In an earlier insider, I mentioned how Euless Trinity, a defending state champin, seems to be down in a couple of years. Looking at Celina, they have no such problems. The subvarsity went 19-1 and the varsity won a state championship. They only return 8 starters from that varsity team, and I'm not sure this is a state championship team this year, but it is certainly a team that will be playing in December. Coach Ford has a diversifying offense, and a lot of teams have a problem stopping the 10-1 defense that often stifles a lot of running games. With the offensive firepower that is returning, one cannot count Celina out of any game.
Troy McCartney likely plays at quarterback for the most part this season, although a young Junior may come in and get snaps to get McCartney the ball in the backfield and at wide receiver. McCartney had over 1000 yards rushing last season. Charly Waldrep also returns at running back. He averaged nearly 8 yards a carry and had 35 touchdowns and over 1750 yards last season. A lot of people are talking about young Jose Romero who really got a lot of notice at 7 on 7 as one of the bright spots. As a freshman, he averaged 8 yards a carry and 13 touchdowns. Nathan Bidelman will lead the offensive line. His big frame and speed can control most 3A defensive lines.
If there is a weakness in Celina this season, it could be their defense. The Lavey brothers are not part of that problem. Caleb is expected to be a top notch D1 athlete at 6'3, 225 with great speed. He had 114 tackles and 3 interceptions as a sophomore. As a junior, he is a likely all state member. Josh Lavey isn't as good as his little brother, but pretty solid in his own right. He didn't fill out as much but he is a little quicker. Braden Buchanan will shore up the defensive line, which is one of the weaker areas for Celina this season. Celina will not dominate the defensive Line of Scrimmage as they have in the past.
Celina has some interesting games this year - including a game against Daingerfield at Royse City on a Saturday night - a great game to go see if you want to check out the new stadium. 9-3A is not a tough district although there will be some potent offenses. I don't see much keeping Celina from rolling through district. Not much in Region II will stop Celina either as it is not a very strong region; however, I see their season ending in the state semifinals this season. Region I is where the tough teams are and I can't see Celina getting past that - although a regional championship is not exactly something to feel disappointed about. I look for a 13-2 or 14-1 season for Celina - but just short of their goal.