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The Daily



10-23-03: Rivalry week for Celina and St. Marys


For St. Marys it’s simple, a win against Grand Lake rival Celina and it can have the sole claim to the Western Buckeye League title. Lose, and St. Marys will likely share the crown with Bath and Defiance.
A win would also be key for the ’Riders as far as homefield in the playoffs is concerned, as they’re ranked fifth in Region 12.
“This is always a big game, regardless of the situation, it’s the battle of the lake and it’s a huge game,” said St. Marys coach Doug Frye. “Obviously it has league implications for us, but you can throw everything out the window for this football game.”
Celina’s playoff hopes are a bit murkier, as a win would only move them to the 12th spot in their region. Without a lot of help, this is most likely the season finale for the Bulldogs.
But Bulldogs coach Mike Fell said a win in this game can help erase some of the pitfalls of a season, as well as send them into the off season with a much better taste in their mouths.
“This is St. Marys’ week, this is the biggest week of the football season regardless of any kind of standards or records or anything else,” Fell said.
Of course lately it’s been a series dominated by the Roughriders, as the Bulldogs last win against their Grand Lake rival was back in 1998.
For that trend to change, the Bulldogs will need to find a way to put points up against a defense that is second in the Western Buckeye League by allowing just 13.1 points per game.
“They’re very strong up front, their four down linemen are strong and tough to move, and then their linebackers are as good as anybody in the league,” Fell said. “Vossler (Scott) is a real good linebacker, but their outside linebackers Quellhorst (Ross) and Yahl (Nick), those two guys do an outstanding job. They blitz, they fly to the ball and they get back in pass coverage, they get all over the field.”
So far not many offenses have fared well against the Roughriders, and they’ve done an especially good job at shutting down the run as they’ve allowed just over 88 yards per game.
St. Marys has been victimized through the air, as the Roughriders secondary is the second worst in the WBL by allowing 141 passing yards a contest, which Fell said can be deceiving.
“They play such a good run defense that teams try to throw the ball on them, so that’s why there are probably more yards passing,” explained Fell.
Still, the Roughriders haven’t faced a quarterback as versatile as the Bulldogs’ Brian Gagle, something that Frye said has him concerned.
“Gagle I really believe is the best athlete we’ve faced all year at quarterback, and taking nothing away from their previous quarterback, but I actually think they’re a better offense now,” Frye said. “He adds a dimension to their offense that they didn’t have before.”
Looking at last week, Frye may be correct, as Celina racked up 425 yards of offense against Wapakoneta.
Tim Homan has also picked up his play the last two weeks, as he’s had eight grabs from his wideout position in each of the past two games.
“I think by far he’s the best receiver in the league, he’s going to Hillsdale as I understand (to play basketball), and he’s well deserving of everything he gets,” Frye said. “He’s by far the best receiver in the league and a real challenge to stop.”
Big time receivers have had some big games against the Roughriders this year, such as Kenton’s Braden Spivey and Shawnee’s Brad Goldsberry. Fell said he expects Homan to be doubled like he has against almost every opponent this season.
“Team’s have definitely been keying on Tim, we’ve moved him around trying to put him in different spots and put him in motion, but basically we decided to throw the ball to him anyway,” Fell said. “He’s still getting double covered, but we decided we have to get him in the offense. We’re going to get the ball to him, he’s one of our two top weapons.”
St. Marys of course will try to establish the run, but that task may prove more difficult this weekend with top rusher Justin Nagel sidelined with a knee injury.
Frye said he hasn’t ruled out the tailback possibly making a return for the playoffs, but this week’s game would be a long shot.
Nagel has run for just under 800 yards, and has been the Riders’ best threat to break a long run.
“Well, we’ll probably have to go to the run and shoot, five-wide out of the shotgun,” Frye said.
Of course, Frye was kidding, but without Nagel, St. Marys loses some of its big play potential.
Part of that void should be alleviated with the emergence of Bo Frye. Frye has run for 171 yards the last two weeks after playing defense the majority of the year.
Bo Frye has been a bruising runner, and a tough tackle to make and, unfortunately for Celina, their leading tackler Ethan Swaney won’t be able to help bring down Frye, as he’s serving the second of a two-game suspension for breaking team rules.
“The key to St. Marys is the offensive line, there’s a lot of kids that can run the ball for them, but the line comes off low and hard and does an excellent job,” Fell said. “When you just run the ball and you practice that everyday, you can get a lot of things accomplished by just staying low and firing off the ball and that’s the key for St. Marys.”
With Nagel out early in last weeks game, Riders quarterback Corey Vossler also saw more carries, and without Nagel, he’s most likely the quickest player in the backfield.


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