ST. MARYS — Prior to lining up for a 24-year field goal with 18.4 seconds left and down 24-23, Wapakoneta coach Travis Moyer told his kicker Luke Beach to keep his head down because the crowd will tell you what happens.
Beach split the uprights, and the Redskin faithful let out a huge roar as Beach’s field goal lifted Wapakoneta past St. Marys 26-24 in the final game at Skip Baughman Stadium on Friday night.
The win gives the Redskins a share of the Western Buckeye League title at 8-1, and they finish the regular season at 9-1. St. Marys still holds onto a share of the WBL title, its third straight, but falls to 8-1 in league play and 9-1 on the year.
Moyer said the coaches and players talk about playing 48 minutes and never giving up until there are triple zeroes on the scoreboard.
“We continued to fight and scrap and claw, and I can’t say enough about our football team tonight,” Moyer said. “I told them that this is a moment no one can take away from you no matter what happens to you, good or bad… and I am proud to say that we are champions..”
St. Marys coach Doug Frye gave Wapakoneta credit for pulling out the thrilling win.
“I though they did the necessary things to win the game, and we didn’t get those things done, and hopefully we learn from it, clean it up and get moving,” Frye said.
Beach’s field goal capped of an exciting fourth quarter that saw St. Marys jump ahead of Wapakoneta after Roughrider running back Sean Perry, who finished the game with 188 yards on 25 carries, squirmed and danced his way into the end zone from 36 yards out. After the successful two-point conversion, St. Marys owned a 24-17 lead with 3:35 left in the game.
Not done, Wapakoneta took over at the 41 yard line on the ensuing kicking off after a big run back from Aaron Chambers, who was filling in for the injured Riley Gibson.
On the strength of the legs of Brady Erb and two big pass interference calls, the Redskins marched down the field to the 14 yard line, and then Erb connected with Chambers in the middle of the end zone to put Wapakoneta down by one, 24-23, with 50.6 seconds left in the game.
The Redskins decided to go for the win and went for the two-point conversion. However, a botched direct snap to Evan Kaeck killed the play, and the Roughriders appeared to be sending off Skip Baughman Stadium off in style.
“We made that decision yesterday,” Moyer said. “If we were in that situation, we were going to go for it. The one thing I think you can see is we played this game extremely aggressive.”
But the celebration was quickly put on hold when the Redskins recovered the onsides kick, and Wapakoneta was back in business with less than 47 seconds left in the game.
After two incomplete passes, Wapakoneta was down to its final two downs and in desperate need of a miracle. That came in the form of Noah Ambos. The lanky receiver with few catches all season reached up and outdueled the defensive back 34 yards down the field to put the ball at the 11 yard line with 21 seconds left.
Beach split the uprights from 28 yards, but the Roughriders were called for offsides. The young Redskin kicker had to do it again. Without fail, he sailed it through the goal post for the win.
Erb finished the game with 149 yards passing and 160 yards on the ground.
Both teams continue next week with the start of the playoffs.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.