Senior wide receiver Celento Traylor is making his touches count.
Defending Bastrop High's receiving corps is no fun. Senior Celento Traylor's development as a playmaker has made the task even more difficult.
Though his touches have been somewhat limited, Traylor has turned out a steady tide of big plays. From moving the chains for a first down or scoring a touchdown, good things have happened for the Rams when the ball is in Traylor's hands.
"Celento has kind of turned into our extra guy," Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette said. "What I mean by that is certain teams will gameplan for Christian Smith or SirQuan Hawkins, but they don't always account for Celento. We've started calling him 'Mr. Touchdown,' because it seems like every time he catches the ball, it's a 50 or 60-yard touchdown."
Last week's 53-52 victory over Franklin Parish in the District 2-4A opener was a prime example. Traylor caught two passes on back-to-back possessions — both for second quarter touchdowns. Traylor's 37-yard catch and 19-yard grab helped the Rams build a 33-20 halftime lead.
It was the first multi-touchdown game of the senior's career.
"I couldn't do it without my quarterback (Quaterius Hawkins), and coach AB pushing me every day to strive for greatness," said Traylor, who has five touchdown receptions on the season.
Bastrop's offense had its moments during pre-district play, but Friday's game marked the first time for the unit to truly click for 48 minutes.
"It was fun to play in one of those type of games, especially scoring two touchdowns," Traylor said. "I'm just glad I was able to help my team get going and win the game."
On a night when the defense struggled, the offense was flawless, scoring on every possession.
"The defense had their first bad game, so we had to bring it," Traylor said. "The defense has been picking us up, so we wanted to pick them up."
Traylor says an open week prior to the Franklin Parish game gave the offense an opportunity to come together.
"We got better during the bye week," Traylor said. "We were able to run the ball and play at a fast pace. Before the bye week, we hadn't been playing as fast as we did last year. Basically, we tried to get on the ball and get the play off before the defense could get lined up. Everybody was working to carry out his responsibilities so we could score. We were all working together as one."
Surrounded by Christian Smith and SirQuan Hawkins and the vastly improved Calvert "Big Body" Johnson, Traylor has given the Rams another prolific weapon. Traylor says the four receivers have a friendly competition among themselves.
"We compete against each other, but all four of us come together at the end of the day with one goal — and that's to win the game," Traylor said.
Prior to this season, Traylor had shown only glimpses of his potential. Burnette is glad he stuck it out long enough for everything to come together.
"Celento's been kind of a late-bloomer," said Burnette, who was Traylor's position coach prior to ascending to head coach this season. "Celento always had it in him. I really believe that. It took him a little longer, but he has really turned it on this year."
Like Traylor, quarterback Quaterius Hawkins has been more consistent this season. Burnette says the two have grown together.
"Celento and Quaterius have good chemistry," Burnette said. "They have really clicked of late."
Traylor and the Rams are working to carry their re-established offensive momentum into Friday night's homecoming game against West Ouachita.
"Nobody wants to lose their last homecoming game," Traylor said.
Coaches fretting over their players being distracted during homecoming week are as much a part of high school football as pregame pep talks and the public address announcer calling out winning raffle ticket numbers. Although he has been a participant in homecoming festivities — he was an escort for queen Zillah Hill at Tuesday's coronation — Traylor says balancing football and extra curricular activities is a non-issue.
"I went to the coronation this morning and came down here with my mind focused this afternoon," Traylor said after Tuesday's practice. "Winning the game is the first priority. When we walk into Ram Stadium Friday night, we'll be ready."
A 3.2 student, Traylor hopes to extend his football career at Grambling State University. In fact, he will visit the GSU campus Saturday when the Tigers play Texas Southern for homecoming.
Regardless of whether or not his college football plans pan out, Traylor plans to major in sports medicine.
"Dealing with athletes and athletic injuries would enable me to continue to be involved with sports after my playing days are over," Traylor said.
The way "Mr. Touchdown" showing out nowadays, his playing days may be just getting started.