ST. MARYS – Could St. Marys out pass Kenton?
The obvious answer is no since the Roughriders rely traditionally on its running game since football was probably introduced to the high school and the Wildcats were one of the frontrunners to embrace the spread offense
But don’t be surprised if the Roughriders throw more than you think when they face Kenton in a key Western Buckeye League showdown Friday nights.
“It has taken us some time to develop that and get to that point,” said St. Marys head coach Doug Frye about instituting the Wildcat style of offense. “Obviously you cannot put your self right away in a position where you are doing things that aren’t going to help you to be successful so we continue to tinker with that and work with that in the five years here and have the type of skilled kids that can do that this year.”
When asked if expects to “out pass” Kenton, Frye replies with a slight smile and a chuckle.
“Who knows,” Frye added. “I don’t believe we have much of a chance of that as prolific as their passing attack is. Again coach Fackler has done a great job with his program. They have got back to where they were at from an offensive and defensive standpoint. They are an exceptional team.”
Both teams are undefeated in the WBL with identical 3-0 marks. St. Marys owns a 4-0 overall mark and Kenton is 3-1 with an opening game loss to powerhouse Coldwater.
Frye said there are three reasons why St. Marys is once again undefeated and ranked No. 1 in Division IV and that is a solid coaching staff that has been together for five years, depth and the relationship that has developed between the coaches and players that led to a strong work ethic by both parties.
Against Ottawa-Glandorf earlier this year, the Riders introduced their own version of the wildcat offense where the quarterback’s options includes the pass and it proved effective against the Titans in a 35-7 victory.
However, St. Marys struggled last week against Shawnee and like last year, escaped with a one-point win, 27-26.
Frye said the game against the Indians is typical of the WBL where any team at any time can come up and give you a run for your money.
“I thought Shawnee played exceptionally well and they tend to do that against us it seems like,” Frye said. “I thought we had many opportunities to finish the game. We were up 27-13 I believe going into the fourth quarter so we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. We missed a couple of field goals and we didn’t convert. It was one of those games we needed to do a better job of finishing those games and that is not to take anything away from Shawnee.”
The Roughriders will have their hand’s full stopping the passing attack of Kenton. Led by the dual threat quarterback, Jaron Sharp, the Wildcats offense is averaging 424 total yards a game.
The Roughrider defense is ranked No. 1 defense in the WBL giving up an average of 212 yards.
Frye said being a defensive coordinator has probably been the toughest job the last 10 or 15 years with the introduction of the pass happy offense and Kenton was one of the first schools to embrace it and he is looking for his defensive coordinator Nick Yahl to come up with a plan to stop the high octane Wildcats.
“He has developed the defense over the years and let’s face it defense wins championships,” Frye added. “What has changed it that Kenton used to be radically different than everyone else but now we see the spread or the zone read every week now you see parts of it every week it.”
Frye added that what is different about Kenton’s is that they do it better than any other team out there.
Wapakoneta contained Sharp for the most part, limiting him to one touchdown toss, but Sharp showed his ability to make things happened and delivered a late drive to upend the Redskins.
Offensively, the Riders, who have expanded their repertoire, will be facing a Wildcat defense that held the Redskins to 10 points and 260 yards on the ground. More importantly Kenton’s defense forced two fumbles.
“Any time you can hold Wapakoneta to 10 points you have an exceptional defense,” the Rider head coach said. “We will have our hand’s full.”
Frye added that the key to winning is to avoid those turnovers and win the battle in the trenches.
“I think the key for us and the key across the league really is the rebuilding of lines,” Frey said. “We talk about the skilled guys and the players that get the press but really where most games are won or lost are in the trenches and it still remains that way.”
In other WBL games, Celina (3-1, 2-1) travels to Ottawa-Glandorf (2-2, 1-2), Elida (2-2, 2-1) to host Wapakoneta (3-1, 2-1), Van Wert (2-2, 1-2) takes on Shawnee (1-3, 0-3) and Bath(0-4, 0-3) battles Defiance.