Good Night Skip: Riders Say Farewell To Iconic Stadium With Postseason Win

St. Marys' Blake Kanorr (97), Jason Taylor (98) and Eddie Fowler (38) tackle Orange's Marvin Davies IV during a Division IV, Region 14 quarterfinal football game on Saturday
Sports Editor

It was a good way to close the doors at Skip Baughman Stadium.

St. Marys left no doubt from the opening kickoff in Saturday’s Division IV, Region 14 quarterfinal — that ended with a special tribute for a stadium that Roughriders football has called home for 81 years — with a 48-13 win against the Lions to advance in the postseason.

With the win, the Roughriders (10-1) will play Western Buckeye League foe Van Wert (9-2) in a semifinal at 7 p.m. next Saturday at a destination to be announced Sunday.

Orange’s season ends at 7-4.

The Roughriders greeted the Lions after Orange endured a three-hour bus trip to Auglaize County with a 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Sean Perry as part of 21 first-quarter St. Marys’ points.

The Lions turned the ball over four times in Saturday’s game, with the first one coming on their opening drive on a fumble that Blake Kanorr pounced on at St. Marys’ 27 yard line.

Eight plays laters, Perry took the ball to the right side for a 25-yard gain and a 14-0 lead with 5:37 remaining in the opening quarter.

Following a Lions’ punt on their second drive, Ty Howell broke a few tackles on a toss run to the left side and bolted down the sideline for 58 yards and a quick 21-0 St. Marys’ lead as Orange struggled to keep up with the Roughriders’ speed.

Orange’s next two drives ended in turnovers —  the first on a fumble when Carter Ballweg tackled Armon Frey to jar the ball loose and the second on Ballweg’s school-record tyng ninth interception when the senior leaped in front of quarterback Sean Borgman’s pass across the middle.

That interception set up St. Marys’ fourth score in two plays, culminated by Perry’s third score of the game, a 34-yard TD run in just 26 seconds. That quick strike gave the Roughriders two more cracks at scoring before the half.

Following a three-and-out on the Lions’ ensuing drive, quarterback Braeden Dunlap found a wide-open Howell — who beats a pair of Lions defenders — for a 33-yard TD pass and a 35-0 lead.

Another three-and-out by the Orange with 52 seconds left was plenty of time for the Riders to score one last time when Dunlap scrambled 28 yards to put St. Marys up 42-0 at the half as part of five possessions the Riders scored out of their six first-half drives.

Orange in the first half, on the other hand, were not as successful.

The Lions’ first seven drives yielded 123 yards of total offense, three punts, three turnovers and the final drive that ended the first half compared to St. Marys’ 42 points and 270 yards.

St.Marys’ final touchdown at Skip Baughman Stadium was by Ethan Wedding on a 42-yard run with 6:56 remaining in regulation.

In the last three regional quarterfinals, the Roughriders have outscored opponents 138-28 and will advance to a semifinal for the sixth straight time that St. Marys has qualified for the postseason.

Next week’s semifinal will mark the third time in school history that the Roughriders will have played a team twice in a season — Bath in 1985 (loss) and Sidney in 1989 (loss).

Saturday’s game also marked the end of an era for St. Marys football. With the Roughrider Athletic Complex being built next to Memorial High School, where the Riders will call home beginning next season. St. Marys will finish with a record of 180-70-2 all-time.