What a crazy first week for the Western Buckeye League.
The three teams that shared the league title last year all fell and the teams that were at the bottom of the league standings won.
Ottawa-Glandorf and St. Marys square off this week. This game is not just about who might vie for the title but it takes on a bigger meaning for two teams trying to recover from losses.
For St. Marys, the Roughriders lost a back-and-forth battle to Sidney, 39-32.
“First and foremost we need to improve our fundamentals,” St. Marys head coach Doug Frye said. “Second, Sidney was a team with a lot of athleticism with a lot of good football players and three kids who are going to Division I football but the bottom line is we have to get better.”
With a number of new faces seeing action for the first time on both sides of the ball, St. Marys racked up 394 yards of total offense, however, the Roughrider defense gave up 427 yards with 244 of those coming on the ground.
“We are very blessed with talent but we have to fundamentally get better ourselves,” Frye said. “We lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and we are still trying to replace them.”
Roughrider Sean Perry led the team in rushing with 105 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Senior quarterback Colin Clements showed flashes of success, going 5 for 6 for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Braden Dunlap had three catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Frye said the focus remains on shoring up the fundamentals as they prepare for Ottawa-Glandorf. Even though the Titans endured a tough 39-7 loss to Eastwood, Frye adds that they always pose a threat. Last year the Titans upended the Roughriders 13-7 to garner a share of the WBL title.
“Ottawa-Glandorf has had our number,” Frye said. It is a Ken Schriner coached team which means you are going to get a sound football team. Eastwood is a good football team.”
Like Frye, Schriner is looking to “polish things up” and work on game execution and game speed.
“Our challenge is to get better,” Schriner said. “We are dealing with a lot of injuries and we are a young team but we have to play better.”
Schriner added that it is “across the board” on areas of improvement and stressed to his players that they have to step up offensively and defensively.
Against Eastwood, the Titans managed 48 total yards of offense. Defensively, the Titans gave up 317 yards on offense.
The Titans managed 4 yards on 19 carries on the ground against a tough Eastwood defense. Through the air, Ottawa-Glandorf was a dismal 3 of 13 for 44 yards.
Schriner said the team realizes it has to improve if it expects to win, especially against a hungry St. Marys team looking to get in the win column.
“Grow up,” Schriner said when asked what the Titans will need to do if they expect to collect victories. “We need improvements from everyone. We need guys to step up and make plays.”
Schriner added that while he tries to fix the Titans’ problems, he must also focus his attention on how to stop St. Marys.
“We have a whole lot of injuries and St. Marys doesn’t care about that,” Schriner said. “We need to control what we can control and make sure everyone gives 100 percent.”
In other WBL action this week, Van Wert, which snapped a long losing streak with a 27-7 win against Bryan in week one, will have to brace for a Wapakoneta team looking to get on track after a 21-7 loss to Bellefontaine in the season opener. Shawnee, another team that also picked up a big win when it disposed of Delphos Jefferson, 27-6, tackles Defiance, which lost its opener to Napoleon 27-7. Bath and Elida, both teams that posted week 1 wins will renew their rivalry, and Kenton will face Celina.
Like the Western Buckeye League, the NWC saw plenty of surprises as Spencerville and Jefferson suffered defeats and will look to regain footing. Spencerville, which lost to Lima Central Catholic, will face Midwest Athletic opponent Parkway. The Panthers suffered a 38-26 to NWC member Crestview. The Knights tackle Hicksville, which lost to Archbold 37-0. Jefferson will battle Versailles, which opened its season with a 36-7 win against Celina. Bluffton, which handled Cory-Rawson 41-7, will face Van Buren, which lost to Carey 12-7.
Ada, which downed Hardin County rival Upper Scioto Valley, 40-7, takes on Arlington. The Red Devils lost 52-0 to Anna.
Lima Central Catholic, which defeated Spencerville with a resounding 36-21 win in week one, will face rival St. John’s at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Stadium Park in Delphos. The Blue Jays also put up a convincing win, defeating Woodward 46-6.
Pandora-Gilboa opened its season with a 27-14 win against Putnam County rival Columbus Grove and face another test against Tiffin Calvert. The Senecas defeated Hopewell-Loudon 21-12 in their season opener.
In other BVC action, Leipsic edged Patrick Henry, 7-6, and will take on Columbus Grove.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1