Riders Rout Bulldogs

Members of the St. Marys defense rally to tackle Elida’s Marcel Poe in the second quarter of a Western Buckeye League football game.
Sports Editor

It couldn’t have been a better performance in front of a homecoming crowd.

The pomp and circumstance that rang throughout the pregame homecoming ceremony during Friday’s Western Buckeye League game against Elida continued throughout the entire first half for the St. Marys faithful.

The Roughriders — now winners of four straight — scored on their first five possessions of the first half to rack up 35 straight points, activated the running clock and sent the Bulldogs home with a 62-14 victory.

“It was good that we came out with effort,” Roughriders coach Doug Frye added. 

For the first six weeks, the Roughriders have faced heart-pumping wins against Sidney and Kenton, to heartbreaking losses against Wapakoneta and Ottawa-Glandorf, as well as a highly-anticipated home-opener, but on Friday, the Roughriders enjoyed their most convincing win of the season. 

“Coming off a big, emotional win last week, I was concerned about how they would come out and play. I think there is an understanding that we need to continue to get better, but there were a lot of young kids who contributed tonight,” Frye said. “We’ve had six weeks for interesting football. From my standpoint and my heart and my health, it was good to have one of these tonight.”

St. Marys (5-2, 4-2 WBL) racked up a season-high 412 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, led by junior Ethan Wedding’s output of 102 yards on just seven carries and two scores and for the second straight week, the Roughriders opened the game with a kickoff return touchdown, all while the defense limited Elida to just 132 total yards of offense in the first half and forced two turnovers to improve their turnover margin on the season. 

Like Dylan Trogdlon did to kickoff last week’s game against Kenton with an 85-yard return, Ty Howell ran back a 90-yard kickoff return to get the rout going on Friday. Twenty yards and an Elida punt later, Wedding scored his first touchdown on a 48-yard run for a 14-0 lead with 8:13 remaining in the first quarter. An interception by the junior Wedding set up his second score of the game on a 3-yard dive to culminate a 10-play, 40-yard drive with 2:37 left in the opening quarter.

Elid’a second punt in three possessions led to an Aiden Hinkle 11-yard TD run to open the second quarter and Frye put insult to injury for Elida by running a hook and latter play with Ethan Freewalt pitching the ball to Trogdlon, who tight-ropped the sideline as part of a 66-yard touchdown run to lead 35-0 with 4:44 remaining in the first half. 

Younger players saw the field a good part of the second half, which opened with a running clock, as Braeden Hemmelgarn scored two rushing touchdowns — one from 5 yards and the second on a 77-yard scamper — and rushing touchdowns from Ross Henschen and Aiden Eigenbrod. Hemmelgarn also had an interception on defense. Those players accounted for 196 rushing yards and four scores — all in the second half.

“That was good to see,” Frye said about the younger players’ production. “One of those kids who jumped out to me tonight was Ross Henschen, he played really well as well as Braeden Hemmelgarn.

“There were a lot of young kids who stood out to me tonight, which was encouraging.”