Liberty-Eylau Meets Perennial Power Celina in Friday Matchup at Royse City ISD Stadium
Liberty-Eylau Leopards (1-2)
No. 8 Celina Bobcats (3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Royse City ISD Stadium
- Liberty-Eylau: Brian Brown
- Celina: Bill Elliott
- Liberty-Eylau: lost 30-8 at Texas High
- Celina: won 54-30 at Argyle Liberty Christian
- Liberty-Eylau: at Van
- Celina: at Perryton
- QB Rashaan Donelson, Sr., 6-0, 187
- RB D.Q. Steels, Jr.
- RB Donelle Hoof, Jr.
- WR Keith Wynkoop, Sr., 5-8, 165
- LB Ricardo Lockett, Jr.
- LB Ricky Johnson, Jr.
- WR/S Davion Hall, Sr., 6-2, 191 (committed to Baylor; status unknown for Friday night's game vs. Celina)
- QB Nathan Elliott, Jr., 6-0, 180 (42 of 74, 609 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 28 carries, 143 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Deshawn Davis, Sr., 6-1, 175 (17 carries, 157 yards, 3 TDs; 3 catches, 35 yards)
- RB Jarren Alexander, Soph. (11 carries, 128 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 114 yards, 2 TDs)
- ATH Cash Conder, Jr. (14 catches, 206 yards, 3 TDs; 1 rush TD)
- WR Luke Reeder, Soph. (12 catches, 193 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Collin Schmid, Jr. (10 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Celina is No. 8 in the latest Class 3A Associated Press poll.
- Celina won last year's matchup 32-15.
- Celina averages 45.0 points per game and holds it opponents to 22.0 per game.
- East Texas teams have eliminated Celina from the playoffs three of the last five years: Carthage in the 2008 Class 3A Division II state championship, then Henderson in the third round of the postseason each of the last two seasons. All three losses came by double-digits, including 23-point and 29-point losses to Henderson.
- Celina's Nathan Elliott is a third-year starter at quarterback as a junior.
- Elliott holds offers from North Carolina and Army.
- Bill Elliott is in his first season as Celina's head coach after replacing Butch Ford.
- Liberty-Eylau averages 25.7 points per game and allows 28.0.
- Liberty-Eylau trailed last week's game against Texas High 9-8 at halftime before the Tigers pulled away in the second half.
- After beating Paul Pewitt 49-20 in the season opener, Liberty-Eylau's last two opponents -- Mount Pleasant and Texas High -- have outscored the Leopards 64-28.
- Liberty-Eylau standout Davion Hall, who is committed to Baylor (among other offers), left the Leopards' 34-20 loss Week 1 loss to Mount Pleasant with an injury. His status is unknown for Friday's game.
Key matchup: Liberty-Eylau defensive front vs. Celina running game. Celina has diversified its offense in recent years, but it's no secret that the Bobcats still depend on the running game to get their offense going.
Junior quarterback Nathan Elliott is as dangerous as any of Celina's tailbacks when it comes to running the ball. He's averaging better than five yards per carry and ran for 1,085 yards and 19 touchdowns during his first two years directing the Bobcats' offense.
Liberty-Eylau will need a big game from its defensive front, who must allow linebackers such as Ricky Johnson and Ricardo Lockett to roam free in pursuit of Elliott and the Bobcats' runners, including explosive athletes in Deshawn Davis and Jarren Alexander, who have combined for 285 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, and 10.2 yards per carry.
Don't be surprised if: Liberty-Eylau hangs around for a while, but Celina finds a way to get its offense going and protect its top-10 ranking.
But here's no doubt Liberty-Eylau has the athletes to go step-for-step with the Bobcats, and the Leopards' tough schedule in the first three games of the year have likely prepared them for a tough opponent of the same classification.
If Liberty-Eylau can limit Celina's snaps, the Leopards could have a shot at pulling the upset.