Back-to-Back WBL Champs

St. Marys Roughriders celebrate clinching their 24th Western Buckeye League title after beating Celina 35-14.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

Clinging to a one-possession lead in the fourth quarter and St. Marys mustering just 27 yards of offense in the second half, Sean Perry made the play of the game.

On a night deemed unlucky, Friday the 13th, Perry was the Roughriders' lucky charm, especially when the junior bounced a run to the outside and scampered down the left sideline for a 59-yard burst.

That run set up a Ty Schlosser 8-yard TD run with 8:55 remaining to give St. Marys a two-score lead.

Aside from that back-breaking play for Celina, Perry set the tone early and again late, leading St. Marys to a 35-14 Western Buckeye League victory over the archrival Bulldogs, resulting in the clinching of a share of the league title — all in one night.

The win on Friday marks the first time the Roughriders have won the WBL title in back-to-back seasons since 2003-2004 and can claim the title outright next week with a win against Defiance at Skip Baughman Stadium.

The Roughriders opened the game faster than a jackrabbit on a date by scoring on their first three possessions of the contest in a matter of 15:57.

Perry accounted for 52 of the 67 yards St. Marys racked up on the Riders' opening drive that yielded a touchdown on just four plays in 1:34 seconds.

But the last time these two teams faced off in Celina, it was the Bulldogs who took a 21-0 lead into the half, just for the Roughriders to come back to make it a seven-point final score.

The same situation almost happened again.

Celina found life in the second half.

The Bulldogs used a 14-play, 75-yard drive, culminated by a Schwieterman 6-yard pass to Kole Murlin to get Celina on the board, 21-7 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

Following a punt on the Riders' next drive, Celina snatched all of the momentum by using a 7-play, 44-yard drive as Kyle Zizleman bolted through the Roughriders defense to pull the game within one score, 21-14 with 9:52 remaining in the fourth quarter.

By beating Celina, St. Marys is almost ensured that there will not be a four-way sharing of the WBL title. After St. Marys in the league standings, Celina, Elida and Wapakoneta each have two WBL losses and will have to hope that the Roughriders drop their next two games in order for that crowded situation atop the standings to happen.

But the Roughriders took care of business again — like they have all season — and they are awarded with their 24th WBL crown.

To read the full story, pick up Saturday's edition of The Evening Leader.