ST. MARYS — Beware, future St. Marys opponents. The Roughriders have put in a new wrinkle in their Wing-T attack, and that, along with a tenacious defense, helped them manhandle Ottawa-Glandorf 49-6 in the Western Buckeye League opener for both teams Friday night.
St. Marys improves to 2-0 overall and Ottawa-Glandorf slips to 1-1 on the season.
Who would have ever thought the Roughriders would feature a spread-like appearance, with an empty backfield, minus the quarterback, and still be as effective as the running Roughriders of the past?
St. Marys coach Doug Frye said passing is something they don’t do a lot of, but they have been working on this new offensive approach.
“It is my fifth year here, and I had some goals and that was one of them,” Frye said.
St. Marys signal caller Braeden Dunlap, with the new look, was effective both running and passing the ball. For the night Dunlap ran for 60 yards on 19 carries for one touchdown, with the bulk of those runs coming out of the Wildcat-type formation. The Roughrider field general was a crisp 6 of 7 through the air for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
That is not to say St. Marys is abandoning the run, after the Roughriders rushed for 217 yards on the ground.
Perry led the Riders in rushing with 66 yards. Fans will have to dig deep to find out the last time the Roughriders passed for more than 100 yards and did not have an individual running back rush for 100 yards.
“That is not what you expect out of St. Marys, so give them credit because they are effective at what they do,” Titan coach Ken Schriner said. “Who would have thought they would go away from the Wing-T? “
But while the Roughrider offense caught Ottawa-Glandorf off guard, it was the St. Marys defense that did the most damage after forcing four first-half turnovers that helped the Roughriders gain an early advantage.
“We just can’t make those mistake.” Schriner said. “Last week, we made similar mistakes, and we were able to come out on top, and this week obviously we can’t do that. The things that we are doing are aggravating right now, and we need to get better.”
The Roughriders opened up a 28-point lead after the opportunistic St. Marys defense took advantage of three Titan interceptions that led to touchdowns.
Up already 7-0 after scoring on their opening drive, the Roughriders put themselves in scoring position after Carter Ballwegg picked off a pass at the Titans’ 45 in O-G’s opening possession. Seven plays later, Sean Perry, on a third-and-1 at the 13, rumbled into the end zone to give St. Marys the 14-0 lead after the successful extra point with 6:47 left in the first quarter.
It took less than three minutes for the Riders to go up 21-0, after St. Marys picked off another pass on O-G’s next possession. Howell stepped up and picked off the pass, and the Riders took over at the 24-yard line.
St. Marys notched its third touchdown when Perry ran it in from it from the 15-yard line on a fourth-and-1 play. After the extra point, St. Marys led by three scores with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
A third interception, the second for Ballwegg, came less than two minutes later, when the Rider cornerback came up with the pick to put St. Marys at the Titan 37-yard line.
Seven plays later, the Riders hit paydirt for the fourth time after Howell plunged in from 1 yard out with 5:31 left in the second quarter.
O-G appeared to be heading for its first score of the game when the Titans drove down to the St. Marys 5-yard line. On fourth-and-goal, O-G fumbled the ball away for its fourth turnover of the half.
“We’ve had difficulty with them, and they had beat us seven-straight years until last year and had trouble putting points on the board against them, and we emphasized that to our kids all week,” Frye said. “I thought our kids responded and played really hard tonight.”
Titan quarterback Jeremy Leopold finished the night 11-for-21 for 92 yards and three interceptions. On the ground, the Titan quarterback rushed for 77 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown.