ST. MARYS — What was getting Wapakoneta down the field wasn’t producing points, so the Redskins employed a little razzle-dazzle to crack the scoreboard and take control of its rivalry game against the St. Marys Roughriders.
Wapakoneta’s 28-yard hook and lateral touchdown late in the second quarter staked the Redskins to a lead they’d never get close to losing. Wapak added a late touchdown and defeated St. Marys, 14-0, on a field at Skip Baughman Stadium that doubled as a marsh for the second time in three weeks.
Photos: Wapakoneta at St. Marys football
Wapakoneta drove inside the St. Marys red zone four times in the first half, but they came up empty after a fumble, two turnovers on downs and a fake field goal that appeared to be perfectly set up but went for an incompletion.
“It was frustrating,” Wapakoneta head coach Doug Frye said.
Back-to-back trick plays finally got the ball across the goal line for Wapak with 2:47 left in the second quarter. Kodi Morgan hit Johnny Crawford with a pass down to the 16 yard line, where he pitched the ball to Alex Greve, who was on Crawford’s right flank. The 28-yard strike and Matt Ewing’s extra point gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead at the half.
“We’ve used that play a number of times through the years. I used it when I was here at St. Marys,” Frye said. “Two seniors, Johnny Crawford and Alex Greve executed the play to perfection.”
On just the play before, Wapakoneta’s Adam Henderson threw a 27-yard halfback pass to Alex Greve, who made a diving catch into St. Marys territory to set up the hook and lateral a play later.
“We had actually called that play earlier, but Adam Henderson being a sophomore got nervous and got us in the wrong formation, so I give him a lot of credit for weathering the circumstances and getting the job done,” Frye said.
The Redskin defense was stingy.
The St. Marys offense produced just two first downs and the Riders didn’t move the chains until the first drive of the second half. St. Marys had 51 total yards of offense on the night and the Roughriders were shut out for the first time this season and for the first time since Oct. 8, 2010 against Ottawa-Glandorf.
St. Marys, which falls to 0-7, kept the game close against a Wapak team that won a playoff game last season, but St. Marys head coach Greg Phillips said his team didn’t look at that as a step forward.
“The players said after the game, ‘Guys, we can’t take this as a moral victory,’” Phillips said. “We’ve got to put it all together and actually win games. They played hard. We didn’t play well, but we played hard. Sooner or later you’d think we have to come out on the positive side of that.”
Frye’s second return to Baughman Stadium as a visiting coach was as successful as the first. The former St. Marys coach and third-year Redskin mentor chuckled as his team ran across the field and slide on their stomachs like it was Slip N’Slide after a third straight win over the Roughriders for the first time since 1964.
With a young quarterback pressed into action and Wapak’s season teetering after falling to .500 with last week’s 27-7 loss to Ottawa-Glandorf, the Redskin defense responded with a dominating performance and a quartet of Redskin running backs kept the ball secure in the soupy conditions.
Wapak’s Jensen Merricle carried the ball 27 times for 162 yards to help ease Morgan into things in his first start at quarterback. The Redskins rushed for 248 yards and the offense did not punt.
“I really thought our senior running backs were the difference in the game,” Wapakoneta head coach Doug Frye said. “They took care of the ball and got the extra yards. At the end of the game I told Derek Dunlap up in the box, who played quarterback here at St. Marys, that we had to be more patient, stick to what we were doing and we did.”