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Celina kicks off first practices of new season

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Celina senior linebacker Logan Engle

Celina senior linebacker Logan Engle (28) is expected to lead the Bobcats’ defense this year after a stellar junior season.

There’s always a special buzz around the town when the Celina football team takes the field and begins practice for the first time in preparation for the new season.

The Bobcats did just that Monday morning, as they officially started off the 2019 campaign with practice No. 1 in hopes of that being the first step toward the program’s ninth state title.

With all the excitement that comes with the first week of practices in Celina, there’s another huge factor put into play this season that is already supplying the Bobcats with an added boost.

This fall, Celina will sport a brand-new football stadium located behind the high school along with a state-of-the-art fieldhouse that features facilities second to none at the high school level.

Within the Celina Bobcats Athletic Complex, located on the north end of Bobcat Field, is a 75-yard indoor practice field, a 7,500-square-foot weight room and a 140-seat, theatre-style video room.

“That’s just phenomenal for us to be able to watch film and do things in there,” said Bill Elliott, Celina head coach. “Our weight room looks like a college weight room, and there are just so many things we can do with our indoor field. It allows us to do really great things for our program.”

Elliott and his coaching staff brought all the players in last Sunday for a team meeting and a tour of the new facilities for the first time, and he said their excitement was “unreal.”

“It was great just seeing the look on their faces,” he said. “We’re very fortunate and blessed to have a facility like this.”

Aside from practice, Bobcat Field will be used quite a bit over the next month, with Celina playing host to both preseason scrimmages and the first two games of the season against Memorial and Argyle Liberty Christian.

In fact, Elliott and his staff are using these first few days of practices to gear up and take on Royse City Friday night.

It certainly helps to have zero question marks surrounding the quarterback position with senior Hunter Watson cemented in as the Week One starter after a standout junior season running the show. This marks the first fall camp in nearly three years in which Celina has not had a single concern or quarterback battle under center, and Elliott said the offense should benefit early on.

“Having that decision locked in makes it a lot easier on the coaches and the players,” Elliott said. “Reagan Davenport, Watson’s backup, is also a great quarterback and has a lot of potential. We feel really good at the position and feel really solid with both of those guys. Either one of them could be a starting quarterback.”

However, the centerpiece of the Celina offense will be senior running back Logan Point. The Navy commit rushed for 1,664 yards and tallied 25 total touchdowns as a junior and is expected to carry the load once again.

Point could be poised for even greater numbers this season with the emergence of sophomore utility player Brady Cunningham being utilized in various positions so far in practice. Cunningham, who caught a critical touchdown pass in the Bobcats’ season-ending loss to Argyle last year, is back at tight end and H-back, or something Elliott refers to as a “beast position.”

“[Cunningham] blocking for Point in the backfield there is tough,” he said. “He also has unbelievable hands and moves really well, and we have a lot of plays to get the ball to him.”

While the heartbeat of the offense appears to be the running game early on, linebacker seems to be a strength of the other side of the ball a few practices in. Spearheaded by senior linebacker Logan Engle, who led the team last year with 87 tackles, that unit is expected to make countless plays this season on a defense that continued to improve as the season went along.

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