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St. Marys rolls past Highland into Week 12

ST. MARYS, OH – For the second straight year the St. Marys Roughriders earned a home playoff game based on the strength of their regular season, and for the second straight year the Riders thumped their Week 11 opponent in said game.

Behind 41 first half points and a dominating defensive effort St. Marys rolled through the running clock to a 48-8 opening round victory Friday night in what could possibly be their last home game at Skip Baughman Stadium by downing visiting Highland.

After failing to score on their opening possession, the Roughrider offense wasted no time on their second chance with the football and pushed ahead for good at 7-0 when Junior Sean Perry scampered 9 yards virtually untouched into the endzone with 3:29 remaining in the opening quarter to give his team the first points of the contest.

In what would come to be a precursor to the rest of his night, Drew Jacobs picked off a Highland pass and set his team up at the Fighting Scots 38 yard line. Following a pair of touches by Ty Schlosser that resulted in a first down, QB Colin Clements tossed a 52 yard scoring strike to Braeden Dunlap to push the St. Marys lead to 14-0.

Highland’s next possession began with great field position at the Roughrider 47 thanks to a big kick return but got stopped almost as soon as it got started as they were unable to pick up a fourth down conversion and were forced to give the ball back to the home squad at their 32 midway through the second stanza.

Over the course of 2:08 the top ranked offense in the Western Buckeye League marched 62 yards to put themselves ahead by a trio of scores as Dunlap this time did the work himself on the ground and scored his third rushing touchdown of the season with an 11 yard jaunt.

Drew Jacobs second of three interceptions on the evening put a stop to another Highland drive just two plays after it got started once the defensive unit found its way back to the field and gave St. Marys the football at their opponents 22 yard line with 5:53 left in the opening half.

Entering Friday nights game St. Marys TE Wyatt Barhorst had caught just a pair of passes in his career for 14 yards. On Friday night Barhorst got his first of two opportunities to celebrate a touchdown reception as he caught a laser from Colin Clements to push his team ahead by a 28-0 margin from 19 yards out for his first career score.

Starting their next drive after forcing another Scots punt the Riders again wasted no time putting points on the board as Dunlap rushed in from 30 yards out for a score to run the lead to 34-0 with 4:40 remaining in the half.

Perhaps the only thing to go wrong in the first half for St. Marys followed immediately after the touchdown as kicker Gabe Vandever who had connected on a school record 71 consecutive extra points in his career and 50 straight on the season missed right on his 5th attempt of the evening.

The final score of the first half for St. Marys came with just :20 left before the halftime break when Barhorst caught his second touchdown pass of the night, a 25 yard tally on a fake field goal and pass from Clements. In scoring his second receiving effort of the night, Barhorst became the 12th Roughrider to have accomplished that feat in a single game and sent his troops into the locker room up 41-0.

Behind a running clock in the second half both teams were forced to pick up the tempo of their offenses which had already been in high gear pace wise in the opening two quarters.

Having picked up just 56 yards on 27 plays in the first half the Scots were looking to get things going their way in the third quarter but saw their time with the ball be short lived as Christian Triplett picked up a fumble at their 35 for St. Marys.

Three plays is all it took for Dunlap to strike again, this time from 25 yards away and provide the last Roughriders score at the 7:31 mark of the third period.

An overthrown pass by Highland QB Reese Weissenfluh found its way to the waiting arms of Jacobs again with 4:29 remaining in the third quarter and gave the Riders the ball at their own 5 and put a stop to the Scots deepest drive of the contest to that point.

With 19.9 seconds remaining the Roughriders chances of posting their first playoff shutout since 1993 when they blanked Uniontown Lake to win the State Championship came to an end when Weissenfluh raced in from 11 yards out for just his second rushing touchdown of the season. Brody Matthews added the two point conversion for Highland before time ran out in the contest to make the final score 48-8 St. Marys.

Highland, who finished as KMAC Champions this season sees their 2017 campaign come to an end at 8-3 in the first playoff appearance since the 2010.

St. Marys (10-1) has won 10 straight games and 7 straight now at Skip Baughman Stadium dating back to last seasons 42-8 opening round playoff win over Dayton Belmont. The Roughriders will move on to week 12 to do battle with the 11-0 Shelby Whippets and Minnesota bound signal caller Brennan Armstrong on Friday night at 7:30pm at Marion Harding High School.

Braeden Dunlap led the St. Marys rushing attack with his first 100 plus yard effort of the season as he finished with 10 carries for 107 yards and a pair of scores. Sean Perry picked up 72 yards and a touchdown as well. In all the Roughriders rushed 38 times for 252 yards while using three players tossing passes that finished 5/10 for 124 yards and three scoring efforts in the victory.

Historical note: Heading into Week 12 this years team has scored 423 points which puts them as the 5th highest scoring offense in school history by points scored.

By connecting on 6/7 extra points on the night, Gabe Vandever broke the schools all-time extra points record previously held by Jeff Hughes with 119 successful attempts. Vandever has now hit on 124 in his career heading into next weekends contest with Shelby.

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Flyers post 7th shutout of season

SIDNEY, OH – The Marion Local defense came in to their Division 6 Regional Semifinal contest Friday night having shut out 6 of their opponents this season and by the end of the night were able to hang a 7th shutout as they defeated shutout rival St. Henry for the second time this season 22-0.

Marion Local totaled 445 yards of offense on the evening while their stingy defense gave up just 140 total yards on 37 plays by their opponents offense.

Despite having their first drive come to a screeching halt via a fumble inside St. Henry territory the Flyers put themselves ahead 7-0 early in the second quarter as QB Duane Leugers punched in from a yard out to cap off a 93 yard drive.

While punts and failed fourth down conversions were a big story in the first half, they weren’t the biggest issue St. Henry would face in the opening half. On their first drive of the first half after forcing the Flyers to punt, the Redskins found themselves in need of a change under center as starting signal caller Daylon Lange completed a 30 yard pass but was knocked down and forced to miss the rest of the contest in similar fashion to the two teams Week 9 meeting.

Redskin replacement QB Nathan Lefeld finished the night 7/17 for 98 yards but was picked off twice by the Marion Local defense.

With 7:53 left in the ballgame the Flyers extended their lead to 13-0 as Leugers second touchdown run of the night, a 6 yard effort near the right front corner of the endzone pushed his squads lead. After St. Henry was called for roughing Marion Local kicker Tyler Mescher the ball was placed on the one and a half yard line where Marion Local successfully converted a two point conversion to make it a 15-0 lead in their favor.

Starting from their own 42 yard line the Flyers utilized five plays and 2:21 before 5’9, 130 pound Sophomore runningback Matt Rethman showed off his speed and sprinted 23 yards for the games final points.

Jack Homan led the Marion Local rushing attack as he rushed 19 times for 101 yards while teammates Nate Moeller (12/51) and Leugers (11/94) showed off an impressive array of cuts that helped their team gain 279 yards on 47 carries on the evening.

Leugers finished 13/24 passing for 166 yards and saw his top two targets in Matt Kahlig and Ryan Thobe combine for 6 catches and 121 yards receiving in the contest.

St. Henry finishes their season at 8-4 and with their first playoff appearance since 2012 when they fell to the Flyers in the Regional Finals.

Marion Local (11-1) will move on to the Regional Finals and rematch with a Mechanicsburg (12-0) team that throttled Delphos Jefferson to the tune of over 500 yards tonight in a 56-20 victory. The same two teams met in last years Regional Finals in Bellefontaine that saw the Flyers victorious 9-7 on their way to the state finals.

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Riders storm back to down Sidney

ST. MARYS, OH – Even mother nature was not enough to keep St. Marys from defeating Sidney for the third straight year as the Riders opened their 2016 campaign with a 43-39 come from behind win.

Moments after fighting back from a 33-14 deficit early in the third quarter, Roughrider Seniors Dustin Howell and Eric Spicer combined to put eight points on the board and push their own advantage to 36-33 with just over nine minutes remaining in the last period.

Mother Nature as she has done so often to high school football teams in the past few seasons took her turn at the lead as lightning would delay the contest for over an hour with the home team on top by three points.

Out of the delay the Riders defense rose to the occasion as they forced the visitors to punt the football. Seconds after forcing a St. Marys punt the Yellow Jackets again found themselves in business as Sophomore signal caller Andre Gordon connected on a 76 yard toss that pushed the ball deep in the blue and gold territory. With just 4:14 left in the ballgame Sidney runningback Isaiah Bowser forced his way into the endzone from four yards out to give his team a 39-36 advantage.

Senior TJ Mele’s recovery of an attempted quick kick gave St. Marys the ball at midfield and 4:13 with just one timeout. Eleven plays and 3:08 later the Roughriders punched in the games final score with Julius Fisher barreling in from a pair of yards out before adding the extra point for the final score of the long night.

Perhaps only the big mistake that Gordon made in the game which saw him finish 18/36 for over 300 yards was his last throw of the night that sailed over the head of his receiver and into the arms of a waiting Spicer for the games final big play. As he has done a handful of times in his three years at the helm, Howell took a knee and ran out the remaining 54.4 to secure the victory.

Five of the Sidney scores on the night came on the third play of their respective drives and each one was a big play that accounted for more than 27 yards of chewed up field.

On the night Gordon threw a trio of touchdowns in addition to a pair of interceptions. Bowser on the evening added a plethora of yards to the Jacket rushing total as he scored on runs of 45, 27 and 4. One of the touchdowns thrown on the night by Gordon came on a busted play in which the 2015 Sidney Offensive MVP scrambled to create time and hit Bowser for a 54 yard score.

While Dustin Howell might have only connected on 16 yards passing for the evening, he did damage on the ground for St. Marys as he rushed in three times and totaled four yards on those scoring jaunts.

In addition to the rushing exploits of Fisher, Spicer, and Howell, the Riders utilized the legs of 5’11 Junior back Shannon Fowler to change up the pace and gain yards and chew up the clock to perfection as they tallied a school record 76 carries and 82 total plays from scrimmage in the victory.

Sidney (0-1), coming off of their first winning season in over a decade will return home to Sidney Memorial Stadium for a Friday night date with Bellefontaine.

St. Marys (1-0) next Friday night will travel to Van Wert to take on an 0-1 Cougars squad who dropped their opener to Bryan 28-19 and will be looking for revenge for the 21-20 loss they suffered at the hands of the Riders last season.

Hear the Roughriders take on the Cougars live with myself and Dennis Cisco on K94.3 FM Celina or the K94 mobile app with pregame beginning at 6:30pm.

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Titans score late, clinch playoff berth

OTTAWA, OH – In the era of what is fast becoming the first to 100 points wins, the OG Titans and St. Marys Roughriders found themselves scoreless at the half and embroiled in a defensive struggle deep into the games waning moments.

With the game deadlocked at 7-7 and 1:44 remaining in the contest, OG signalcaller Zac Unterbrink tossed a 35 yard touchdown to Logan McDermott that would turn out to be the games final tally. On the go ahead drive the Titans found themselves faced with three long third downs and connected on passes for 12, 22, and 15 yards to pick up a first down and push St. Marys back on their heels.

Following the score the Roughriders were limited to a pair of timeouts and 1:40 remaining but were unable to get into the endzone despite marching to the Titan three yard line. Junior QB Dustin Howell gave his team their best opportunity to tie the ballgame, but a pass intended for Logan Maze was unable to find its mark on third down.

Unterbrink, the WBL’s leading passer coming into Week 10 finished the contest 20/36 passing for 289 yards and a touchdown to go along with two costly interceptions by St. Marys Randy Slife on his own half of the field in the win.

St. Marys, who opened the season 5-0 got their lone touchdown from Junior back Julius Fisher which capped off a 14 play 72 yard scoring drive that pulled the game back to even at 7-7. Fisher’s touchdown run was a response to a 10 yard run from OG tailback Connor Niese just moments earlier in the period.

In earning their 7th win of the season (against just 3 losses), the Titans improved clinched themselves a playoff berth and will travel to Lewistown to take on Indian Lake according to the Division 4 Region 12 rankings posted by Joe Eitel (http://www.joeeitel.com/hsfoot/region.jsp?region=12&year=2015).

The Roughriders 2015 season comes to an end at 6-4 (5-4 WBL). For St. Marys it is their first winning season since 2008 (the last time the Riders were able to participate in Week 11) and improves on their 5-5 record in 2014. Despite losing a lot of talent on both sides of the ball the Riders will draw from their experienced Junior class to lead them next season including QB Dustin Howell.

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Riders rally past Kenton

KENTON, OHIO – It didn’t start off as a banner night for the St. Marys Roughriders as they found themselves down 17-0 in the opening half, but it sure ended as one as they outscored Kenton 35-6 in the second half to end a losing streak dating back to 2007 against the Wildcats.

Junior signalcaller Dustin Howell tied a school record held by 5 other QB’s in Roughrider history that first dates back to a 1959 contest against Kenton as he tossed a trio of touchdowns on the night. Bob Brown (vs Kenton 1959), Greg Ulrich (vs Celina 1971), Derek Turner (vs Bath 1987), Derek Dunlap (vs Elida 2007), and Jake Taylor (vs Defiance 2008) are the only other passers to have accomplished the feat before Howell on this night.

Kenton’s offense jumped out to a 3-0 lead on their opening drive as Chris Deardorff’s 25 yard field goal and pushed their advantage to 10-0 on their second drive on a 3 yard touchdown run from QB Trent Hites with 6:52 remaining in the opening stanza. After St. Marys Logan Maze was stripped of the football at midfield, Kenton pushed the score to 17-0 as under immense pressure, Hites fired a strike from 34 yards out to Deardorff for a score just in front of the outstretched hands of the defense.

On the games ensuing kickoff the Riders got a 68 yard return from Seth Vorhees that gave them their best field position to begin a drive at the Kenton 21. Using just a trio of plays the offense got on the scoreboard for the first time as Howell tossed his first of three scores on the evening, in the back of the endzone to Randy Slife to cut the Kenton lead to 17-7 with 6:45 to go in the second quarter.

Trailing by the same margin to begin the games penultimate quarter, the Riders offense again turned the ball over as a bad exchange to Howell was recovered by the home squad near the 50 yard line.

A pair of drives later and on the heels of the sixth Kenton punt of the game the Roughriders began their run of points in the second half with Howell’s second touchdown pass, a 66 yard effort caught by Eric Spicer.

With Kenton failing on their next drive to convert on a short fourth down play, St. Marys again took over as they looked to go ahead for the first time in the game and starting from the Kenton 38. On the drives 9th play Howell tied the aforementioned touchdown passes in a game record as he hooked up with Jase Green to go ahead 21-17.

In front of a suddenly nervous home crowd, the Wildcats next drive would end in a quick 3 and out. Despite failing to pick up a first down on their own next drive, St. Marys caught a break when a Jacob James punt was muffed by the Wildcats and gave the visitors new life at their opponents 35 with 9:06 left in the contest.

Even though he had to check out of the game earlier on after taking a big hit from the defense, Rider halfback Eric Spicer scored the first of his two remaining touchdowns on the ground from 35 yards out to run his teams lead to 28-17.

Kenton quickly responded to cut the lead to 28-23 in the game when less than a minute later Hites pass was hauled in by Deardorff for the second time in the game, this time from 4 yards out for a score. Down 5 and with time running out, the Wildcats went for two but an incomplete pass fell short of its intended target to keep the contest 28-23 with 8:19 left.

An unsuccessful onside kick from the Wildcats gave the Roughriders the football at their own 39 after being picked up by Julius Fisher, a Junior who played brilliantly on both sides of the ball in the contest.

Touchdown runs of 25 yards from Spicer and 16 yards by Fisher (following an interception of Hites by Austin Tester) were the final two scoring plays of the game as they resulted in a 42-23 win for St. Marys, their first in the series since beating the Wildcats 28-14 at Robinson Field in 2007.

For his part in the win, Eric Spicer finished with 24 carries for 160 yards and a pair of touchdown runs. Fisher finished the night with 33 yards on the ground and a touchdown, his second of the season and in as many weeks. Freshman Kicker Gabe Vandever continued to stay perfect in the extra point department as he successfully converted on 6/6 post touchdown chances.

St. Marys (4-0, 3-0 WBL) stays undefeated on the season and sees their first 4-0 start since 2008 when they finished at 9-3, as WBL Champions and as a Regional Semifinalist. The Roughriders will next be in action on Friday, September 25th at 7:00pm for their Homecoming game against the Elida Bulldogs (2-2, 1-2) that can be heard live on K94.3 FM or online at www.k943.com with myself and Dennis Cisco on the call beginning with the pregame show at 6:30pm.

Kenton sees their record fall to 1-3 on the season, and 1-2 in the Western Buckeye League. The Wildcats will return to action next week as they travel to Van Wert to take on the 2-2 (1-2) Cougars.

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