WAPAKONETA — St. Marys has a rich tradition in football.
Since its existence in the Western Buckeye League, St. Marys has notched 24 league titles, including this year’s championship.
However, the last time the Roughriders went undefeated in the WBL was 1993. That is, until Friday night’s 10-0 victory over Wapakoneta at Harmon Field.
With the outright WBL title already in its possession, St. Marys also wanted to close out the regular season with one more win and notch a perfect league mark.
With Friday’s game being on the road, and the weather conditions being far from perfect, it wasn’t going to be an easy task for the Roughriders.
However, St. Marys (9-1, 9-0 WBL) ran the football effectively, and its defense kept the Redskins out of the end zone en route to the shutout.
For the game, the usual-potent St. Marys running attack rolled up 257 yards and recorded 18 first downs. Defensively, the Roughriders held Wapakoneta (6-4, 6-3) to 191 total yards (111 rushing, 80 passing).
“It’s hard to evaluate tonight’s game.” St. Marys coach Doug Frye said. “I think both teams played hard, and they played with a lot of class. It was just a typical rivalry game that you would see in the Western Buckeye League – especially between St. Marys and Wapak.
“The weather was so nasty. So, both coaches had to play somewhat conservative. I was really playing a field-position game for most of the night.”
Ending the regular season with an unblemished league record was a goal for Frye’s squad.
“I don’t know how it happened tonight, but we lost 18 seniors (from last year’s team),” Frye said. “We haven’t been undefeated in the league since 1993. So, we’ll go back and figure out the things that we can correct. But tonight, we’re going to enjoy being the undefeated Western Buckeye League champs.”
St. Marys got on the scoreboard quickly against the Wapakoneta defense.
On its second possession of the game, the Roughriders went 44 yards in six plays to score their only TD on the night. Sean Perry (28 carries, 152 yards) capped off the scoring drive with a 13-yard run. With the extra point by Gabe Vandever, St. Marys had the early 7-0 lead.
Midway through the third quarter, Vandever capped off a 13-play drive by the Roughriders with a 19-yard field goal to round out the scoring.
Zach Miller led Wapakoneta with 77 rushing yards on 16 touches. Quarterback Brady Erb was 11 of 20 passing for 80 yards but had two interceptions.
After starting the season with a loss to Sidney, the Roughriders have now reeled off nine consecutive wins. St. Marys will host a playoff game next Friday in the first round of the postseason.
“Frankly, when we came into the season there were so many question marks, and I think that really drives the team,” Frye said. “We knew every day, when we came to practice, that we needed to get better. There was no option at that point.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.