By MARC TOBIAS
For the fourth consecutive year St. Marys finds itself in the
playoffs, but this year it gets a big advantage by hosting its
contest with Cincinnati Wyoming on Friday night at Skip Baughman
Cowboys (9-1) will have to drive approximately two hours to
battle with the ’Riders (9-1), and that long trip will
most likely take effect on the school buses shocks, as they
have some big boys making the trip.
“They have some big folks, they are nice sized and their
330 at the nose guard and 260 and 270 at the D-tackles, and
a lot of those kids play on their O-line as well. So very big
is the first thing that stands out to you,” said St. Marys
coach Doug Frye.
The biggest of those boys is offensive lineman Ryan Brewster
who stands at 6-5 and weighs in at a whopping 330 pounds. Brewster
also sees time on defense.
Wyoming’s offensive line has done a pretty good job opening
holes for star tailback Trey Tudor (5-8,170), as he has run
for 1,277 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Frye said Tudor is more of a power runner, but does have the
speed to get to the outside.
“The strength of their team is their power running game,
and they have a running back that’s over 1,000 yards and
they have a receiver that’s over 6-5 and similar to the
Homan (Tim) kid from Celina, he and Homan are very similar,”
said St. Marys defensive coordinator Mike May. “We’re
going to have to try and stop the running game if we’re
going to win the football game, because they’re going
to try and smash it right at us.”
St. Marys’ defensive line will most likely need to hold
their ground, and then let the ’Riders talented quartet
of linebackers come up and make some plays.
“They’re not the quickest offensive line, but if
you don’t stay low they’re going to drive you out
of there,” said St. Marys middle linebacker Scott Vossler.
“They have a good tailback that runs hard and is pretty
fast. He really reminds us a lot of the Orta (Robert) kid from
Wyoming as a team has rushed for 2,229 yards, but they have
shown the ability to throw the ball.
Two-year starting quarterback Eric Baker has completed 53 percent
of his passes for 1,277 yards and 16 touchdowns this season
with only four interceptions. Unlike last week with Celina’s
Brian Gagle, the Riders shouldn’t have to worry about
Baker scrambling, as he’s only run for 27 yards this year.
Weybright is Baker’s go-to guy, as he’s caught 40
balls for 742 yards.
The only question now will be if the Roughriders’ Nick
Yahl will be asked to slide out from his linebacker position
and match up with Weybright like he did with Homan a week ago.
“With their running game, I think we’ll want to
keep our front eight together this week,” May said, although
both Frye and May said they’ve pondered about using Yahl
as they did a week ago.
“They really want to run the ball at you, with their size
physically they like to run the ball, and I would call them
about an 85 percent running team,” Frye said.
The one thing Wyoming head coach Bernie Barre said he was concerned
with was St. Marys’ speed, while his Cowboys have the
size advantage, he’s hoping St. Marys won’t be able
to neutralize that with its quickness.
“They get to the ball very quickly, and they get a lot
of people to the ball, their very aggressive,” Barre said.
On the offensive front, St. Marys will also try to use quickness
to beat a big defensive line.
“It’s going to be a challenge, we’re going
to have to execute well, and we’re going to have to do
things with speed, it’s going to have to be our top game
as far as getting little things done,” Frye said.
Corey Vossler will most likely get a few extra calls this week
with that in mind, especially coming off a performance a week
ago where he ran for 124 yards on 12 carries.
The Cowboys front three or four haven’t been real dominant,
though, as they have just eight sacks on the season.
“Not too much of a concern playing St. Marys,” Barre
said with a laugh regarding his teams lack of sacs. “They
don’t throw it a lot, so I’m not worried about that.
Defensively we’re much improved, I think from last year,
that’s probably where we’ve made the biggest improvement
from one year to the next,” Barre added.
“They’re more of a control the line of scrimmage
type defense, they’re not a really penetrating get up
the field type unit, but with that size they try to anchor down
and not let you move,” Frye said.
That could be good news if the Riders would find the need to
have Corey Vossler go to the passing game, although the Cowboys
secondary has come up with 15 interceptions this season. Wyoming
has also recovered 17 fumbles. Weybright leads the Cowboys secondary
with a school record seven interceptions.
Wyoming tied for the Cincinnati Hills League title, with its
only defeat coming 42-12 to Reading. Reading passed for 421
yards in that game.