LIMA, OH – For the first time since in a decade the St. Marys Roughriders find themselves with a perfect record after the first six weeks of the season as they traveled to Lima on Friday night and downed the Bath Wildcats 34-0 to get to 6-0 on the season.
On the third play from scrimmage for the Roughriders it was Senior RB Julius Fisher who took a handoff and rumbled 66 yards up the middle and didn’t stop until he crossed the Bath goal line to give St. Marys their first of four rushing touchdowns in the contest.
Leading 7-0 and having just pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory courtesy of a 45 yard punt from the WBL’s leading punter Matt Patten the Riders quickly found their offense headed back to the field as Eric Spicer picked off a pass from Bath’s Kaden Sullivan and fell at his opponents 25 yard line.
Seconds after surviving a fumble that was recovered by their offensive unit the Roughriders were able to run their advantage to 14-0 when Dustin Howell barged into the Bath endzone for his seventh score this season with 4:52 to go in the opening stanza.
On a night where field position was hard to come by, the two teams traded the football up and down the field until St. Marys was able to put together a scoring drive to increase the lead to 17-0 with 5:26 left in the half when Gabe Vandever connected on a field goal attempt from 29 yards away.
Having won the toss to open the game the Wildcats were rewarded with the opportunity to choose which half they wanted to open with the football and chose the second half, but were unable to advance the ball 10 yards before seeing their possession in the third come to an end with a 27 yard punt to the visitors.
Shannon Fowler’s six carries accumulated a bulk of his teams 55 yards on their next scoring drive as he burst through the Wildcat defense on a 34 yard run to set up an eventual one yard score by the WBL’s leading scorer Eric Spicer with 7:04 in the third period to make it 24-0 St. Marys. Fowler on the evening finished with 14 carries for 79 yards.
Another short Bath possession and another punt gave St. Marys more great field position on their ensuing drive and once again the Riders cashed in quickly as they utilized just over two and a half minutes and settled for a 32 yard field goal from Vandever to put his team on top on the scoreboard 27-0.
With a rainy day and slick football field the Wildcats handed their foes the football at their 13 when on the following kickoff the return man for Bath was unable to hold onto the ball. Julius Fisher’s second touchdown run of the day, this time from a single yard out gave St. Marys a 34-0 lead and cued the running clock with 1:22 remaining in the third.
Unlike their previous punts which had struggled to make it past midfield, the Wildcats next punt traveled 31 yards and was downed at the St. Marys 19 yard line.
Similar to a drive they used last weekend in putting away the Elida Bulldogs, St. Marys traveled deep into Bath territory once again behind a handful of backs and ran off the final 9:30 in the game to secure their 34-0 win and put a stop to a four game losing streak in the series against the Wildcats.
Gabe Vandever’s two field goals in the game were not only the first and second of his career, but were also the first field goals the Roughriders had made in almost two full seasons since Clayton Trogdlon connected on a 31 yard attempt during the 2014 season.
Defensively the Roughriders were once against dominant as they held the Wildcats to negative rushing yards and just 81 total yards on 33 plays.
Offensively St. Marys picked up 360 yards on 72 plays from scrimmage including 327 yards on 67 carries and were led in rushing by Julius Fisher’s 114 yards on 16 carries to go along with his two touchdown runs. Eric Spicer, the Western Buckeye Leagues leading rusher entering play this week was held to just 39 yards on 13 totes of the ball but did score a touchdown on the ground and snag an interception on the defensive end.
Bath falls to 1-5 overall, and 0-5 in the WBL and will next take on the Van Wert next Friday night looking for their first conference win against the winless Cougars.
St. Marys sees their record improve to 6-0 for the first time since they last won the league in 2008, and picks up their first shutout since beating Bath 6-0 in OT during the 2006 season. Next week the Roughriders return home for Week 7 to host their Grand Lake rival Celina in a contest that can be heard live on K94.3 FM with myself and Dennis Cisco beginning at 6:30pm with the pregame show: Live Football