ST. MARYS, OH – Saturday night will mark the second time the Roughriders of St. Marys will square off with the Wildcats from Franklin.
In their first go round the Roughriders were victorious 21-7 for the first playoff win in program history. That win however took place back in 1989 before this group of players on each side were even close to being born.
Five players on this seasons St. Marys squad that finished the regular season at 9-1 and as WBL Champs for the first time since 2008 will be represented by that previous game however as their fathers were part of a defensive unit that sacked Franklin QB Keith Creech on multiple occasions and put a stop to the Wildcats first ever undefeated season.
The Roughriders are coming off of a 42-8 win last weekend at home against the Belmont Bison that is St. Marys first ever home playoff win. In the win Eric Spicer rushed for nearly 175 yards in the contest and moved into third place on the schools all-time rushing list while classmate Dustin Howell rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the victory.
Franklin, the #1 seed in Division 3 Region 12 found themselves trailing 21-0 early to 8th seeded Tippecanoe but battled back and were able to score the go ahead touchdown with just :18 left when Ryan Montgomery scored on a five yard touchdown run to give his team a 41-40 come from behind victory and move them into the second round.
Offensively the Wildcats (11-0) are led by Montgomery, a tailback who finished second in the Southwest Ohio Buckeye League this season with 1609 yards and 30 touchdowns while also playing some quarterback and connecting on three touchdown passes and 397 yards. Leading the Franklin passing attack is Braden White who has connected on 106/155 tosses for 1,671 yards, 22 touchdowns and just 1 interception. Balance is the key to the Franklin offense as they have accumulated 26 touchdowns through the air and 35 scores on the ground.
Defensively Franklin is led by Junior Linebacker Ryan Knippen who has recorded 10 sacks on the season (2nd in SWOBL), and 6’4 Defensive Back Noah Kremer who has the most interceptions on his team with 5. Trenten Scott finished with 15 tackles, while Matt Centers had 10 to lead Franklin’s defense last week, but the Wildcats gave up 475 yards to Tippecanoe in their victory.
St. Marys is led on the ground by the duo of Eric Spicer (1353 yards, 12 td’s) and Julius Fisher (970 yards, 11 td) while Dustin Howell (9 rushing td) leads the way through the air with 558 yards passing, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Last week the Riders had multiple players in on every tackle and scored their first defensive touchdown of the season as well with Grant Keith returning a blocked punt for a score that pushed their lead to an insurmountable level at the time.
What: Division III, Region 12 Semifinal, St. Marys (10-1) vs Franklin (11-0) 7 p.m.
Where: Good Samaritan Athletic Field at Heidkamp Stadium (5400 Chambersburg Rd, Huber Heights, OH – 45424)
Listen Live: 6:30pm Pregame/7:00pm Kickoff – 94.3 FM WKKI Celina (Mike Hirn/Denny Cisco): WKKI Radio
St. Marys playoff history: 21-12 record in 16 appearances (1977, 1978, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2016)
Franklin playoff history: 5-9 record in 10 appearances (1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1993, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016)