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WAPAKONETA — Establishing control early against Celina will be a significant key for Wapakoneta, when the Western Buckeye League rivals meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Harmon Stadium.

The Redskins and Bulldogs are headed in opposite directions with Wapakoneta winning its last four games and Celina losing its last four.

“It’s critical for us to establish control early in terms of coming out of the locker room and setting the tone right away,” WHS coach Travis Moyer said. “We haven’t always done a good job of getting off to a good start in games. Something we need to focus on is having all three phases of the game work together better to handle situations in the game.”

Moyer believes the Redskins can take control in the first quarter, if they establish themselves on both lines of scrimmage.

“I will always be a firm believer in winning the line of scrimmage to be successful,” Moyer said. “We have to come out and control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We didn’t do a great job of that last week, but credit Bath for that because they have some very talented players, as well. It’s important for us to get off to a good start. It’s important for us to take care of the ball. It’s important for us to win the line of scrimmage. And it’s important for us, when we have the opportunity to make a big play, that we do it.”

Wapakoneta brings the second-best offense in the WBL (315.1 total yards) into the contest against a Celina defense that is statistically the worst in the conference (374.9 total yards allowed). The Redskins, who are second in rushing (230.8 yards), are matched against the Bulldogs, who are ranked ninth in rushing defense (217.4 yards).

Celina’s advantage comes in passing, where the Bulldogs are fourth in yards per game (141.3). Wapakoneta’s pass defense is rated sixth after allowing 119.4 yards per game. The Redskins have thrown for 84.4 yards per game — ninth in the WBL — while Celina has given up a league-worst 157.5 yards per game against the pass.

“Celina is a team that has continued to get better over the course of the season,” Moyer said. “They want to spread their offense and put your defense in space because they throw the ball extremely well. Our guys who are responsible for stopping the run will have to stop the run. Our guys who are responsible with stopping the pass will have to stop the pass.”

WHS has scored an average of 25.3 points (fourth) and allowed 18.4 points (fifth). The Bulldogs are last in scoring at 10.1 points and next-to-last in points allowed at 35.1 points.

This Season

Celina: The Bulldogs are 1-7 overall and 1-6 against the WBL. Celina defeated Kenton 21-20 at home Sept. 10 for its only victory. The Bulldogs have lost to Versailles (42-0), Van Wert (45-7), Shawnee (27-0), Elida (41-21), Bath (35-13), Ottawa-Glandorf (42-0) and Defiance (26-19).

Celina has been limited to seven points or less in four of its seven losses, including three shutouts. The Bulldogs’ loss to Defiance last Friday was their closest defeat (seven points) this season.

Wapakoneta: The Redskins are 6-2 overall and 6-1 against the WBL. Wapakoneta has defeated Ottawa-Glandorf (28-13), St. Marys Memorial (10-7), Shawnee (21-7), Kenton (34-0), Elida (30-13) and Bath (28-21, OT). The Redskins have lost to Marion Local (31-6) and Van Wert (55-45).

Computer Rankings

Celina: The Bulldogs are the No. 26-ranked team in Division III Region 12 with 0.6250 points. Celina has 5.0 first-level points and 0.0 second-level points.

Wapakoneta: The Redskins are the No. 4-ranked team in Division Region 12 with 16.2125 points. Wapakoneta has 30.5 first-level points and 124.0 second-level points.

With their overtime win at Bath last Friday, the Redskins jumped up three spots in the rankings from No. 7.

The top 16 teams in each region qualify for the OHSAA state playoffs.

Last Season

Celina defeated Wapakoneta 14-10 in Week 1 of the 2020 season.

Meet the Bulldogs

Quarterback Nick Adams has completed 125 of 200 passes (62.5%) for 1,130 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions.

Aidan Song (43 receptions, 448 yards, four touchdowns) has been Adams’ most prolific receiver. Song ranks fifth in the WBL in receiving yards.

Jaden King is the Bulldogs top threat to run the ball. He is eighth in the conference in rushing yards (371) after 88 carries. King has run for three touchdowns.

On defense, King has recorded 75½ tackles, which ranks him seventh in the WBL in that category. Braylon Gabes is among 12 players tied for second in the conference with two interceptions. Timmy Novitzke is among an eight-way tie for first place with two fumble recoveries.

Meet the Redskins

Quarterback Braeden Goulet and running back Jace Mullen continue to terrorize the WBL as the top two rushers in the conference. Goulet, who has run for seven touchdowns in his last two games, tops the league with 866 yards and 13 TDs on 113 carries. Mullen has 758 yards and nine touchdowns on 117 carries.

Goulet has completed 60 of 108 passes (55.6%) for 675 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. After combining his rushing and passing totals, Goulet is third in the league in total offense (1,541 yards, 192.6 yards per game).

Mullen remains as the WBL leader in all-purpose yards (1,154 yards, 144.3 yards per game). In addition to his 758 rushing yards, Mullen has 87 receiving yards and 309 kickoff return yards.

Kaden Siefring entered the WBL top ten this week at No. 10 in receiving yards. He has 24 receptions for 295 yards and one touchdown.

No WHS defenders are among the top ten in tackles. Austin Stauffer’s two interceptions are among a 12-way tie for second in the WBL.

Nikane Ambos is 25 of 26 in extra-point kicks this season. She is third in the WBL in kick scoring (25 points) with the second-most PATs made in the league this season. St. Marys Memorial’s Brandon Bowers (32 points) leads the conference with 26 extra points and two field goals.

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