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The Daily



10-18-03: St. Marys clinches title share


ST. MARYS — St. Marys dominated its battle with former one-loss team Lima Bath 24-6, and in the process the Roughriders clinched a share of their first Western Buckeye League title since 1993.
St. Marys needs to knock off rival Celina next week for the outright title, but last night there was no doubt who was the better team at Skip Baughman Stadium.
“I’ve been here six years now and we haven’t won the league since ’93. In this league, anytime you have at least a piece of it, you feel very, very good,” said St. Marys coach Doug Frye. “It’s a battle in the Western Buckeye League, and that was our number-one goal.”
The Riders set the tone of the game with their opening possession, a 16-play, 65-yard drive that consumed 8:03 off the clock and was capped with a Corey Vossler one-yard plunge for a touchdown.
All 16 plays were run calls, with the biggest a Justin Nagel three-yard carry on a fourth-and-one to sustain the drive.
“We were physical on that drive, and that’s what I asked our kids to do tonight,” Frye said. “That did set the tone for the game, it really did.”
Bath battled back on its first possession, driving 63 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the Roughriders four, but the drive stalled when a penalty forced the Wildcats into a field-goal attempt which was blocked by Bo Frye.
“We had two offside penalties that hurt us, we will never blame the officials for anything, you play the between the lines and we didn’t play well tonight,” said Bath coach Jim Ehresman.
Ehresman may not have blamed the officials, but the Bath fans that made the trip made their opinion known frequently as the Wildcats were flagged 12 times for 113 yards.
Bath also killed itself with three turnovers, two of which led to St. Marys touchdowns.
The first came in the second quarter when Bath’s Brandon Hermiller muffed a punt that was recovered by the Roughriders’ Scott Vossler on the Bath five-yard line with 2:31 before the half.
Two plays later, it was Eric Sullivan scoring from two yards out to put St. Marys up 14-6.
The other big turnover was a Kyle Mason pass that was intercepted by safety Corey Vossler. Vossler made the pick around the 50, but then returned it all the way to the Bath 14.
It took seven plays including overcoming a fourth-and-one, but Frye scored from a yard out to seal the game.
“You can’t make mistakes and win against a good football team, it’s very simple,” Ehresman said. “They did a very nice job, their gameplan was to put Frye at fullback and play power football and they scored one.”
Frye led the St. Marys ground game with 94 yards on 26 carries, but the Riders offense took a serious blow in the second quarter when Justin Nagel went down with an injury on the Riders first play of their second series.
Nagel needed to be carried off the field, and Doug Frye said he injured the same knee that kept him out of the Ottawa-Glandorf game and that has given him problems all season.
Nagel had six carries for 23 yards to move his season total to 790 yards. Nagel ran for over 1,000 yards last year as a sophomore, and without him, the Riders offense wasn’t as effective.
St. Marys gained just 88 yards after Nagel left with 7:50 left in the second quarter, and had no back besides quarterback Corey Vossler that could effectively get to the outside.
“We gave the ball to the fullback a little more than we anticipated,” Frye said because of Nagel’s injury. “Probably about 10 more times then we anticipated on giving it to him.”
Fortunately, the St. Marys defense completely shut down Bath’s run game. The Wildcats ran 19 times for negative one yard on the night.
“That’s been the strength of our defense all year,” Frye said. “All year they’ve been there, and tonight they took half the game away from them which was the rushing game. We didn’t totally shut down the passing game, but it helps when you can eliminate one phase of the game.”
Mason passed for 168 yards, but his two interceptions proved to be costly.


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