The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2023

Celina’s air attack blisters Cougars

DAVE MOSIER/independent sports

CELINA – The Van Wert Cougars feared the Celina passing game, but apparently not enough, as the Bulldogs compiled 506 yards through the air in a 47-7 thrashing of the Cougars in a Western Buckeye League contest played Friday at Celina.

Cougar running back Luke Stevens (17) finds a little running room against Celina on Friday night. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Junior quarterback Braden Billger shredded the Van Wert secondary, hitting 36 of 49 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns, while giving up two interceptions on the night. In contrast, Van Wert’s Tyler Williams hit 6 of 15 passes for just 65 yards, no TDs and one interception. The Bulldogs compiled a whopping 603 yards of total offense, rushing for 97 yards on 31 carries, while Van Wert had 81 yards of rushing offense on 27 carries.

Celina dominated the Cougars statistically, with 23 first downs to just 7 for Van Wert. The Bulldogs had 11 penalties, though, for 105 yards, while the Cougars were whistled for five miscues for 55 yards.

Leading rusher for Van Wert was Caleb Lloyd, who ran 13 times for 73 yards and a touchdown, while Zach Hembree was Celina’s leading rusher with 82 yards and a TD on 20 carries.

Top receivers included Hembree, who caught 11 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown; Collen Byer, with five catches for 81 yards and three TDs, while Logan Ray had one catch for 26 yards and Lloyd caught three passes for 23 yards for the Cougars.

Six of Celina’s seven touchdowns came through the air, with scoring strikes of 40-, 12-, 10-, 25-, 3- and 78 yards. The exception was Hembree’s 7-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Van Wert scored its lone TD on a 55-yard run by Lloyd at the 5:51 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard at the 6:29 mark of the first quarter when Billger hit Byer for a 40-yard touchdown. Celina scored three times in the second period on passes from Billger to Byer twice and to Hembree once, and the Bulldogs led 27-0 at the half.

Celina scored twice in the third quarter on Hembree’s run and a 3-yard pass from Billger to Cody Vogel with 3:18 remaining in the stanza.

After Lloyd’s touchdown run, backup quarterback Grant Bader passed for a 78-yard touchdown with 3:59 remaining in the game for the final score of the night.

With the win, the Bulldogs are now 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the WBL. Van Wert remains winless in six games and is 0-5 in league play.

POSTED: 09/29/12 at 7:55 am. FILED UNDER: Sports