Riders Fall To Ottawa-Glandorf

St. Marys’ linebacker Brandon Paul (43) fights off a block as he rushes the edge to sack Ottawa-Glandorf quarterback Jacob Balbaugh (11) during a Western Buckeye League football game on Friday.
Sports Editor

In a game that resulted in five lead changes and a number of big plays for both teams, St. Marys’ game-tying field goal attempt in the fourth quarter fell short, resulting in a 30-27 Western Buckeye League loss to Ottawa-Glandorf on Friday.

After enduring a dominating second-half performance by Wapakoneta the week before, the Roughriders (1-2, 0-2 WBL) gave up too many big plays on defense in the second half to withstand the Titans (2-1, 2-0 WBL) high-speed offense. The team — marred by inconsistent play throughout the first three games —are in an unfamiliar territory as they concluded their three-game road trip to begin the season. 

“I think we are a terribly-coached football team and that should be attributed to the head coach and no one else,” Roughriders coach Doug Frye said. “We need to coach this football team better.

“You don’t win football games by not tackling, not creating turnovers, letting receivers run by you and not finishing blocks. It is a team full of shortcuts right now. We take a lot of shortcuts and shortcuts don’t lead to too many wins and one person is responsible for that and that is the head coach.”

Friday’s game also featured the third quarterback change for St. Marys as senior Kurt Bubp entered late in the first quarter to take over for Gavin Reineke. and the senior gave the Riders a shot in the arm.

On his second drive, Bubp found a wide-open Carson Fischbach for a 55-yard TD pass in three plays to give St. Marys its first lead of the game at 7-3.

After a Titans’ three-and-out, Bubp went back to work with a short field at the 35 yard line. Following a 13-yard run by Ethan Wedding on first down, the Riders got the ball down to the seven facing third and six when Bubp ran to his right and found Wedding in the back of the endzone to push St. Marys’ lead to 14-3 with 7:11 remaining in the first half.

The Roughriders scored all of their points on Friday with Bubp under center and the senior gave the team a chance to tie the game by engineering an efficient final drive in the fourth quarter.

Bubp engineered a 12-play, 53-yard drive that led to a 44-yard field goal try for Henry Spencer, but Spencer’s kick was several yards short to end the game.

“Henry booted the ball right down the middle, but there just wasn’t enough on it,” Frye added.

Bubp finished 6-of-13 with 106 passing yards and three touchdowns.

“I thought Kurt did a wonderful job tonight, but at some point, we need to settle on a quarterback here,” Frye said. “I thought tonight that he responded well.”

But then the mistakes began to pile up for the Roughriders.

After each team exchanged punts on their ensuing possessions, O-G quarterback Jacob Balbaugh found a found a wide open Will Kaufman for a 45-yard touchdown pass on a busted coverage. The two-point try was no good but still closed the O-G deficit to 14-9 at the half.

On the Titans’ opening possession of the second half, Balbaugh struck again with a 42-yard pass to a wide open Jarrod Beach for the lead, 17-14, after a successful two-point try.

St. Marys responded, however, beginning with another drive in good field position. 

Beginning at their own 47, the Riders chipped away to the Titans 31 when Bubp found Ty Howell beating man-to-man coverage for a 31-yard connection to regain the lead 20-17.

Missed tackles were the culprit that led to the Titans’ next touchdown when Balbaugh hit Brennan Blevins on a pass to the flats and made Dylan Trogdlon miss for a big gain, but Blevins continued by cutting across the field and making Fischbach miss on the other end before being downed at the Riders’ 2 yard line to complete a 63-yard catch-and-run play.

Two plays later, Clayton Recker scored from the right end to reclaim the lead, 23-20, with 11:23 remaining in regulation. 

A St. Marys three-and-out set up a short field for O-G at the Riders’ 47 as the Titans took six plays to hand St. Marys its largest deficit of the season on a seven-yard TD run with 6:48 remaining. And despite being outscored 26-13 in the fourth quarter of games this season, the Roughriders nearly overcame adversity.

On the first play from scrimmage on St. Marys’ ensuing possession, Fischbach looked to be bottled up before breaking free for a 43-yard TD run to pull within three, down 30-27 with 6:30 left.

“I really believe this; that we are talented enough to be 3-0, but you need to play hard you need to tackle, finish blocks and you need to not take shortcuts,” Frye said. “And right now, we are a 1-2 team because of those reasons and you can blame one person and that is me.”

On the Titans’ next possession, Balbaugh was intercepted by Trogdlon, but the Riders fumbled two plays later to hand O-G the ball at the Riders’ 18. Luckily for St. Marys, however, kicker Ethan Alt — who made a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter — missed a 34-yard try to set up one final drive from the 20 yard line with 2:07 left.