Around the WBL: A look at this week's match-ups on the Western Buckeye League gridiron
St. Marys (0-8, 0-7 WBL) at Van Wert (0-8, 0-7 WBL)
One team’s long wait for a first victory will end on Friday when the St. Marys football team treks north to venerable Egress Stadium in Van Wert to face the Cougars.
St. Marys head coach Greg Phillips hopes it’s his team, but the Roughriders’ second-year coach said his team can’t afford to take anyone lightly as his team looks to avoid the school’s first winless season.
“I’ll tell our kids to not look at the records of the team we’re playing,” Phillips said. “I want our kids to improve and if we do, we can go up there and get our first win of the season.”
Van Wert is in its first season under Delphos St. John’s grad and former Marion Catholic head coach and Oak Harbor assistant Keith Recker. Recker was the offensive coordinator for former St. Marys assistant and current Oak Harbor head coach Mike May.
Both teams enter the game winless and starving for that first win and some offensive output.
The Roughriders are scoring 9.1 points per game and were shut out for the second time this season last week in a 62-0 loss to Ottawa-Glandorf.
Van Wert scores a WBL-worst six points per game, has been shut out twice and has scored more than seven points just once this season.
Cougar quarterback Tyler Williams has throw for 616 yards on 43 of 126 passing (34.1 completion percentage) and two touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions.
St. Marys used two quarterbacks last week after a shoulder injury to senior Dustin Fisher limited him to playing running back. Adam Brown and Jordan Fisher split time at the quarterback spot on short notice. Brown was 7 of 10 for 38 yards passing with an interception. Fisher was 3 of 4 for 27 yards.
The game also matches up the teams who give up the most points per game in the WBL.
Celina (6-2, 5-2 WBL) at Elida (6-2, 5-2 WBL)
The Western Buckeye League’s marquee game has two playoff hopefuls battling in Allen County. Celina’s WBL title hopes likely ended with last week’s loss to 46-42 loss to Kenton. Now the Bulldogs need to win out to have a shot at the playoffs after they were revealed to be 10th in Division II’s Region 8’s computer points standings this week. A win against an Elida team that is eighth in its Division III region would provide a boatload of computer points. Elida could make a playoff re-appearance if it can knock off Celina this week and Defiance in Week 10. Elida snapped a two-game losing streak with a 42-20 win over Bath last Friday night.
Ottawa-Glandorf (8-0, 7-0 WBL) at Bath (5-3, 4-3 WBL)
An Ottawa-Glandorf win would give the Titans the outright WBL title with a week to spare. After drubbing St. Marys 62-0, O-G has scored 52 or more points in four of their eight games this season. Even with its dominance this season, O-G isn’t receiving a single first place vote in the AP Poll. They are No. 2 in Division IV behind Columbus Bishop Hartley. Third-place Norwayne is receiving first-place votes, as well. Bath’s dim playoff hopes faded with a 42-20 loss to Elida last week. A win in the season’s final two week would assure Bath of its first winning record since 2003.
Kenton (5-3, 5-2 WBL) at Defiance (4-4, 4-3 WBL)
Kenton’s win over Celina last week kept the Wildcats in the running for the playoffs. They are 10th in their Division IV region and need to win out while getting help around them. Defiance’s late-season awakening continued with a thrilling 42-40 win over Shawnee last week. Defiance has won four straight games since beating St. Marys on Sept. 28 and is now 4-4 on the season and 4-3 in the WBL.
Shawnee (1-7, 1-6 WBL) at Wapakoneta (5-3, 4-3 WBL)
Wapakoneta hopes to finish the season strong as it has won two straight and gotten back above .500 in WBL play with a 35-0 win over Van Wert last Friday. The Redskins now close against 1-7 Shawnee and Kenton. Shawnee was stunned in the final seconds by Defiance in a 42-40 loss. Shawnee has lost six straight games.