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Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Roughriders rally for victory

By Mark Ruschau

St. Marys' Kyle Puschel, 24, celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touch. . .

WAPAKONETA - The St. Marys Roughriders and the Wapakoneta Redskins met for the 104th time on the football field Friday night and added another great chapter to the rivalry as the Roughriders used a huge fourth quarter to rally and post a 28-17 Western Buckeye League win at Harmon Field.
With the win, St. Marys improves to 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the league. Wapakoneta falls to 1-5 on the season and 1-4 in the WBL.
Trailing 17-7 late in the fourth period and needing a big play, St. Marys got one as Allan Broyles picked off a Jordan Martin pass at the Roughriders' 34.
The big defensive play by Broyles brought the offensive to life as they went on a 12-play, 66-yard drive, covering 3:13 with Dan Roberts going in from two yards out to cut the deficit to 17-14.
The St. Marys defense came up huge again on the next Wapak offensive series as Roberts picked off another Martin pass setting up the offense at the Wapakoneta 36. It took the Roughriders' offense five plays and 69 seconds to cover the distance with Kyle Puschel going in from 12 yards out to give his team the lead for good, 21-17, with 5:51 left.
One last time, the St. Marys defense shut down the Wapak offense on three plays, forcing a punt. Taking over on their own 33, it took St. Marys just two plays to salt the game as Puschel motored 65 yards for the final score of the game.
"This game showed a lot about our kids," commented St. Marys coach Mark Hollars. "We had a tough week, the players and coaches were not happy with the way we played last week. We really came and played well in the first half, we controlled it, but we just did not finish. For us to come back, after we got down the way we did, says alot about our kids. They stepped up and made big plays on both sides of the ball.
"I was really happy with the play of the seniors," continued Hollars. "No one panicked, we talked about it all week about handling adversity better and boy did our kids do a much better job tonight and I am very proud of the way they stuck together. We did not change anything, the kids executed when they had to."
"It was a physical contest all night and they were able to take advantage of a change in field position and they were able to cut it to three and then we turned the ball over and that hurt a little bit," said Wapakoneta coach Doug Zimmer. "They came back and scored again to make it 21-17 and we were still hoping to come back, but unfortunately it did not happen for us."
St. Marys did indeed execute when it had to in the fourth quarter. Offensively, they ran the ball 20 times for 198 yards and three scores and they held the ball for over eight minutes in the period.
On defense, St. Marys held Wapakoneta to just 37 yards in the fourth period and forced three turnovers.
"We fell behind 17-7 but the defense did not hang its head, but came up with some big turnovers," said Hollars. "The offense did a great job of taking advantage of those turnovers and turned them into points."
Hollars got a great performance from the running game as they ran the ball for 329 yards on 60 plays. Puschel led the way with 178 yards on 28 carries. Roberts added 125 yards on 19 carries.
St. Marys takes to the road for another big league game as it travels to Ottawa-Glandorf.
Additional online story on this date
Immaculate Conception School in Celina closed its doors at 10:45 a.m. Friday because half of its student population was absent with flu-like symptoms, according to school Superintendent Kathy Mescher. [More]
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