Not too many rematches would normally hold the hype that Celina and Argyle had last week.
These two rivals squared off just weeks before in the regular-season finale in which the Eagles dismantled Celina, 63-21.
So, why was last week’s third-round replay so juicy?
Of course, some things that Celina head coach Bill Elliott said a few days prior to the game about Argyle not understanding how his ballclub competes in the postseason made matters more intriguing, but there was much more to that than what Elliott said that gave this matchup a David-versus-Goliath feel to it.
Although it had been just three weeks since the 42-point pummeling, Celina was fully engaged in “Celina Time” after two surprising victories over Wilmer-Hutchins and Stephenville, and it’s just something the Bobcats do when it comes playoff time – they win.
So going into the game, the Bobcats were finally playing at another level that Elliott had alluded to all season long, while he believed Argyle hadn’t improved since they had last played against each other.
There is no question that Argyle right now is simply the better football team. That was the case before, during and after last week’s heavyweight fight, even though Celina outplayed the Eagles for a majority of the game.
But there was just a certain buzz in the building that you couldn’t help but feel that this Bobcats team that had just been dismantled by 42 pointsactually had a legitimate shot at dethroning the state’s No. 1 program.
Elliott’s ballclub came out juiced up and ready to go and it showed on the scoreboard when they raced out to a quick 14-3 lead and held that advantage going into the half.
Celina knew it would take a perfect performance on both sides of the ball to pull off the upset and it was getting just that before an hour-and-a-half lightning delay at halftime helped halt much of Celina’s momentum.
Now, I’m not saying the prolonged delay coming out of the locker rooms necessarily hurt the Bobcats, but it certainly didn’t help, as Argyle came out firing on all cylinders and suddenly rediscovered its explosive offense that was averaging over 50 points per contest going in.
Nonetheless, the Bobcats weathered that second-half storm, literally, and even regained the lead on a 3-yard touchdown pass from junior Hunter Watson to freshman tight end Brady Cunningham on fourth-and-goal with just 2:45 to go.
All Celina needed to do was hold one of the state’s most lethal offenses out of the end zone just one last time, but a 28-yard touchdown with just 25 seconds to go crushed Celina’s hopes of pulling off the stunning upset.
On that play, Argyle quarterback Bo Hogeboom, who is highly talented, threw up a prayer into great coverage – only for the Celina defender to suddenly fall just as the pass landed in the arms of Argyle’s Cole Kirkpatrick in the end zone.
Did the wet field following the torrential downpour during halftime cause the slip in the final seconds?
Who knows, but if that doesn’t happen, I believe the Bobcats win this football game and are preparing to take on another juggernaut this week in Waco La Vega.