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Riders clinch share of WBL in rivalry win

CELINA, OH – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens wrote these words in his 1859 classic “A Tale of Two Cities”, but it very well could have described Friday night’s at times back and forth match-up between rivals St. Marys and Celina.

In a contest to decide if the Bulldogs would be able to reach for an outside share of their first Western Buckeye League title since 1995 or if their cross lake foes would put themselves even further ahead in the race each team took their best shots at one another and seemed to have the game in their favor.

Right out of the gate to open the game the Roughriders offense found themselves clicking as they used just four plays to travel 67 yards and on top 7-0 when Sean Perry rushed though a pack of white jerseys and into the endzone from 19 yards away.

Following the Bulldogs first possession ending with a three and out the Roughriders put together a classic Doug Frye style drive as they utilized 15 plays and 6:59 to push ahead 14-0 on a 1 yard dive by Quarterback Colin Clements.

Another three and out for Celina would give their visitors their best field position, this time at the Bulldogs 47 late in the opening period before Clements pushed in from 2 yards out for his second tally of the evening to put his squad on top 21-0 with 8:03 remaining in the second quarter.

A pair of punts would pin each team deep on their next possession before a big return gave Celina life at their own 40 with :26 to go in the first half. What was quickly a promising drive that moved the home team down to the Riders 20 came to and end when the stadium clock reached 0:00 however and sent the two teams into the locker room with a 21-0 St. Marys lead.

In the third quarter a Celina offense that had been out-gained by a plethora of yards in the first two periods sprang to life and were able to cut into the St. Marys lead with their first touchdown when QB Brett Schwieterman connected with Kole Murlin for a 6 yard touchdown late in the games penultimate quarter to make it 21-7 St. Marys.

Celina continued to stymie the St. Marys offense in the early part of the fourth quarter and pulled themselves to within 21-14 with just 9:57 remaining when tailback Kyle Zizleman raced in from 20 yards out for his 8th score of the season.

Despite Celina having the momentum in their favor the Rider offense was able to push the lead back out to a pair of scores and begin to deflate the Bulldog enthusiasm when Sean Perry, who finished with a career high 211 yards on the evening raced 59 yards down the sideline to put his team first and goal from the Celina 8.

Ty Schlosser’s 7th touchdown run of the season, an 8 yard jaunt gave the Riders a 28-14 lead with 8:55 remaining in the contest and all but assured his team would stay as the leagues lone unbeaten.

Two straight incomplete passes on third and fourth down for Celina and Schwieterman would force the Bulldogs to relinquish the football on their ensuing possession before St. Marys again put together another long drive to put the final touches on their second straight win in the series.

Starting from the Celina 48 the Roughriders utilized 9 plays and a key offside penalty on the Bulldogs inside the 10 to get Colin Clements his third rushing touchdown of the evening, a 1 yard plunge that provided the games final score and margin of 35-14.

Celina saw their final chance with the football come to an end as an errant pass found its way into the waiting hands of St. Marys defensive back Sean Perry and allowed his offense to take a pair of kneel downs to run out the remaining time in the contest.

With the loss the Bulldogs see their season record fall to 5-3 overall and 5-2 in Western Buckeye League play. Celina will be on the road next week as they will travel to take on Van Wert.

For the first time since the 2003 and 2004 seasons the Roughriders will lay claim to being at worst Co-WBL Champions. A win next week at home inside the friendly confines of Skip Baughman Stadium against Defiance would mean St. Marys (7-1, 7-0) would be the outright Western Buckeye League Champions for the first time since capturing the 2003 crown when they finished 9-2.

On the evening the Roughriders #1 ranked rushing offense picked up 366 yards on 59 rushes and held Celina to a total of 282 yards on 63 total plays. Leading the St. Marys attack was Sean Perry’s 211 yards on 24 carries. Ty Schlosser added 17 totes for a total of 90 yards, his second such rushing yardage contest of the season.

All-time St. Marys is now 64-29-6 against their lake counterparts, including 13-2 under current head coach Doug Frye who moves to a personal mark of 6-1 at Celina Stadium.

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Riders stay perfect in WBL, blast Bulldogs

ST. MARYS, OH – Heading into Friday night’s WBL matchup with Elida, St. Marys mentor Doug Frye had never lost to the Bulldogs in his career as the head coach of St. Marys. Following Friday night’s game Doug Frye has still not lost to Elida in his career with the Riders as he moved to a personal mark of 15-0 with his teams 63-21 victory that keeps his team as the WBL’s lone unbeaten at 5-0 in league tilts.

A blue and gold offensive bonanza began on the first drive of the contest as the home squad moved 80 yards in 5:44 and into a lead they would never relinquish when Sean Perry blazed down the sideline for a 26 yard score and the first of his two scores on the evening to make it 7-0 St. Marys.

Points weren’t just coming from the offense in the sixth game of the year for the Riders, they came just as quickly on Elida’s first possession from the St. Marys defense when Jackson Harris pilfered an Isaac McAdams pass out of the air and rumbled 45 yards to push his team on top 14-0 with 4:14 left in the opening stanza.

Elida pulled to within 14-7 on their second possession of the game when McAdams was able to dive into the endzone to cap off a 12 play 79 yard drive with 1:53 but again their joy would be short lived as the Roughriders would quickly give themselves back a two score lead just moments later.

Following a kick return to the Elida 40 the Riders raced into the endzone behind the trio of Braeden Dunlap, Shannon Fowler, and ultimately Sean Perry who ended the three minute drive with a 5 yard score to run the score to 21-7 St. Marys.

Not to be outdone by the ball control of their opponents the Bulldogs ensuing drive covered 17 plays and six minutes before the WBL’s leading passer McAdams connected with Xavier Gilkey on a two yard score to pull Elida back to within seven points at 21-14 with 5:07 to go in the opening half.

Ty Schlosser’s first of four touchdown runs on the night came on a 4th down and 1 to go play at the Elida 5 when he rushed off right tackle and into the Elida endzone to finish off a 4:30 drive and give the Riders a 28-14 halftime advantage.

With Elida forced to punt away their opening possession of the second half the Roughriders ripped off another quick three minute drive and topped it up with Schlosser’s second touchdown, this time an 8 yard jaunt to push the score out to 35-14 St. Marys with 7:21 left in the games penultimate quarter.

Two straight turnover on downs on failed fourth down attempts gave St. Marys 14 more points on their next two drives as Schlosser rushed in for his third and fourth scores on the ground of the evening to give his team a 49-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. In scoring his fourth rushing touchdown of the night Schlosser equaled teammate Bo Kuenning as the only players this season to hit that mark for St. Marys.

Down to the final 9:39 of the contest the Riders began their fourth drive of the second half at the Elida 27 and utilized just a single rush from Shannon Fowler before his backfield mate Ty Howell ran for his first score of the season, a 25 yard journey that pushed his squad ahead 56-14.

Eddie Fowler’s first career touchdown run with 2:48 left in the fourth quarter gave the home team a reason to celebrate Homecoming weekend early as it topped off a 63-14 advantage for the blue and gold.

Despite being down big on the scoreboard it was the Bulldogs youngsters who picked up the games final score when freshman QB Carter Harsh scored from a yard out to provide the final points of a 63-21 win for St. Marys.

Elida sees their season record fall to 4-2 overall, and 3-2 in WBL play. The Bulldogs will next play host to Van Wert next Friday night.

St. Marys (5-1, 5-0) will entertain the Bath Wildcats next Friday night and look to keep their position at the top of the league in tact and unblemished.

Despite kicking eight extra points on the night following St. Marys touchdowns, Junior kicker Gabe Vandever came up just one XP short of tying the school record of 9 in a game set by Tom Waller against Shawnee in 1983.

In the first half the Roughriders were outgained by Elida 212-200 in total yards, but the second half saw a reversal of that stat as St. Marys finished the final two quarters by outgaining the visitors 271-59.

Offensively St. Marys was led on the ground by Sean Perry who rushed 21 times for 161 yards. Shannon Fowler finished with 96 yards on 9 totes of the football.

As of late Friday night according to Joe Eitel the Roughriders have moved up a spot from 4th to 3rd in Division 4’s Region 14 top 8 playoff chase: D4R14

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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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Riders rally past Bearcats

ST. MARYS, OH – Trailing by nine heading into the final quarter on Saturday night the St. Marys Roughriders outpaced visiting Spencerville 23-8 in the final stanza and posted a 63-57 win to put a stop to their two game skid.

Jacob Grannan entered play against Spencerville averaging just a shade under 10 points per game but tossed in that mark for that amount through the first two and a half quarters before exploding in the fourth quarter for 14 of his game high 26 points.

St. Marys finished the contest by shooting 22/44 from the field, but it was the strong last eight minutes from the line for Grannan and Derek Jay who combined for 7/7 on charity shots that helped secure the come from behind win.

Spencerville jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter because four three pointers from the trio of Bailey and Griffen Croft, and Gary Schrolucke who hit half of the shots from beyond the arc to put the Cats up 20-11 at the first quarter stoppage.

Schrolucke’s hot streak from three point land continued in the second period as he again tossed in two buckets from deep before falling scoreless for the rest of the evening. Dakota Prichard’s 11 first half points helped give the Bearcats a 37-24 advantage at the midway stop.

During the third quarter it was the Roughriders all-time leading three point shooter Jay that stole the show as pumped in three triples and set up a fourth make for the home squad with an assist on a Drew Jacobs make from deep to cut into the deficit. Bailey Croft and Prichard scored the only points of the stanza for the visiting team as they each hit on six points apiece.

Grannan ended the night by hitting on 10/16 field goals and 5/5 from the free throw line and led the Roughriders in scoring while Dakota Prichard paced Spencerville by connecting on 8/20 shots from the field for his 20 markers.

Entering play Saturday night the Roughriders had dropped six straight to their Route 66 rivals dating back to their last victory in the series on January 9th, 2010.

With the win the Riders improve their record to 3-5 on the season. St. Marys will next be in action on Tuesday night as they welcome Fort Recovery (6-1) to the Horseshoe for a non-league contest.

The Bearcats loss snaps a five game winning streak and sees the team at 7-2 heading into next Friday night as they continue their six game road trip at Ada (2-6) and on Saturday at Bath (2-7).

Box Score:

Spencerville (57):
Daniel Corso 2
Gary Schrolucke 12
Dakota Prichard 20
Bailey Croft 17
Griffen Croft 4
Ben Dues 2

FG: 20/49
3PT: 8/23 (Schrolucke 4, Prichard 2, B. Croft, G. Croft)
FT: 9/14

St. Marys (63):
Braedan Dunlap 4
Jacob Grannan 26
Austin Wilker 2
Drew Jacobs 3
Colin Clements 3
Sam Young 6
Derek Jay 19

FG: 22/44
3PT: 8/14 (Jay 4, Young, Jacobs, Grannan, Clements)
FT: 9/13

JV: St. Marys 45-23

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Flyers hoist 9th state title

COLUMBUS, OH – It might not have been the prettiest win in Marion Local history but it certainly was just as meaningful as the past 8 state title victories Friday afternoon as the Flyers staved off previously unbeaten Cuyahoga Heights with a 21-17 victory.

Offensively Marion Local committed four turnovers to just one for Cuyahoga Heights and held the high octane Redskins offense to 254 yards on the morning/afternoon.

Cuyahoga Heights started the scoring in the contest in the first quarter with a 31 yard field goal from kicker Mark Shafer to strike first and lead 3-0.

Marion Local’s response to their opponents field goal would come just moments later on the next drive of the game as the Flyers marched 71 yards on 8 plays and pulled ahead 7-3 as Nate Moeller took a toss sweep off the right side of the line and bounced into the Ohio Stadium endzone untouched for his squads first score.

Following a Redskins punt that was downed inside the Marion Local one yard line the Flyers dominant offensive line went to work with 1:24 left in the first quarter. 19 plays and 99 yards were covered by the Marion Local offense on their third possession of the game over the span of 9:40 ending at the 3:44 mark of the second quarter when QB Duane Leugers barreled in from a yard out to make it a 14-3 ballgame.

Leugers second rushing touchdown of the contest and 24th of the season would come at the 1:52 remaining mark of the same stanza as he rushed through a host of would be tacklers and for a score untouched that put Marion ahead 21-3 heading into the halftime break.

Despite possessing the football to open the third quarter with an 18 point lead the Flyers offense was unable to capitalize on a short third down and were forced to punt back to the Redskins. Starting at their own 31 and with 9:38 in the third the Cuyahoga Heights offense that had been held in check for most of the game up to this point struck for four first downs on their way to a 1 yard touchdown run for their QB and 1st team All-Ohio selection Brett Lowther that cut the Marion Local lead to 21-10.

Before tailback Nate Moeller could reach the football across the first down line on the ensuing Flyer drive he was stripped of the ball on his teams next possession and saw it end up in the hands of Lowther at the 46 to give the Redskins new life.

Aided by a blocked punt that landed at the Marion Local one, Cuyahoga Heights quickly got within four points of the Flyers with 11:41 remaining in the contest when Lucas D’Orazio rumbled in from a yard out into his opponents endzone for a score that made it 21-17 Marion Local.

Despite both teams turning the ball over on two different possessions each the Flyers were able to march to the Cuyahoga Heights 14 but were unable to pick up a crucial fourth down play and were forced to give their opponents the ball at their own 15.

With 85 yards to go and just :53 to do so the Redskins offense who had burned their last timeout on the previous defensive drive were forced to go into hurry up mode. Calm and cool, Lowther connected on three straight passes for a total of 49 yards and across midfield into Flyer territory. It was not meant to be however for Cuyahoga Heights as Lowther was sacked for a loss of 12 and hurried into back to back incomplete passes as time ran out on their season behind on the scoreboard.

Marion Local finishes the season 14-1 and with their 9th state title in 11 championship game appearances. Cuyahoga Heights in their first title game appearance sees their season end at 14-1 and as runners up in Division 6.

Midwest Athletic Conference teams are now 31-11 all-time in state championship contests and will get two more opportunities to bring home gold trophies as Minster and Coldwater will compete on Saturday in Division 7 and Division 5 play.

Stats link: D6 State Championship Box Score

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Indians win season opener

FT RECOVERY, OH – The 2016 season kicked off Thursday night for the ladies of Fort Recovery as they defeated the visiting Knights from Crestview 57-37 at Fort Site Fieldhouse.

Fort Recovery jumped out to an early lead with St. Francis commit Whitney Will tossing in a basket and a pair of free throws and continued their hot shooting as Jocelyn Kaiser and Grace Thien connected on a pair of field goals each. Crestview Junior Paige Motycka was the lone scorer for her team in the opening period and was held to just one make from the field to go along with her 6/6 performance from the line.

Starting the second quarter trailing 21-8 the Knights did themselves no favors offensively as they were harassed into four turnovers by the Indians defense. Late in the half Crestview guard Lexi Gregory connected from the right wing on a three point goal to cut the lead down but was unable to help keep the score low on the home side as Will put up nine of her 13 first half markers and helped her team run to a 34-15 halftime break lead.

Just as she had done in the first quarter, Motycka scored all of her teams points in the third stanza as she connected on a three pointer, two from inside and a pair from the line for a total of 11 in the period. Despite getting to the line twice in the third, Motycka would see her streak of 14 consecutive made free throws come to and end as she missed on one moments before the quarter buzzer.

Grace Thien’s five points in the third quarter led the Indians but a three pointer from Kiah Wendel midway through the quarter helped put a stop to a trio of trips down the floor with a turnover by her team and push their lead to 46-24 at the buzzer.

Alyssa Gent popped in the third Crestview make from beyond the arc in the game early on in the fourth but the Knights again were unable to capitalize on their good fortune as two players in Lyvia Black and Gregory combined to shoot 3/4 from the charity stripe. Motycka finished off her performance of a game high 28 points with seven points but it wasn’t enough as the Knights dropped their second game in a row, 57-37.

Aided by seven points of her own in the final quarter before fouling out, Will finished with a team high 20 markers and 13 rebounds for Fort Recovery on 7/9 shooting from the floor and 2/4 from the free throw line.

Crestview (0-2) will find themselves off until Thursday, December 8th when they begin Northwest Conference play by traveling to Bluffton to take on the Pirates. Fort Recovery (1-0) will have just one day off before they welcome the Wapak Redskins to town for a Saturday afternoon non-conference battle.

Box Score:
Crestview:
Lyvia Black 2
Lexi Gregory 4
Alyssa Gent 3
Paige Motycka 28

FG: 9/45
FT: 15/19
3PT: 3/16
TO: 13

Fort Recovery:
Kiah Wendel 6
Grace Thien 10
Carley Stone 7
Brooke Kahlig 4
Val Muhlenkamp 2
Whitney Will 20
Jocelyn Kaiser 8

FG: 24/49
FT: 6/10
3PT: 3/10

JV: 33-26 Fort Recovery

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Rams eliminate Riders in shootout

PIQUA, OH – Two of the top ten teams in the final Associated Press rankings in Division 3 put on a contest for ages Saturday night Piqua for the right to go to the State Semifinals. Fans in attendance at Alexander Stadium were treated to a tightly contested game that in the end was won by the six time defending region champion Trotwood Madison Rams 34-27 over St. Marys.

St. Marys fired the first shot across their opponents bow in the opening stanza as they capped off a 70 yard drive when the Western Buckeye League’s Back of the Year Eric Spicer jaunted in from 27 yards out to give his team their first lead at 7-0 following a successful extra point by Gabe Vandever.

Having not trailed but just a few times during the season the Trotwood offense went back to work on their ensuing drive and marched 75 yards into the Rider endzone when Junior tailback Raveion Hargrove scored on a 16 yard run from scrimmage. Trotwood would look to throw the football on their two point conversion attempt but failed to connect as Spicer knocked away the pass in the front corner of the endzone to keep his team ahead 7-6.

Despite QB Dustin Howell hooking up with Sophomore back Sean Perry for a 40 yard gain on their next possession to put them inside Rams territory the Roughriders were unable to put points on the board once the football was returned to them as Julius Fisher was hit hard and fumbled the football at the Rams 13 and saw his opposition recover the ball to start their next drive.

One play, 87 yards, 17 seconds is what Trotwood needed on their next possession to put points on the board and pull ahead 14-7 because the All-Ohio back in Hargrove blitzed down the left sideline and into the endzone for a touchdown.

Behind superb blocking from the offensive line of four Seniors (Garrett Lauth, Jonathan Peterson, Joey Morlino, Aaron McGraw) and a Junior (Tyler Miller), the Roughriders evened the score at 14-14 as Spicer rushed for his 28th career touchdown just seconds into the second quarter.

Trotwood Madison QB Markell Stephens-Peppers sixteenth touchdown pass of the season, a 34 yard scoring strike just past the hands of the Riders secondary to Caleb Johnson gave the Rams a 20-14 advantage. Stephens-Peppers attempted to run in the two point conversion but was stopped by the St. Marys defensive line before he could do so.

Starting with 9:01 and at their own 20 yard line the Roughriders moved the football inside the Trotwood 20 but were forced to settle for a 23 yard Gabe Vandever field goal that cut the Rams lead to 20-17 a minute before the halftime break. In an attempt to ice Vandever, Trotwood head coach and former 11 year NFL veteran WR Jeff Graham took all three of his timeouts in succession whenever the Riders Sophomore kicker lined up to attempt his kicks.

Just as they had done to end the first half the Roughriders milked over seven minutes off the clock to open the second hald and utilized a 1 yard Julius Fisher touchdown burst to finish off a 15 play, 64 yard drive and go ahead of Trotwood 24-20.

On the second play of the next offensive drive for the Rams they were forced to hold their collective breath as they lost Hargrove to an apparent left leg injury when he was tackled for no gain by many members of the Rider defense. Four plays after the injury the Rams found themselves unable to connect on another two point conversion following a touchdown as backup tailback William McDaniel sliced his way 32 yards through the St. Marys defense to put his team back on top 26-24 with 2:55 to go in the third.

Another 23 yard field goal for St. Marys gave the Roughriders back the lead and came at the end of a long drive that saw the offense stopped on a third down play and made the score 27-26 in the WBL Champions favor with 10:00 remaining in the contest.

McDaniel would score once more in the game as with 6:54 to go he thundered in from two yards out to push the Rams advantage to 32-27. Stephens-Peppers connection on the two point pass conversion attempt was right on target to Caleb Johnson and made it 34-27 in their squads favor.

With 6:49 and all three timeouts the Roughriders began what would turn out to be their final drive of the game at their own 38. Behind big runs from Sean Perry, Dustin Howell, Fisher, and Spicer the Riders quickly made their way across the midfield stripe and into Trotwood territory.

Near the three minute mark the Riders were forced to make a decision on what play to run on fourth down and went with a pass to Sean Perry on the back side. Despite having a majority of the players chasing Howell on the opposite side of the field the Rams were able to make a stop on Perry before he could get a full head of steam and force a turnover on downs to end the St. Marys opportunity to put a score on the board.

Trotwood (11-2) would pick up a pair of first downs on their ensuing possession and run out the remaining 3:08 left in the contest to preserve the victory, their 7th consecutive trip to the State Semifinals. The Rams will now match up with unbeaten Toledo Central Catholic next Saturday night as TCC defeated Lexington by a 19-0 margin to set up a rematch from last season that was won by TCC 21-13.

St. Marys sees their first trip to the Regional Finals come to an end at 11-2 and as three way champions in the WBL. The Riders will say goodbye to 21 Seniors, a group that were 0-10 in their Freshman year before Coach Doug Frye returned to lead the program to 22 wins in three seasons at the helm and help bring the program back from the bottom of the league where they had been with him absent.

Raveion Hargrove led Trotwood in rushing as he rushed for 212 yards for the third time in the last four games. Stephens-Peppers connected on 8/11 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown pass to lead the air attack for the Rams. Altogether Trotwood accumulated 441 yards on 47 offensive plays from scrimmage.

The Riders were led offensively by Julius Fisher’s 139 yards rushing and 1 touchdown on 28 carries while classmate Eric Spicer finished just behind him with 134 yards on 18 rushes and a pair of touchdowns. Through the air the Roughriders finished 4/6 for 59 yards and no touchdowns and overall picked up 416 yards on 64 plays.

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D3R12 Regional Final Preview

PIQUA, OH – Saturday night at Piqua Alexander Stadium and Purk Field the St. Marys Roughriders will take on the Trotwood Madison Rams at 7pm with a trip to the Division 3 State Semifinals on the line.

For the past six seasons the Rams have dominated the Region and have made seven overall trips to the State Semifinals but have come away with just one trophy (2011).

St. Marys is seeking their first trip to the State Semis since they 2004 when they finished as State Runner-Up to Benedictine.

On the season both teams have featured high powered offenses as Trotwood is averaging 41 points per game while the Roughriders are the third highest single season offensive attack in school history with 447 points (37.3). Defensively the Riders are surrendering just 11 points per contest while their opponents from Trotwood have given away just 103 markers on the season (8.6).

When Trotwood Madison has the football they will rely on a pair of All-GWOC selections in Junior RB Raveion Hargrove and South Division Co-Athlete of the Year in QB Markell Stephens-Peppers. Hargrove who finished with over 3,000 yards rushing as a Sophomore last season has accounted for 1186 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns while Stephens-Peppers has thrown for 1624 yards, 20 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.

During their 12 games this season the Rams are giving up just 76.0 yards rushing per game which is second in the entire GWOC behind Wayne’s 65.8 yards allowed. Trotwood is led by Kobe Vinegar (103 tackles, 3 sacks) and James Parker (83 tackles) and have allowed more then 10 points only 5 times this season while also posting a pair of shutouts along the way.

Last week the Rams were victorious 47-10 over New Richmond in a contest they found themselves ahead 41-3 at halftime. In the win Trotwood accumulated 400 total yards and held New Richmond’s offense to 216 total yards. Hargrove scored the contests opening touchdown as he rushed for a 63 yard gain, and later added a marker from 4 yards out on his way to 117 yards on just 8 carries for the evening. Stephens-Peppers connected on 5/9 passing for 184 yards and a trio of touchdowns, including a 62 yard strike to Caleb Johnson that resulted in the Rams second score of the game.

In their 55-31 victory over Region 12’s top ranked Franklin Wildcats the Roughriders rushed for 450 yards as a team and just missed having three rushers finish with 100 plus yards on the evening (Eric Spicer 15/174, Julius Fisher 22/125, Sean Perry 11/98). St. Marys finished the contest with 650 all-purpose yards and were led by Spicer who in addition to his ground gain returned a 96 yard kickoff return for a touchdown just moments after a Franklin score.

Defensively the Roughriders gang tackling efforts saw seven players finish in double digits in tackles, led by Grant Keith’s 15 stops. On the season the Riders have three players (Austin Giesige 125, Keith 121, Jackson Harris 110) with triple digits in total tackles and two more within a pair of tackles from hitting that mark.

A big weapon for the Roughriders during their playoff run and through the course of the season has been their kicker Gabe Vandever. Last week Vandever connected on 7/7 extra point attempts and on both of his field goal attempts. On the year the St. Marys Sophomore has broken a pair of school records with 7/7 effort on field goals and is now the school single season leader and career leader for field goals made.

St. Marys Head Coach Doug Frye on the Rams offense: “They’ve been the team in the region to beat. Their QB play has been very good if not great, their QB has done a terrific job. This is the best Trotwood offense I’ve seen over the years. We just need to play great team defense and tackle a little better than we have in the past couple of weeks”.

What: Division 3 Regional Finals
Who: St. Marys (11-1), Trotwood Madison (10-2)
Where: Alexander Stadium, Purk Field (Piqua, Ohio)

Listen live: WKKI Radio 94.3 FM (6:30pm Pregame, 7:00pm Kickoff)

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Roughriders roll into Regional Finals

HUBER HEIGHTS, OH – St. Marys on paper might have come in as the underdog but they surely did not play like one Saturday night in Huber Heights as the fourth seeded Roughriders eliminated top seeded Franklin from the Division 3 playoffs 55-31.

Having won the opening kickoff the Riders decided to take their chances on offense first, and just as it had last week at home against Belmont that decision would pay off again as they put points on the board to end their first chance with the football.

Starting from their own 32 the Roughriders utilized a trio of runners in Eric Spicer, Julius Fisher, and Sean Perry as they moved quickly into Franklin territory before being forced to settle for a Gabe Vandever 31 yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Franklin and their big play offense were able to move the ball effectively on their opening possession, but saw it come to an end when a pass from Junior QB Braden White found its way into the hands of St. Marys defender Drew Jacobs.

Eleven plays and close to five minutes came off the board for St. Marys on their second drive of the game as Coach Doug Frye’s troops reeled off four first downs including a 46 yard scamper from Spicer. Julius Fisher’s first touchdown of the evening put the Roughriders ahead by a 10-0 margin heading into the second quarter.

Behind 10-0 early in the second stanza the Wildcats finally were able to dent the scoreboard in the contest as White connected on a 10 yard touchdown pass to Jared Kinzer to cut the Rider advantage down to just three.

Just one play after seeing teammate Julius Fisher pick up a 10 yard gain on first down it was again Eric Spicer’s turn for the big play as he jaunted 65 yards through the Franklin defense for his 14th rushing touchdown of the season to push the Riders lead back to double digits at 17-7.

On the ensuing kickoff the Wildcats found themselves behind the benefit of a 15 yard penalty against their opponents for hit to the head and set up shop near midfield. Despite having worked the ball inside the St. Marys red zone the home team was forced to settle for a 25 yard field goal to get within 7 as they fumbled the ball on third down and were backed up six yards.

As he had done the previous time that Franklin came away with a score, Spicer against pushed the Rider lead back to where it had been as he returned a kickoff 95 yards for his second touchdown of the game.

Julius Fisher’s second touchdown run of the first half came on the Riders last possession of the quarter that began at the Franklin 27 following a bad punt by the Wildcats and he blitzed in from two yards out to make it a 31-10 St. Marys lead heading into the halftime break.

In the first half Spicer accounted for 332 all purpose yards and helped his team accumulate 251 yards on the ground with his 9 carries for 156. Total offense for the first half of play had the Riders out gain their opponents 251-246.

Ryan Montgomery, the dynamic Junior all-purpose threat for Franklin started the second half with a 22 yard touchdown run for his squad that cut the lead down to 31-17 just two minutes into the third quarter.

A fumble on the first play of the next St. Marys drive hit the turf and found its way right back into the arms of a waiting Roughrider. Following the fumble recovery in which they actually gained three yards of field position, the Riders would be faced with a third down and be forced to throw their first pass since Week 10 against OG. On their first and only passing play of the contest, Dustin Howell connected with Julius Fisher for a 15 yard gain that gave St. Marys a first down and new life on a drive that almost came to an end on two different occasions. Just as he had done two times previous, Fisher was again the work horse and rumbled in from 12 yards out for a score that put his team on top 38-17.

With Dustin Howell stopped on a third down rushing attempt for no gain on their next drive, the Roughriders were forced to settle for a second Vandever field goal, this one from 25 yards away to extend their advantage to 41-17 with 10:46 remaining in the game.

Franklin cut the St. Marys lead to 41-25 on the next drive when White not only hooked up with Kinzer for a second time in the game, but also ran in a two point conversion just 1:23 later.

Defensively the Roughriders did to White just as they had done to Franklin QB’s in the 1989 game and that was send them repeatedly into the turf all night long. Despite Franklin starting at the St. Marys 49 and moving near the 30, the Riders forced a pair of sacks on third and fourth down to give their offense new live and good field position to begin their next drive.

Riding the momentum of what their defense had been doing all night long in keeping their opponents from scoring, the offensive unit utilized Fisher again and he responded for his fourth touchdown run of the night to make it 48-25 with 3:49 left.

Braden White who would finish 23/28 on the night passing and actually catch a pass himself from Montgomery on the night tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the contest as he connected on a 4 yard score to Noah Kremer to cut the Rider lead down to 48-31.

Starting from their opponents 45 and with 2:27 remaining after a failed onside kick attempt, St. Marys began to milk the clock with their running game. Dustin Howell scrambled up the middle on the drives fourth play and found nothing but 40 yards of Wayne HS field in front of him as he waltzed into the endzone with just :42 left and put the finishing touches on a 55-31 Rider victory.

On the evening three St. Marys rushers went over the century mark as Eric Spicer led the way with 15 carries for 174 yards. Julius Fisher finished with a four touchdown night and went over the 1,000 yard barrier for the season and was joined by Sophomore Sean Perry who in just his second start carried for exactly 100 yards on the evening.

943 yards of total offense was accumulated by the two squads during the contest with St. Marys out gaining their counterparts from Franklin 475-459. The Roughriders rushed 53 times for 460 yards and connected on 1/1 passing for 15 yards while the Wildcats gained 172 on the ground and 287 through the air.

Franklin sees their season come to an end at 11-1 while the Roughriders who scored the second highest amount of points in a playoff game in school history improved their record to 11-1 on the year.

St. Marys will now take on defending region champion Trotwood Madison (10-2) who were victorious over New Richmond 47-10 in their Regional Semifinal contest Saturday night.

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