ELIDA — Defense dominated the second half of the St. Marys-Elida football game.
That was just fine to Elida head coach Jason Carpenter and his Bulldogs, who had built up a 17-point cushion and had a swarming defense stymying the Roughrider offense.
The Elida defense held the Roughriders under 140 total yards of offense in a dominating 27-3 victory at Kraft Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
"I loved how our guys came out today and got an early three and out," Carpenter said."I liked how they responded and when they got here they were ready to play."
A night after thunderstorms postponed the final 25 minutes of the game, Elida's defense continued to stonewall the St. Marys offense by pitching a second-half shutout to help the Bulldogs to a 3-0 start and a 2-0 beginning in the Western Buckeye League.
Led by their four senior returning linebackers and a stout front four, Elida limited St. Marys to 98 yards rushing and just 38 yards through the air.
St. Marys again couldn't find much luck outside the tackles after an early 21-yard run by quarterback Dustin Fisher. After that, St. Marys had just three plays on offense of more than nine yards the rest of the way.
"The game comes down to a complete lack of consistency on offense," St. Marys head coach Greg Phillips said. "We had five stops on defense in the second half. We had the ball four times and we ended up with fourth and two or three yards on every one of those four series. In each of those series we had one negative play where we screwed something up. We were trying to get a first down on two plays and you can't win that way."
The resumed second half lacked scoring, but both Carpenter and Phillips thought their players responded well to coming back about 14 hours after the game had been postponed with 1:21 left in the first half on Friday night and Elida leading 20-3.
"This was just one of things that we had to overcome some adversity," Carpenter said.
Neither team scored any points in the third quarter.
"Defensively, we played well enough for this to be a one-touchdown game," said Phillips, who said the last time he remembered having to come back for a second day to finish a game was about 20 years ago as an assistant coach.
St. Marys' Jarrett Taylor and Neil Perry each recorded sacks for the Roughrider defense.
Elida sophomore running back Desmend White scored on a two-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter for the game's only second half score.
White rushed for 110 yards and the score on just 11 carries to lead an Elida rushing attack that was largely non-existent in wins over Piqua and Wapakoneta in Weeks 1 and 2.
"St. Marys was pinching pretty hard inside, so we had to run our option," Carpenter said. "If teams are going to do that we have to run to the outside. It was nice to see that our option was there and we got the running game going. Hopefully that just makes us that much more dangerous so we can run inside, outside and we can throw the ball."
Paired with White in the backfield is another underclassman who aquitted himself well. On Friday, Elida sophomore quarterback Clark Etzler threw three touchdowns to senior wide receiver Brandon Stinson. Etzler went 15 for 21 for 169 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on an underthrown fade pass into the arms of St. Marys defensive back Trent Slife in the third quarter.
Stinson finished the game with 4 catches for 81 yards and the three scores. He also returned an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second half that was nullified by a block in the back.
"We just try to get the ball in his hands and see what he can do," Carpenter said. "Other teams know what he can do, so when there are opportunities, we do that. He's a great player."
St. Marys rotated corners on Stinson and held him catchless in the second half.
Elida outgained the Riders 297-136 in total yardage.
St. Marys' lone score came in the first half on a Clayton Trogdlon 37-yard field goal on Friday night that gave St. Marys a 3-0 lead early.
St. Marys falls to 0-3 and 0-2 in the WBL with a trip to Bath next Friday on the horizon.
"There's only one way I know to fix this and it's to work hard," Phillips said. "We have great kids and they're trying the best they can. I've got a good coaching staff, too. We have to roll up our sleeves and get ready for Bath."
Elida travels to winless Van Wert on Friday.