Blue Devils seniors bow out in pursuit of 20th win in 2 seasons
By BOB ETTINGER
Alex Cintron and Josh Celli have been the engine that’s driven the McDonald High School football team to 19 wins over the last two seasons.
Despite the duo throwing it into high gear, the Blue Devils fell to Mogadore, 28-7, in a Division VI, Region 21 regional semifinal Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
“We were 8-2 last year and 10-0 and won an outright championship this year,” McDonald coach Dan Williams said. “They were the heart and soul of this football team, the seniors.
“I hate to see them lose and end the season this way.”
Cintron carried 34 times for 169 yards and caught two passes for nine yards and a touchdown to lead the Blue Devils’ offense.
Celli amassed 91 yards on 23 carries and threw for another 36 yards and a touchdown for McDonald (11-1).
“This was my funnest year in football,” Cintron said. “That’s a credit to the coaches and my teammates. It was a successful year for us. I wish the guys the best of luck in the coming seasons.”
Mogadore (11-1), seeded first, will battle second-seeded Kirtland (12-0) in the Division VI, Region 21 championship game on Friday night at a site to be determined.
After Celli connected with Cintron for an 11-yard score on fourth and 5 from with six seconds left in the first half, the Blue Devils appeared to have the momentum early in the second half despite trailing, 14-7, at the break.
But Cintron was stopped short on fourth down and two plays later, Mogadore had added to the lead on a 70-yard scoring strike from quarterback Luke Rosato to tight end Connor Kerr.
“We were going down and could maybe have taken the lead,” Williams said. “[The fourth-down play] was a big play for them. We gave it to our best guy and they made a play. Going down, 21-7, hurt. You can’t get behind [Mogadore]. That’s a team that grinds. They can run the football. We’ve got to learn from it and move on.”
The Wildcats added another score after Eli Robertson returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth period.
“We played a really good football team,” Williams said. “We knew that coming in. [Mogadore] is an elite program. We fought and got the touchdown before the half and it was a one-score game. Then it was fourth and a foot and we didn’t convert. It could’ve been different. The seniors deserve the credit. They played hard every week. They’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.
“It was a great season.”
The Wildcats took a 14-0 lead behind a first-quarter touchdown run from Gavin Christy and a 5-yard scoring pass from Rosato to Robertson in the second quarter.