Around the WBL: A look at this week's football games in the Western Buckeye League
Ottawa-Glandorf (7-0, 6-0 WBL) at St. Marys (0-7, 0-6 WBL): An Ottawa-Glandorf win and a Celina loss to Kenton on Friday would assure the Titans of a Western Buckeye League title tie. It would be O-G’s fourth WBL title in the past 11 seasons — yet another accomplishment for Ken Schriner as he has built up the program from one lacking in tradition to a perennial state championship contender over the past 17 years. The Titans are atop their Division IV Region 20’s standings and ranked second by the Associated Press in Division IV. They’ve been to the playoff for seven straight years.
The Titans rely on a big offense line and skilled runners to go behind it. Four of O-G’s five offensive linemen are 225 pound or more, including 6-foot-5, 290-pound Derek Rieman and 6-foot-5, 250-pound Wyatt Karhoff.
O-G runs for 311 yards per game and has the league’s only 1,00-yard rusher in Tristan Parker. Parker has rushed for 1,165 yards on 154 carries – good for 7.6 yards per carry. Parker has scored 15 rushing touchdown, which ties him with Bath’s Doug Sanders for the WBL lead. Quarterback Caleb Siefker is the second option in the offense with 599 yards rushing on 95 carries and seven TDs.
St. Marys’ strength is in its run defense, where it ranks in the top half of the WBL rankings in both yards per carry and yards per game given up.
The Riders are the fourth-best WBL defense in terms of yards per game given up and fifth in terms of yards per carry given up at 4.3 yards per carry.
St. Marys stayed close to Wapakoneta in a 14-0 loss on Skip Baughman’s muddy field, but St. Marys mustered just two first downs and 51 total yards of offense.
Bath (5-2, 4-2 WBL) at Elida (5-2, 4-2 WBL): Bath is 5-2, but the Wildcats sit in 15th place in Division IV’s Region 14 standings. Until last week’s 27-26 win over Kenton, the Wildcats had yet to beat a team with a winning record this season. Wins over winless St. Marys and Van Wert hasn’t boosted the computer points. They’ll get a shot at shooting up the region if they can close with wins against Elida, O-G and Celina — three teams with a combined 18-3 record.
No team is as good as Bath at balancing the running and passing game in the WBL. The Wildcats are the fourth-ranked rushing and passing team in the league, making for a team that scores 37 points per game and has 22 rushing TDs and 15 passing TDs.
Elida’s playoff hopes have taken on water after back-to-back to losses to Kenton and O-G (in heartbreaking 14-13 fashion no less) have dropped the Bulldogs to 11th in the Division III, Region 10 computer points standings.
Elida leans on its stout defense that gives up a WBL-fewest 203 yards per game.
Celina (6-1, 5-1 WBL) at Kenton (4-3, 4-2 WBL): Celina must keep winning to keep pace in the cutthroat Division II Region 8 computer point standings. The Bulldogs are 6-1 and just a two-point loss to Division IV’s second-ranked team away from being unbeaten, but Celina is just in the playoffs if the season ended today in the eighth slot. Celina has four undefeated teams in front of it in the region and one in Western Brown just a spot behind them.
Celina will need to traverse through a tough road of Kenton, Elida and Bath if it wants to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
For the first time since 2007, Kenton is in danger of not having the highest-scoring offense in the WBL. O-G is scoring 41 points per game and Kenton is scoring 40 points per contest so far this season. Bath’s last-second win over the Wildcats last week also means Kenton is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Defiance (3-4, 3-3) at Shawnee (1-6, 1-5): Defiance’s arrival in the softest part of its schedule means Jerry Buti’s Bulldogs have racked up back-to-back wins and are a win over 1-6 Shawnee away from climbing back to .500 on the season.
Shawnee has lost four straight games at home dating back to last season. Shawnee has won the last three meetings, and Defiance hasn’t scored more than seven points against Shawnee since 2008.
Van Wert (0-7, 0-6) at Wapakoneta (4-3, 3-3): Doug Frye’s Redskins held St. Marys to 51 total yards of offense in the slop and mud at Skip Baughman Stadium, even with Kodi Morgan making his first-ever varsity start at quarterback. Morgan will get his second start against a Van Wert defense that is giving up a league-worst 37.4 points per game.