Riders Receive Valuable Experience In Scrimmage Win

St. Marys' quarterback Carter Ballweg runs toward the sideline, scoring the game-winning touchdown on Friday in a scrimmage against Bellefontaine.
Sports Editor

Aside from the final score, St. Marys Roughriders coach Doug Frye has liked the scrimmage schedule and liked what Friday’s scrimmage gave to his team, a look at variations of situational football.

In the Roughriders’ 25-21 comeback win against the Chieftains in Bellefontaine, St. Marys — a roster filled with many first-year starters throughout — garnered valuable game experience heading into Sidney in fewer than seven days.

“We had some wide-eyed players on the sideline that need to get some in-game experience,” Frye said. “I thought it was a perfect scrimmage for both teams really because we were able to do a lot of different things.

“We ran our two-minute offense, we were scrambling on defense by putting in a number of different people in at times. There were just a number of different situations that we were able to be in tonight.”

One example of situational football that occurred on Friday was the game-winning drive by the Roughriders’ No. 2 offensive unit.

With St. Marys trailing 21-18, Bellefontaine extended its next drive into the fourth quarter and began to creep into redzone territory with 9:03 remaining after converting a fourth down.

Needing to make a play at the most crucial time of the game, St. Marys got one when Eddie Fowler came from behind quarterback Grant Smith, knocking the ball loose and giving the ball back to the Riders with 8:28 remaining.

And like Roughriders football, St. Marys embarked on a 16-play, 69-yard drive engineered under center by Carter Ballweg as the junior gave the Riders the go-ahead score on a 12-yard scamper to the right sideline.

“It is a major difference from a year ago because we are still searching for starters and that could be ever-changing in the next few weeks,” Frye said. “Our competition is building depth for us.

“This is a very good Bellefontaine team, but we still have a ways to go and we still need to grow up in some areas.”

St. Marys began the scoring with an opening-drive touchdown that ate up 6:49, amassing 80 yards and culminated by a two-yard dive by Colin Clements for a 7-0 St. Marys lead.

Four plays later, Bellefontaine answered with a 41-yard touchdown run by Colin Palmer to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter.

St. Marys regained the lead in the beginning of the second quarter on a Gabe Vandever 28-yard field goal, before the Chieftains took their first lead of the contest when Palmer scored from eight yards out, with a 14-10 lead.

On Bellefontaine’s next possession, which opened the third quarter, the Chieftains continued their scoring when quarterback Dezmin Lvburtus leaped over a pile from two yards out, giving Bellefontaine a commanding 21-10 lead as part of 14 unanswered points.

But St. Marys scored the next 15 points of the game after that in typical Roughriders fashion.

The No. 1 unit’s final drive happened after Bellefontiane made the score 21-10, when Ty Schlosser scored a four-yard touchdown. A two-point try by Ty Howell moved St. Marys within one possession, trailing 21-18.