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Roughriders comeback ends in OT win

ST. MARYS – The Roughriders didn’t lead once in regulation but found themselves in the lead when it mattered most as they moved to 3-0 in Western Buckeye League play with a 35-34 overtime victory Friday night over visiting Shawnee.

After being forced to punt on their opening drive the Indians got their offensive machine rolling early on their second trip with the ball as they marched 56 yards in just over four minutes and on top of the scoreboard 7-0 when Quarterback Johnny Caprella connected on a 9 yard touchdown pass to runningback Javion Daniels.

As they would be forced to do for most of the contest the Roughriders would push one of their own scores across in response to an Indian marker. Led by big runs from the trio of Shannon Fowler, Sean Perry, and Braeden Dunlap the Riders found themselves quickly knocking at the door to achieve their first touchdown. Colin Clements second rushing touchdown of the season, this time from a yard out with 1:28 remaining in the opening period pulled St. Marys back to even at 7-7.

Shawnee tossed an interception that was secured by Drew Jacobs on an overthrown ball on their next possession, but would again find themselves in the scoring column as they capped off an 89 yard five minute plus drive following a 56 yard Trey Fisher punt that pinned the Indians at their own 11.

Having already scored on a pass reception, Daniels would add a rushing score to his resume on the evening as he jaunted four yards down the right sideline with 5:06 left in the half to make the game 14-7 Shawnee where it would stay throughout the halftime break.

If the first half was a defensive struggle then the second half could be best described as an offensive explosion between the two longtime WBL rivals.

St. Marys began the scoring explosion on the opening drive of the third as they moved themselves 63 yards in just under four minutes and to even at 14-14 when Dunlap connected with Ty Howell for a 25 yard pass and catch touchdown.

On the first play of the fourth quarter and on fourth and three to go the Indians pushed back ahead by seven points at 21-14 when Caprella sprinted down the right side and in to the endzone from 39 yards yard with just ten seconds gone in the period.

Similar to what they had done to open the half the Roughriders put together a quick strike drive that yielded the game tying touchdown with just 5:38 to go when Shannon Fowler scored on a six yard rush.

Not to be outdone by their hosts the Indians again scored quickly to retake the advantage just 2:20 later when Daniels scored for a third time in the game and for the second time on the ground on the evening with a 46 yard score to push Shawnee’s lead to 28-21 with 3:18 to go.

Eight plays and 68 yards is all it took for St. Marys to pull the ballgame back to even once again when the WBL’s second leading rusher Sean Perry scored for the first time on the night from 31 yards away to make it a 28-28 contest.

Despite being able to move the ball effectively thanks to quick feet from Caprella and screen passes to wideout Grant Wheeler the Indians were able to move to midfield with time winding down but were unable to score before the final buzzer of regulation and force the game to a first overtime period.

On their first and ultimately only possession in overtime St. Marys relied again on the duo of Fowler and Dunlap for their first lead of the game. With his second carry of the quick three play drive it was Ty Schlosser who pushed his team ahead 35-28 with a 1 yard touchdown run that utilized Gabe Vandever’s fifth extra point of the game to give the Riders a seven point lead.

Perhaps to the surprise of their opponents the Indians utilized four running plays and pulled within a point of tying the game when Caprella scored from five yards out.

Shawnee coach Frank Crea rolled the dice for his team and chose to attempt a game winning two-point conversion instead of possibly sending the game to a second overtime, but fell short when Caprella was stuffed near the goal line by the Riders who secured their sixth all-time overtime victory in ten chances.

Offensively Shawnee saw their QB Caprella rush for 143 yards on the evening in addition to throwing for 122 on 16/21 passing. Joining the Indian attack on the ground was Wheeler who carried 14 times for 120 yards.

Next week the Indians (2-2, 1-2) will be home as they take on the Van Wert Cougars.

St. Marys was led on the ground by Sean Perry who toted the football 15 times for 120 yards on the night. The Roughriders (3-1, 3-0) will travel to Kenton to take on the Wildcats in Week 5 next Friday night.

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Kuenning, rushing attack pushes Riders past Van Wert

ST. MARYS, OH – St. Marys both started and finished with an offensive flurry as they raced paced visiting Van Wert and into the drivers seat in the Western Buckeye League with a 50-34 Week 3 victory Friday night.

Just as the schools all-time leading rusher Koby Frye had done nearly a decade ago on the night he broke the top rushing mark, Bo Kuenning stamped his name in Roughrider lore against the Cougars as he rushed for four touchdowns in helping his team to victory.

Kuenning’s first touchdown of the night put his squad on top for good where they would remain for the evening as he bullied his way in from three yards out on the opening drive of the contest and capped off a six play, 61 yard drive to make the game 7-0 in favor of St. Marys.

Early in the second quarter and beginning from the Cougars 49 the Riders again wasted no time as Sean Perry, Braeden Dunlap, Shannon Fowler and eventually Kuenning himself pushed their teams lead to 14-0 on his second score of the night.

Following defensive lineman Blake Kanorr’s first career interception the Riders only miscue of the night on special teams came when they attempted to add a field goal to their tally, only to see the kick from Gabe Vandever doink off the left upright with 7:06 left in the opening half.

Starting at their own 20 yard line the Riders fifth drive of the opening two periods ended just as their first and third had done, with a Kuenning score, this time from a yard out to push Doug Frye’s crew ahead by 21 late in the half.

Van Wert’s lone score of the half, on their ensuing possession and starting at the St. Marys seven was set up by a Jacoby Kelly kickoff return of 70 yards. Two plays and a penalty after it began the Cougars first scoring drive came to a quick fruitful ending when Nate Place’s pass found it’s way into the waiting arms of Drew Bagley.

For the final score of the first half the Riders utilized a pair of runs by the Western Buckeye League’s all-purpose yardage leader Braeden Dunlap totaling 61 yards before Kuenning topped thundered over a Cougar linebacker to push the home lead to 28-7 near the halftime break. In total the Roughriders carried the ball 39 times in the opening 24 minutes of play for 270 yards.

At times the second half resembled an arena league football game with its fast paced offensive outbursts more than a high school football contest and began with Van Wert getting on the board on the third period’s opening drive with Place tossing his second touchdown of the night, an 11 yard strike to Tanner Barnhart that pulled the Cougars close at 28-14.

A series of mistakes and a punt in which punter Trey Fisher was buried by a trio of Van Wert defenders put the ball first and ten at the Riders 21. Place, the WBL’s leading touchdown rusher picked up his 5th ground score of the season to pull his troops to within 8 but saw the ensuing extra point attempt knocked away by St. Marys defender Reed Aller who burst through the line and timed his dive perfectly.

Two weeks in a row the St. Marys special teams have answered a score by an opponent with a score. Last weekend Dunlap broke the hearts of Ottawa Glandorf by returning a kick 91 yards early in the fourth, this week the honor against the Cougars belonged to Perry who scampered 87 yards to push the Riders lead back to double digits at 35-20.

Not ones to back down from an opponent score, the Cougars used just two plays to respond themselves as the duo of Place and Barnhart hooked up once again, this time from 63 yards out to make the score 35-26 after kicker Jake Lautzenheiser missed the extra point.

The fourth play of the following St. Marys drive looked a lot like the first play of the game as tailback Shannon Fowler sprinted 43 yards past the defense attempting to tackle him for a score. Fowler would also rush in on the two-point conversion to give the Riders a 43-26 advantage with 4:57 to go in the games penultimate stanza.

Starting with 3:19 left in the third quarter and from their own 37 the home team found themselves on a path the program has been known for, a long game breaking drive culminating in a score. Colin Clements QB sneak from a yard out touched off a 12 play drive and finished at the 9:19 mark of the fourth period with the scoreboard flashing 50-26 St. Marys.

Despite being sacked by Kuenning and Aller early on in the drive, Cougars signal caller Nate Place rebounded late in the same drive as he tossed a 15 yard pass in the back corner to Storm Pierce for a score. James Aquaviva, the WBL’s 9th leading rusher entering play was successful on the two-point conversion to get his team within 50-34 with 6:13 remaining.

Just as they had done on their previous drive the Roughriders took time off the Skip Baughman Stadium clock in bunches as they utilized carries by Fowler, Clements and Ty Schlosser to get inside the Van Wert five and milk the time off until the game reached the final whistle.

Not only did Van Wert (2-1, 1-1) see their unblemished record suffer its first setback, but the Cougars who ended a 10 game WBL losing streak last week by beating Wapakoneta 26-20 saw their losing streak against St. Marys move to four straight.

St. Marys (2-1, 2-0) was led by a career high yardage output from Shannon Fowler who finished with 16 rushes for 135 yards and a touchdown run. Bo Kuenning finished with 80 yards and four scores on 19 carries and helped the Roughrider ground attack finish with 447 yards on 68 carries.

Colin Clements finished 3/4 throwing the football for 67 yards. All three completions by Clements resulted in first downs for St. Marys who picked up 25 on the evening.

Next week the Roughriders will be in action at home against Shawnee and will honor the 1990/92/93 State Championship winning squads before the game while Van Wert will battle 1-2 Ottawa Glandorf at home looking to get back on the winning track.

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