ST. MARYS, OH – With their dominating 50-0 win on Friday night against visiting Defiance the St. Marys Roughriders can call themselves outright Western Buckeye League Champions for the first time since 2003 when they claimed the crown with an 8-1 league mark.
According to computer points projections from Joe Eitel the Roughriders not only clinched the league title they also sewed up a Week 11 first round playoff home game at Skip Baughman Stadium when the postseason begins on Friday, November 3rd.
St. Marys got things rolling early on their first drive of the contest as they opened the game by finishing off a quick five play drive with QB Colin Clements fourth rushing touchdown in the past seven days to go on top 7-0 after an extra point from kicker Gabe Vandever with just 1:36 coming off the clock.
Four punts and a turnover on downs by St. Marys after the games opening salvo it was again the Roughriders who struck the scoreboard quickly. A three play drive covering 75 yards led entirely by rushes from RB Ty Schlosser finished in a 13-0 advantage for the home squad when the tailback blitzed in from seven yards out.
The ensuing extra point to Schlosser’s score for the Riders pushed across a bit of history for St. Marys as Vandever’s extra point flew threw the uprights for his 41st consecutive make of the season and gave him one more than former record holder Jeff Hughes who hit on 40 consecutive extra points during the 1992 State Championship campaign.
Despite beginning in St. Marys territory following a big return on their next opportunity to touch the ball and beginning inside the home squads territory, the Bulldogs would be forced to punt away the ball for the fourth time in the game.
Beginning at their own 29 with exactly 10:00 left in the first half the Roughriders coupled a 31 yard run by Braeden Dunlap with a 15 yard penalty on Defiance before sending Schlosser into the Bulldog endzone with 9:40 to go in the first half from 26 yards out for his second score of the first half to make the score 21-0 St. Marys.
Defiance and Sophomore QB Caden Kline were able to move the ball well on their following drive, but a pair of incomplete passes would again force them to punt away the football. Sean Perry fielded the Defiance punt at his own 15 yard line and quickly sliced and diced his way through the heart of the Bulldogs special teams and into the endzone for an 85 yard punt return score for St. Marys.
Perry’s return pushed the home teams lead to 28-0 with 5:16 to go in the opening two quarters and fell just a yard short of tying Chip Cisco’s 1975 punt return against Bath as being the longest in school history.
On their sixth attempted punt of the first half the Bulldogs found themselves victims of a double punt block by the duo of Reed Aller and Trey Fisher that gave the Roughriders the ball for the first time starting on their half of the field at the 10.
Normally a defensive stalwart, it was Reed Aller who put up the next score of the evening to push the game to 35-0 in St. Marys favor when he caught a six yard touchdown pass from Colin Clements with 2:51 remaining before the half.
In accordance with OHSAA rules, the second half began with a running clock due to the 30+ point differential.
Braeden Dunlap would take the snaps at QB for the Roughrider offense to begin the second half, and would take just four plays to toss his third touchdown pass of the season when he hooked up with Sean Perry on a 2 yard throw that ran the differential to 42 in his teams favor.
A second blocked punt by the duo of Aller and Fisher seemed to lead to St. Marys taking over possession of the football with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter, but was ruled a safety by the officials when it was deemed Defiance fell on the ball in their own endzone.
Leading 44-0 following the safety and a pair of traded possessions the Roughrider substitutes put the final score of the game on the Skip Baughman scoreboard when Eddie Fowler cashed in on a three yard run for his second score of the season. Parker Enoch who entered the contest to attempt the extra point after Vandever had connected on all five of his attempts of the evening never got the chance to kick the football as it sailed away from the holder and he was quickly tackled once he picked it up with a 50-0 lead.
Defiance who falls to 1-8 overall, and 1-7 in Western Buckeye League play has now not scored on St. Marys in eight straight quarters as they were shut out at home last season 41-0. The Bulldogs will end their season next week seeking their first road win of the 2017 campaign as they take on the Van Wert Cougars.
Week 10 will see the Roughriders hit the road themselves as they look to finish unbeaten in WBL play for the first time under head coach Doug Frye when they do battle with the 6-3 Wapak Redskins.
Dunlap led the Riders on the ground in the contest as he carried 6 times for 92 yards. In all the St. Marys Roughriders outgained their opponents 313-112, including 39 rushes for 295 yards from a dozen ball carriers.