ST. MARYS, OHIO – St. Marys snapped their two game losing streak Friday night with a fast start and a furious finish against Defiance, downing the Bulldogs 50-12.
After seeing Defiance move the football from their own 30 to the St. Marys 1, the Riders defense rose up and stopped the Bulldogs from getting into the endzone on three straight run plays. On fourth and goal Defiance QB Alex Gonzalez’ pass fell incomplete as the home squad’s goal line stand forced a turnover on downs.
With the ball resting inside their own 1 yard line the Roughriders went to work as Dustin Howell who began the drive with a four yard rush finished it off with an 8 yard touchdown run to put his team on top 7-0 with 4:56 to go in the first quarter.
Defiance found themselves down just a point at 7-6 following their own long drive and touchdown, an 8 yard pitch and catch from Gonzalez to 6’2 Senior wideout Abram Smith that capped off a 74 yard drive over 2:56 midway through the second period.
Austin Tester’s 47 yard scamper on the ensuing drives 5th play for St. Marys set the stage for backfield mate Eric Spicer’s 10th rushing touchdown of the season 2:18 later that pushed the Rider lead to 14-6 following a successful Seth Vorhees extra point.
Another punt from Defiance would give St. Marys the football at their own 25 and they would exhaust just 1:38 in moving 75 yards to paydirt as Howell rushed for his second touchdown of the game and 5th of the season, this time from 21 yards out to push the lead to 21-6 where it would stay heading into the halftime break.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Bulldogs would pull within nine points of the Roughriders as Gonzalez traversed 33 yards for a score through the heart of the defense and into the endzone. With the score sitting at 21-12, Defiance would be forced to go for a two point conversion but see their pass fall incomplete and thwart their attempt to add a pair of points to their score.
Sometimes injuries to key players forces teams to give opportunities to players in situations they might not normally get a chance to do so in, and that was never more true than tonight as St. Marys gave many players the opportunity to carry the football. One of those players that made the most of his opportunity Friday night was 5’10, 190lb Junior TJ Mele. In addition to his 81 yards rushing on the night, Mele would add the next St. Marys touchdown as he bowled over defenders on his way to the score, a 20 yard jaunt that gave his team a 27-12 lead with 9:43 to go in the third quarter. Dustin Howell’s ensuing successful two point conversion pushed the advantage to 29-12.
Following a third Defiance turnover on downs on the evening the Riders upped their lead to 36-12 when Jase Green caught his second pass and second touchdown of the season, from 9 yards out from Howell.
Randy Slife’s team leading third interception of the season not only put an end to the Bulldogs next drive, it also gave his offense terrific field position at their own 49 to begin their next drive.
Eight plays and 3:09 is the amount of plays and amount of time the Riders would need to cash in for their next score as Howell’s third touchdown run of the game upped the home team advantage to 43-12 as he scampered in from four yards out. As the Roughriders had taken a 30+ point advantage, the running clock was triggered for the final quarter following the score.
The games final touchdown came with just 3:31 remaining as Sophomore RB Shannon Fowler split through the Defiance defense and cashed in on a 37 yard touchdown run on just his second carry as a varsity runner.
As the clock hit 0:00 the Roughriders found themselves on the winning side of a 50-12 margin that gave them win #6 on the year against just a pair of losses. Defiance with the loss sees their record drop to 1-7 overall and 0-7 in WBL play.
St. Marys (6-2, 5-2) will travel to Wapak to take on the 8-0 (7-0 WBL) Redskins on October 23rd in a game that will be broadcast live on K94.3 FM beginning with the pregame at 6:30pm with myself and Dennis Cisco on the call, while Defiance goes home to take on Van Wert (4-4, 3-4 WBL) at 7pm.
For the second week in a row the Roughriders gained over 400 yards on offense, led by Eric Spicer who went over 1,000 yards on the season by picking up 145 yards on 18 carries. For his part in the offense, TJ Mele added 81 yards, including a 57 yard scamper that set up one of the Howell touchdown runs.
Defiance gained 238 yards in the first half of the football game and finished with 369 yards in the contest. Unfortunately for Defiance they finished their night be giving up 50 points for the second week in a row in the loss.