in Week 10,” Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers said. “We had TV here, had a solid crowd here, everything. We had people calling from all over the Metroplex wanting to know if it was sold out yet so they could get tickets.”
The Eagles (10-0, 4-0 district) did their best to send all the neutral spectators home disappointed, turning away a brief Celina rally in the second quarter that pulled the Bobcats within 21-13 to reel off 42 unanswered points while removing their starters at the end of the third quarter.
“We came out with a plan, and it was probably the best game plan we’ve had in a long time,” Argyle wide receiver Ian Sadler said. “Our offense came out and did what they needed to do, and so did our defense. It was just a great overall football game.”
Argyle, the No. 2 team in The Associated Press Class 3A state poll, rolled up 580 yards of offense with 462 of those coming on the ground. Argyle will begin its postseason run on Thursday against Krum in the Class 3A D2 bi-district round at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.
In his final home game at Argyle, Sadler made his impact felt in a hurry.
On the second offensive play of the night, the Texas Tech pledge lined up in behind center in the shotgun, took the snap and went 70 yards to the end zone on an option keeper to put the Eagles on the board less than a minute into the game.
Just three minutes later, Sadler was back in the end zone after his defense came up with a key stop.
Celina’s Collin Schmid was stuffed by Argyle’s Micah Capra and Reagan Page on fourth-and-1 at Celina’s 24-yard line. Five plays later, Sadler scored on a 5-yard run before coming back on Argyle’s next drive to add a scoring reception, giving him touchdowns on the Eagles’ first three drives and an early 21-0 lead.
“It’s getting to be playoff time, and you have to play good defense and run the ball,” Rodgers said. “That was a point of emphasis Sunday when we did preparation, and we executed it today. You’ve got to run the ball and play defense to win championships, and that’s the mantra of our team.”
Sadler finished with 11 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns and hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Boyzuick. Junior running back Nick Ralston added 146 rushing yards and four touchdowns for Argyle.
“He can wear a lot of hats on a team,” Rodgers said of Sadler. “You have to have people like that if you’re going to go win the big games.”
Argyle’s defense held No. 8 Celina (9-1, 3-1) to 189 total yards and nine first downs in the Eagles’ first game without inside linebacker Sam Sizelove, a Kansas State commit who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last week to end his season prematurely.
“We’re playing minus Sam Sizelove, and for the 11 kids we had out there, they all made a commitment to themselves to do a little more to make up for the loss of [No.] 41.”
Celina made a bit of a threat in the second quarter, when Connor Wilson muffed a punt at the Argyle 20-yard line to give the Bobcats their best field position of the game.
Cash Conder quickly made Argyle pay with a 4-yard touchdown run, but the extra-point attempt was blocked and Celina trailed by eight with 7:08 remaining in the first half.
That would be as close as the Bobcats would get.
“They do that and you start second-guessing yourself and what kind of adjustments you need to make,” Rodgers said. “There was an anxious moment, but the kids rose to the occasion and realized what it’s like to get hit in the mouth and they moved forward.”
Next up is Krum, and Sadler said Friday’s domination of a good team is a good way to head into the playoffs.
“This game meant more than just a district title,” Sadler said. “We came out with a little extra fight tonight. With that win, this was like a playoff atmosphere, so it’s a good note to start on going into the playoffs.”
Argyle 63, Celina 13
AY — Ian Sadler 70 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Ian Sadler 5 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Ian Sadler 17 pass from Brandon Boyzuick (Cole Hedlund kick)
CL — Deshawn Davis 1 run (Jake Lykins kick)
CL — Cash Conder 4 run (Jake Lykins kick blocked)
AY — Nick Ralston 2 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Ian Sadler 7 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Nick Ralston 3 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Nick Ralston 9 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Nick Ralston 39 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
AY — Hudson Speed 16 run (Cole Hedlund kick)
Rushing — AY: Ian Sadler 11-149, Nick Ralston 21-146, Terry Moore 6-70, Hudson Speed 5-24, Connor Wilson 2-23, Brandon Boyzuick 2-21, Drew Estrada 1-17, Hunter Treadwell 1-5, Chase Green 1-4, Reese Thompson 2-3, CL: Deshawn Davis 4-66, Jarren Alexander 12-41, Nathan Elliott 8-22, Collin Schmid 8-11, Cash Conder 2-9, Trent Lindblad 2-5, Trace Young 1--3.
Passing — AY: Brandon Boyzuick 5-11-0-78, Ian Sadler 1-1-0-20, Cooper Rodgers 1-2-0-20, CL: Nathan Elliott 7-19-1-38.
Receiving — AY: Jon Pucciarello 4-54, Ian Sadler 2-44, Drew Estrada 1-20, CL: Cash Conder 3-16, Deshawn Davis 2-11, Jarren Alexander 1-6, Collin Schmid 1-5.