WAPAKONETA — In a matter of a few minutes late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter, Wapakoneta turned its rivalry game against St. Marys from a back-and-forth affair into a runaway romp.
The Redskins scored a touchdown with no time left on the clock going into halftime, recovered an onside kick to start the third quarter and grabbed control from there on out in a 48-22 victory over the Roughriders at Harmon Field on Friday night.
Wapakoneta never punted and rolled up 555 yards of total offense as it steamrolls ahead at 7-0, 6-0 in the Western Buckeye League.
“We couldn’t get a stop, that’s what it came down to,” St. Marys head coach Greg Phillips said.
St. Marys fell to 3-4, 2-4 in the WBL.
The offense that Wapakoneta head coach Doug Frye labeled the “Wing N’ Fling” last season was all spread on Friday.
“The fling definitely showed up tonight,” said Frye, who moved to 2-0 against his former team.
Doing that flinging was an unheralded quarterback who is now 2-0 against the Roughriders as a underclassman starting quarterback. Wapakoneta junior signal caller Kyle Gibson was flawless, spending the entire night out of the shotgun with plenty of time to pick and choose his targets. Gibson went 19-of-21 for 292 yards passing and three touchdowns and rushed for another 119 yards and a score to lead the Redskins to a win for the second straight year.
“Our kids are getting a taste of this winning and a taste of success,” said Frye. “ And they’re really liking it. We’ve still got some work to do defensively. And we had a lot of penalties tonight. But man, what about that fling tonight?”
Johnny Crawford caught six passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, while Kevin Kraft had seven catches for 80 yards, a receiving touchdown and another score on an inside reverse.
While last season’s game was all about Wapak’s power running game and letting a sophomore in Gibson manage the game to the tune of 66 yards passing, Frye and the Redskins flipped the script and attacked through the air a St. Marys defensive secondary that has been picked on more than any other secondary in the WBL this fall.
“We’ve not done a good job stopping the pass all year,” said Phillips, whose defense gave up a 300-yard passing game last week against Defiance and let up 292 yards through the air last night. “Everyone hears about Maty Mauk and they forget about there’s other good quarterbacks in this league...There’s a lot of underrated quarterbacks in this league.”
Not much went vertical down the field, but Gibson was precise on bubble screens and his receivers were shifty in space.
“Our kids caught the ball well and Kyle put it where they could make plays,” Frye said. “ He gave our kids an opportunity to make plays.”
Gibson connected with a wide open Kraft down the left sideline for a 28-yard score with no time remaining to put Wapak up 28-14 at the half. St. Marys’ defense has given up touchdowns on the last play of the first half in two straight weeks. Wapak drove 85 yards in the half’s final 1:02.
But Phillips said his team still was in the game. The first play of the second half took the wind out of his team’s sails. Wapakoneta recovered an onside kick that bounced off a Roughrider and careened to midfield.
“That second half kick-off, that really killed us,” Phillips said. “I think we were fine even after that touchdown to end the half... We came in at halftime and the kids’ heads were up and they were engaged, they were asking questions. But when that ball bounced off us and they went down and scored, that was a big-time momentum changer right there.”
Wapakoneta then started the second half the same way it began the game — with a touchdown drive. Eight plays later Gibson found Josh Carder on a 20-yard touchdown pass on a third and two to put Wapak up 35-14.
A Gibson 57-yard touchdown scamper and a Gibson to Crawford 14-yard touchdown connection on fourth and goal gave Wapak the big cushion.
St. Marys tailack D.J. Manning had a 166-yard and three-touchdown rushing performance. Manning rushed for his third TD of the game in the fourth quarter on a 62-yard run for a score.
“I was pleased by that part of it, and it all goes back to our offensive line which has been the most consistent part of our team and we have a pretty good running back to hand the ball to,” Phillips said.
Wapakoneta’s Connor Pickens and St. Marys’ Manning alternated rushing touchdowns in the first half as the teams were knotted 14-14. Pickens finished the game with 83 yards on 14 carries.
Kraft’s 37-yard rushing touchdown gave Wapak a 20-14 lead.
St. Marys drove the ball down to the Wapak 48 yard line late in the second quarter, but the Riders didn’t get a pass interference call when wide reciever Tre Sherman appeared to be bumped on a 3rd and 12. St. Marys punted the ball away and Wapak drove the 85 yards in the final 1:02 of the half. “The officials discussed it and decided the defensive player didn’t bump him,” Phillips said. “He cleaned his clock. I’d definitely like to have that throw back. He was open on the stop and go route.”
St. Marys travels to Ottawa-Glandorf next Friday night.
ST. MARYS 22
1 2 3 4 F
SM 7 7 0 8 — 22
W 7 21 7 13 — 48
W — Conner Pickens 4-yard TD run (Kick Good), W7-0, 6:53 (10-play, 75-yard drive, T.O.P. 5:07).
SM — D.J. Manning 11-yard TD run (Kick Good), 7-7, 2:48 (8-play, 60-yard drive, T.O.P. 4:05).
W — Pickens 15-yard TD run (Kick Good), W14-7, 11:03 (8-play, 85-yard drive, T.O.P. 3:45).
SM — Manning 1-yard TD run (Kick Good), 14-14, 6:02 (8-play, 85-yard drive, T.O.P. 3:45).
W — Kevin Kraft 39-yard TD run (Kick failed), W20-14, 3:16 (7-play, 78-yard drive, T.O.P. 2:46).
W — Kevin Kraft 28-yard TD reception from Kyle Gibson (2pt. conversion on Kraft reception), W28-14, 0:00 (5-play, 85-yard drive, T.O.P. 1:02).
W — 20-yard Josh Carder TD reception from Gibson (Kick Good), W35-14, 8:35 (8-play, 54-yard drive, T.O.P. 3:23).
W — Gibson 57-yard TD run (Kick Good), W42-22, 9:06 (2-play, 75-yard drive, T.O.P. 0:38).
SM — Manning 62-yard TD run (Manning 2pt. Conversion), W42-22, 8:46 (1-play, 62-yard drive, T.O.P. 0:20).
W — Johnny Crawford 14-yard TD reception from Gibson (2pt. Conversion Failed), W48-22, 4:37 (9-play, 53-yard drive, T.O.P. 4:09).
W — Kyle Gibson 19-21-292, 2 TDs.
SM — T.J. Powell 3-6-36; D.J. Manning 0-1-0.
W — Conner Pickens 14-83, Kyle Gibson 16-119, Kevin Kraft 5-49, Josh Windle 2-16, Zerrick Brannan 1-0, Brandon Erb 2-(-)4.
SM — D.J. Manning 22-166, Dustin Fisher 1-2, T.J. Powell 5-27, Brad Sawmiller 5-17, Jared Knous 2-1.
SM — Steven Paulus 1-14, Tre Sherman 2-22.
WAPAK — Johnny Crawford 6-122, TD; Kevin Kraft 7-80, TD; Josh Carder 3-42, TD; Nic Sawmiller 4-48.
TURNOVERS 1 0
RUSHING 35-213 40-263
PASSING 3-7-36 19-21-292
TOTALS OFF. 249 555