Riders travel north to take on Titans; Around the WBL

(Note: St. Marys and O-G rosters are attached at the bottom of the story).

Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Ken Schriner said the story of the Western Buckeye League season has been how varying styles match-up on a week-to-week basis.

“We’ve got running backs putting up big numbers and we’ve got teams who throw it all over the field,” Schriner said on Tuesday.  

On the surface St. Marys (3-4, 2-4 WBL)  and O-G’s (5-2, 4-2 WBL) game on Friday matches up similar styles of teams who like to run the ball and wear out opposing defenses with powerful, home-run hitting running backs.

But imply to Schriner that his offense isn’t optimally designed to take advantage of a St. Marys defense struggling against the pass and the 16-year O-G head coach gets a little defensive. He  insists he’s got the evidence to prove his Titans can move the ball through the air along with its sturdy ground game.

“I think we showed in that final drive  last week that we can throw the ball,” said Schriner, who pointed to quarterback Caleb Siefker’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Trey Parsons that proved to be a game-winner to cap an 81-yard touchdown drive in the waning minutes to emerge with a 28-25 win last Friday.

 Ottawa-Glandorf quarterback Siefker, a 6-2, 180-pound first-year starting junior, is beginning to show signs of beating defenses with his arm too, Schriner said. Siefker went 7-for-12 for 103 yards and the touchdown. He had only 366 yards passing heading into that game.

“We’re just finding out what he can do out there passing the ball,” Schriner said.

But don’t expect the spread from an O-G team that is third in the WBL in rushing and features 1,000-yard rusher Tristan Parker.

Above all else the Titans are a bruising, physical WBL team. O-G rushed for 243 yards last week, getting 177 yards from Parker. Add in fullback Craig Rieman, who ran for 53 yards and a score last week and the Titans can run the ball both inside and outside.

“We’ve got a lot of ways we can go after people,” Schriner said. “We’re not dependant on just one or two guys.”

O-G’s offense will face a St. Marys defense that has stuffed the run and been susceptible to the pass. The last two weeks quarterbacks not known for their throwing expertise have torched the Roughrider secondary. Defiance’s Joe Keween threw for over 300 yards and Wapak’s Kyle Gibson was almost flawless last week in throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns in the Redskins’ 49-22 win over the Roughriders.

“We haven’t stopped the pass all year, so not to be a smart-aleck, but what would you do?” St. Marys head coach Greg Phillips said when asked if he was surprised by how much Wapak threw against his team last week.

St. Marys is the best against the rush in the WBL, the latest display shuttering  Wapak standout running back Conner Pickens to 83 yards on the ground and giving up 113 yards to Gibson on scrambles outside the pocket.

Schriner knows his team has some weak spots, as well. He has concerns about his 5-2 team that is fighting for its playoff lives in seventh in its Division IV region heading into Friday’s game.

The O-G special teams are chief among those problems after his team gave up an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown to Elida’s Brandon Stinson.

“Playing well on special teams is going to be a key to winning the game,” Schriner said.

O-G hasn’t tackled as well as Schriner would like this season, either. His team is giving up 22.1 points per game and is in the middle of the WBL standings against both the running game and passing games of its opponents.

“We haven’t tackled well all season and we’re definitely going to be tested this week,” Schriner said. “D.J. Manning Manning is a good one.”

Manning rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns last week against Wapak.

Schriner pointed to defensive end Wyatt Karhoff, linebacker Craig Rieman and defensive back Jacob Leopold as defensive standouts for his team.

If there’s one thing Schriner doesn’t do with 16 seasons under his belt as the Ottawa-Glandorf football coach, it’s panic after his team loses a couple of  games in a row.

The Titans have lost back-to-back games at one point in the season in three of the last four seasons — including consecutive losses to Kenton and Wapakoneta in Weeks 5 and 6 this season. Yet, O-G’s run of postseason appearances stands at six and the Titans are in the hunt for yet another playoff berth with a 5-2 record and a seventh-place positioning in their region through seven weeks.

“We just talked this week about every week being a  playoff atmosphere for us,” Schriner said. “This week will no different against St. Marys. They’re well coached. Phillips puts them in the right position to succeed.”

Last week O-G bounced back from those back-to-back losses with a comeback 28-25 win over Elida thanks to a touchdown drive in the game’s final three minutes that was capped by a Caleb Siefker touchdown pass with 2:15 remaining.

Ottawa-Glandorf won its first four games, barrelling through the middling and bottom-dwelling teams of the WBL before a 36-20 loss to Kenton and a 35-14 thumping at the hands of Wapakoneta.

St. Marys was the jumping off point of O-G’s bounceback from consecutive losses last season. After suspensions and losses to Wapak and Elida in Weeks 5 and 6, the Titans blanked the Roughriders 35-0 at Skip Baughman Stadium.

That win reversed a four-game losing streak O-G had to the Roughriders dating back to 2006.

The last time the teams played in Ottawa, St. Marys stunned the state-ranked Titans, 21-13 in a rain-soaked game.

St. Marys Statistics

Scoring By Qtrs       1     2      3       4        OT      F
ST. MARYS                  43   34    44      54       6       -  181    

OPPONENT                 36   58    57      53        7       -  211

St. Marys Rushing        360 carries        2,091  yards
OPP. Rushing                  179 carries           736 yards
St. Marys Passing            22-55     322 yards         4 TD, 4 INT
OPP. Passing                    136-219   1,893 yards     18 TD, 11 INT    

Rushing                  Att.    Yards    YPC    TDs
D.J. Manning            235     1,648        7.0        19
Jared Knous                25         113         4.5         1
Dustin Fisher              20         111         5.6         0

Passing               Comp.  Att.  Yards     TDs    INTs
T.J. Powell                 20        47      307          4            3

Receiving        Catches    Yards    YPC    TDs
Tre Sherman              9            178          19.8       2
Jarett Taylor              3              69          23.0       1
Steven Paulus              3            29            9.7        0

Mitch Fowler        46
John Phillipe         44
Steven Paulus        43

O-G Statistics

O-G Rushing           360 carries      2,091 yards  298.7 YPG   21 TDs

Opp. Rushing         224 carries      1,098 yards     156.9 YPG   15 TDs

O-G Passing           39-77         474 yards    7 TDs    4 INTs

Opp. Passing         85-163        988 yards    4 TDs   8 INTs

Rushing Leader

Tristan Parker        143 carries       990 yards      141.4 YPG     6.9 YPC     5 TDs

Passing Leader

Caleb Siefker          37-75                434 yards      7 TDs     4 INTs

Last Season - O-G 35, St. Marys 0

It took a little time for a reconstituted Ottawa-Glandorf team to start clicking. Once they did the Titans again looked like the team that began the season as the Western Buckeye League’s hottest team.

Following a chaotic two weeks that dropped the Titans from WBL and state title contenders to simply fighting for their playoff lives, O-G still looked out of sorts throughout the first half of Friday night’s game against St. Marys. Even with its frontline players back in the familiar spots, the Riders were dictating the tenor of the game in the earlygoing.

The Titans cleaned up that mess with a dominant second half to earn a season-saving victory behind some clutch throws from their senior quarterback Nathan Kahle.

O-G scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half and pulled away for a 35-0 win over a game St. Marys team on Friday night.

The Titans (5-2, 4-2 in the WBL) snapped a two-game losing streak and ended a tough two weeks marred by off-the-field issues and suspensions of some of its best players. The victory also ended St. Marys’ recent dominance over the Titans.

O-G junior tailback Brandon Kuhlman led the Titans with 159 yards rushing on 17 carries. He wore down the St. Marys defense and helped set up his quarterback Kahle for some big touchdown throws in the third quarter.

The fifth win of the season didn’t come easy for the Titans, however. St. Marys went to the half down just 7-0 and feeling like it should be tied with the Titans.

The second half on Friday was all Titans.

Nathan Kahle twice converted on fourth and longs deep in St. Marys territory for touchdown passes. Kahle went 6 of 10 for 80 yards and three passing touchdowns.

           1     2      3       4       F
OG     7      0    14     14 — 35
SM     0     0      0      0 —   0
                           SM            OG
Rushing     49-169     28-180
Passing     2-3-25     6-10-80

RUSHING: St. Marys — Dustin Fisher 15-56, T.J. Powell 7-23, Kyle Puschel 8-20, Mitch Newbauer 16-67, Jarrett Taylor 3-3. Ottawa-Glandorf — Brandon
Kuhlman 17-159, Craig Rieman
4-33, Nathan Kahle 7--12.
PASSING: St. Marys — T.J. Powell 1-2-19, Dustin Fisher 1-1-6. Ottawa-Glandorf — Nathan Kahle 6-10-80 3 TDs.
RECEIVING: St. Marys — Steve Elshoff 1-19, T.J. Powell 1-6.Ottawa-Glandorf — Craig Rieman 1-10, Tristan Parker 2-48, Matt Peck 3-30.

Around the Western Buckeye League

Wapak at Van Wert
Last Season: Wapakoneta 26, Van Wert 21
Notes: Wapakoneta went wide-open last week against St. Marys, coming out in a four-wide spread formation most of the night to success. Quarterback Quarterback Kyle Gibson went 19-of-21 for 292 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards for the Redskins....Van Wert is still winless, the latest loss a 46-0 drubbing at the hands of the Defiance Bulldogs. Van Wert scores just 9.3 points per game and gives up 38.7 points per contest....Wapakoneta has won four of the last five meetings between the schools.

Storyline: The Wapakoneta Redskins are heading into Friday night’s Western Buckeye League varsity football matchup at Van Wert with a full head of steam.

The Cougars, well, aren’t.

It’s 7-0 vs. 0-7.  

Wapak is coming off convincing wins over Ottawa-Glandorf and rival St. Marys and seems to be getting stronger every game.

Van Wert, meanwhile, is in a downward spiral that has only worsened since a 28-18 loss to the previously winless Celina Bulldogs in Week 6.  Last week the Cougars were blanked 46-0 by the Defiance Bulldogs.

But Van Wert will show Wapak something it hasn’t seen this year — an option offense.

“Coach [Bob] Priest does a good job with his option attack,” Wapak coach Doug Frye said.  “He implemented that when he came to Van Wert.  They’re going to be in spread, run-and-shoot type sets, running a lot of option.

“Any time you play an option team, it takes an adjustment.  So were working assignment football this week.”

Defending the option takes a different mindset and places more emphasis on discipline.

“You’ve got a guy on the dive, a guy on the quarterback, a guy on the pitch.  But also not to over-penetrate,” Frye said.  “It’s tough to do when you’re a kid playing defense because your human nature tells you to get upfield and make a play.  

“So you’ve got to play at the heels of the offensive linemen until you know where the ball is at or you’re going to open up the dive and quarterback run-through lanes.”

The option attack will definitely put an emphasis on teamwork and communication by the defense.  In Wapak’s multiple defensive schemes, different postilions have different assignments based on that particular set.

“The emphasis is discipline and being assignment-sure, and really attacking,” Frye said.

Though the Cougars are dead last in the league in total offense, they are fifth in rushing offense.

Lucas Sullivan, a junior fullback, is averaging 73 yards per game and 5.3 per carry.

The Cougars’ best athlete is 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior Austin Reichart, who plays multiple positions.

Junior wide receiver Caleb Lloyd brings a lot of speed.

“Wherever he is, we have to keep an eye on him,” Frye said.

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Williams left last week’s game with an injury.  His status for Friday night is unknown.

Turnovers have been a major issue for the Cougars, who have lost 16 fumbles and thrown nine interceptions for a minus-11 turnover ratio.

Defensively Van Wert is fifth against the run and ninth against the pass, trailed only by St. Marys.  But the Cougars are last overall, giving up an average of 38.7 points and 390.3 yards per game.

Whether Wapak returns to the wing or sticks with the fling half of its “Wing-and-Fling” offense will be determined by what the Redskins coaches see from the Van Wert defense.

“The line-blocking schemes are virtually the same in both the wing and the fling,” Frye said.  “So that allows us to get extra practice time equally on both parts.

“I never really know going into a ballgame.  Part of it depends on what the opponent is giving you and part of it depends on the weather conditions at times, too.”

Last week in beautiful weather conditions against the worst pass defense in the league in St. Marys, junior quarterback Kyle Gibson had a breakout game, completing his first 17 passes en route to 289 passing yards.

“We were going to stay with the hot hand,” Frye said.  “And that was the hot hand that week.  ...  We’re not going to go away from what’s working for us, even though we can jump back-and-forth now.  We can jump from one to the other anytime.”

Penalties were a concern for Wapak in the St. Marys game.  The Redskins are tied with St. Marys as the most penalized teams in the WBL with 39 each. — Story by John S. Hullinger

Kenton at Celina
Last Season: Kenton 55, Celina 14
Notes: Look for about 100 throws between the pass-happy spread offenses of the Wildcats and Bulldogs on Friday night...Maty Mauk eclipsed brother Ben for Ohio’s touchdown record last week against Bath when he tossed seven touchdowns. Mauk now has 181 touchdowns. Ben had 178 touchdown passes in the early 2000s at Kenton...Celina quarterback Braden Billger threw six interceptions last week in a 63-20 loss to Shawnee. Celina dropped to 1-6 on the season — a season after being 5-2 at the same point in the season.

Elida at Bath
Last Season: Elida 31, Bath 6
Notes: There are major playoff implications for both Bath and Elida when the two Lima-area squads face each other on Friday night...Bath sits in 12th in its Division IV region while Elida is still in the thick of the playoff chase in sixth in Region 10 — even after a last-minutes 28-25 loss to Ottawa-Glandorf last Friday night...Elida appeared to be on the verge of the major win last week when Brandon Stinson returned a punt 81 yards with four minutes left to give the Bulldogs a 21-18 lead. But the Elida defense, which has given up the second-fewest points in the WBL this season, allowed the Titans to march down the field for a go-ahead score with two minutes left....Bath still has playoff aspirations with a 4-3 record, but the Wildcats have beaten only one team with a winning record this season....Bath running back Aaron Smith rushed for 242 yards on 42 carries last week. He now has 1,335 yards on the season and moved into second-place in the WBL leaderboard for rushers behind St. Marys’ D.J. Manning.

Shawnee at Defiance
Last Season: Shawnee 27, Defiance 7
Notes: Defiance suddenly finds itself on the edge of being considered a playoff contender after rattling off back-to-back wins and with two big computer points games against Kenton and Elida looming in Weeks 9 and 10....Defiance hasn’t beaten a WBL team with a winning record this season, however. The Bulldogs blew out Van Wert 46-0 last week...Defiance running back Nick Lopez ran for 145 yards against the Cougars...Shawnee exploded for 63 points against Celina last week — picking off six. Braden Billger passes and turning them into points...Shawnee’s Sam Altenbach rushed for 204 yards for the Indians in the blowout win.

Division III, Region 10

1. Cols. Eastmoor Acad. (6-1) 12.5722, 2. Clyde (5-2) 10.4929, 3. Bellevue (5-2) 9.9929, 4. Cols. St. Francis DeSales (3-3) 9.9391, 5. Port Clinton (5-2) 9.6429, 6. Elida (4-3) 9.4286, 7. Caledonia River Valley (5-2) 9.2, 8. Bryan (6-1) 8.2357, 9. Urbana (5-2) 7.7929, 10. Cols. Independence (4-3) 7.6286, 11. Cols. Bishop Watterson (3-4) 6.7976, 12. Defiance (4-3) 5.9071...17. St. Marys Memorial