By MARC TOBIAS
OTTAWA — St. Marys used a stifling run defense to post
its first shutout of the season and fullback Shawn Craft scored
three touchdowns in the Roughriders’ 21-0 win at Ottawa-Glandorf.
The win moves the Roughriders to 4-0 (3-0 WBL) and gives them
sole possession of first place in the Western Buckeye League,
as Shawnee was the other WBL unbeaten until they lost to Defiance
32-18 last night.
The St. Marys defense in the first half was phenomenal. The
Roughriders held O-G to eight rushing yards on 12 carries. The
Titans did throw for 118 yards in the first 24 minutes, but
never threatened to score.
“Give the credit to our defense, our defense bailed us
out for two or three weeks, and I don’t know if it was
our very best effort, but it was a shutout and those don’t
come easy,” said St. Marys coach Doug Frye.
The Roughriders offense meanwhile had trouble keeping drives
alive early on, but they did have one breakthrough on a Craft
42-yard touchdown run with 8:09 to play in the second quarter.
The St. Marys offensive line opened a huge hole on the left
side as Craft went all 42 yards without being touched.
When the third quarter started it was easy to tell the Roughriders
were focused on putting the Titans away.
St. Marys took its first two drives of the quarter, and marched
at will on the Titans for a pair of scores.
The first drive covered 65 yards on seven plays and was highlighted
by a 28-yard catch by Nick Yahl from Corey Vossler. Shawn Craft
capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
“You can’t give up that kind of drive, and what
a momentum killer too,” said O-G coach Ken Schriner. “Our
kids came out in the first half and we weren’t really
sure if we could physically play with them. Our kids felt pretty
good at halftime, but the wind came out of our sails right away
when they marched the ball the whole length of the field.”
St. Marys’ second drive in the third quarter was also
its best drive of the season, as the Roughriders marched 95
yards on 14 plays in just over seven minutes.
Thirteen of the 14 play calls were runs, with none being bigger
than Vossler’s 15-yard gain after the Roughriders incurred
a motion penalty.
“Our kids in the third quarter really buckled it up and
came after them, that was kind of reflective of those old St.
Marys type drives,” Frye said. “It took us about
four or five weeks to get it going last year and get turned
around the corner, so hopefully that’s a sign of good
things to come.”
Vossler did everything he was asked to do as the Roughriders
signal caller, he ran for 51 yards on six carries while completing
4-of-5 passes for 51 yards.
“Corey Vossler I thought did an exceptional job tonight,”
Frye said. “We got him back from the off-season knee surgery,
and we finally got him back flowing with the option game, and
I really thought that opened things up.”
Craft led the Riders with 133 yards on 24 carries while Eric
Sullivan added 77 yards on 18 carries.
It was the Roughriders top rushing performance this season as
they ran for 261 yards on 48 carries. It couldn’t have
come at a better time since starting tailback Justin Nagel was
forced to sit with a knee injury.
The St. Marys defense was equally impressive in the second half.
O-G could muster just 31 yards on the ground and an additional
42 in the air.
“That’s a very tough defense, that’s one of
the best defenses I’ve seen in a long time,” Schriner
said. “Their linebackers are physical and their guys up
front just play hardnose football. Their defensive backs ability
to cover the pass is some of the best I’ve seen out of
St. Marys in a long time.”
Nick Pfeffenberger was one of many defensive lineman reeking
havoc in the O-G backfield. Pfeffenberger’s biggest play
came in the second quarter when he sacked Titans quarterback
Jay Laubenthal for a 10-yard loss to thwart an O-G drive.
“We shuffled around some guys this week, Bo Frye was one
and I thought he did an excellent job at end, we put Timmy Rammel
another sophomore in the lineup and Paul Rammel down inside,
and both those guys did a great job,” Frye said.
St. Marys returns to action next week when it hosts Van Wert.