St. Marys Wins Another Thriller Against Sidney

St. Marys’ Carson Fischbach (8) celebrates with Stash Patterson (52) after catching a 25-yard touchdown in the third quarter on Friday.
Sports Editor

An interception that sealed the deal in 2016, a halfback throw that blew open last year’s season opener and now a blocked kick that decided Friday’s game — the rival between St. Marys and Sidney has never been short of thrilling moments. 

And the last time these two teams would play in the foreseeable future ended the same as some of the other thrilling games — one team in agony and one team in elation.

A 30-yard field goal attempt by Hallie Truesdale to tie Friday’s season opener was blocked with 40.3 seconds remaining to preserve the Roughriders’ second-half comeback for a 25-22 victory at Sidney Memorial Stadium.

Friday’s game had almost everything — a change at quarterback, 15 unanswered points by Sidney (0-1) followed by 14 straight points by the Roughriders (1-0), an onside kick recovered by the kicking team and a heart-racing play to end the game.

It’s a shame this series is coming to an end.

“They [Sidney] have a lot of young talent on this team and I wished they would have continued this series,” Roughriders coach Doug Frye said. “It is a great opening series with a great crowd.”

First came the change at quarterback.

Making his first career start at quarterback, Dylan Trogdlon’s debut was short as the junior was pulled at halftime for sophomore Gavin Reineke, who had never taken a varsity snap before Friday, but that inexperience did not hinder St. Marys as the Roughriders accumulated 156 yards of its final 280 yards of total offense and scored 14 points.

Trailing 15-11 in their first drive of the second half, Reineke guided the Roughriders to a 78-yard, 10-play scoring drive that culminated in a 25-yard pass from Reineke to Carson Fischbach for an 18-15 lead. 

“What a first game at quarterback to be thrown in,” Frye said. “He didn’t play as an eighth grader and he is an open enrolled young man from New Knoxville. He has done a nice job for us and I was real happy with what he did tonight.”

That drive included key runs of 17 yards by Ethan Wedding to erase a holding penalty the play before and an 18-yard scamper by Ty Schlosser to get down to Sidney’s 26 yard line, but it seemed as if St. Marys’ drive had stalled at the 25 when Frye decided to go for it on fourth and 10 that set up the touchdown pass when Reineke found Fischbach streaking down the field.

“We were very confident in Gavin doing that tonight and he executed it,” Frye said of the play. “He is a kid where his eyes never quivered. He stays calm … he did very well and I am very proud of him tonight.”

That play — like so many other momentum-shifting ones in this series — was the turning point as Sidney went three-and-out on its next drive to allow St. Marys to set up shop at the Yellow Jackets’ 42. Seven straight running players set the Riders in position to push their lead when Wedding went right edge and broke a tackle into the end zone from five yards out to hand St. Marys a 25-15 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. 

After each team traded possessions, Sidney opened its drive with 8:27 remaining in regulation at its own 41 yard line. Big plays by EJ Davis on runs 12 and 10 yards and a combined 30 yards on back-to-back plays from Quamir “Philly” Brown eventually got the ball down to the goal line when Jaden Swiger punched it in four plays later to make it a 25-22 game.

The Yellow Jackets then executed a perfect onside kick, recovering the ball at the Roughriders 48 yard line with 4:55 remaining. Sidney pushed down the field methodically, eventually knocking on the Riders’ doorstep at the 6 yard line with 1:22 left on third and 1. Running jet sweeps most the evening, St. Marys’ Tanner Howell sniffed out another jet sweep to Brown as the sophomore tried to get around the left end when Howell busted through and slapped Brown’s foot for a 7-yard loss to bring in the field goal until with 40.3 seconds left. 

From 30 yards out, Truesdale’s kick had a low trajectory and was blocked by the Riders’ defense line, allowing the Roughriders to end the game in victory formation.

The Roughriders opened the game with the ball and marched 77 yards down the field for a Dylan Trogdlon 1-yard plunge. A fake field goal attempt allowed Trogdlon to out-race Sidney’s Clay Carter to the pylon for an early 8-0 lead. 

A pair of three-and-outs for Sidney gave St. Marys an opportunity to extend its lead, but the Roughriders turned the ball over on downs and a promising drive stalled in the redzone as Henry Spencer connected on a 24-yard field goal for an 11-0 lead with 8:55 left in the first half.

Sidney responded on its ensuing possession in two plays on a 72-yard rushing touchdown by Davis to close the deficit to 11-8 after a successful two-point conversion. 

After a three-and-out by St. Marys, Sidney took its only lead of the game in five players when Ryan Dunham dropped back to pass, then acted like he was going to run, before stopping and heaving a 32-yard pass to Cam Vordemark — who had gotten past the defense for the touchdown. Truesdale’s extra point made it 15-11 Sidney.

“I told Gavin at the meal tonight, ‘you are the next quarterback in,’” Frye said. “We made that decision yesterday and I credit my assistant coaches Derek Dunlap and Koby Frye who said that I needed to put Reineke in next because he’ll get the job done and golly, he did.

“Taking nothing away from Dylan but we [if] do a little bit better job there and it isn’t even close there at the end of the game.”