ST. MARYS — The St. Marys football team gathered on the home sideline, their helmets held high from outstretched arms. They sang at the top of their lungs after slaying a 21-game losing streak with a 71-21 dismantling of the Sidney Yellow Jackets.
For most of the players it was the first time they’d ever celebrated a varsity football win. For Doug Frye, the moment encapsulated why he returned to the home sideline at Skip Baughman Stadium to coach the Roughriders.
“I just feel so good for my seniors that they had a chance to taste success tonight,” Frye said.
Frye and his team won in his regular season return as the head coach at St. Marys in style, as the Roughriders rushed for 744 yards on 51 carries and didn’t punt in a performance ending more than two seasons of winless futility. A season ago, it took five games for the Riders to reach the 71-point mark.
“I’m going to ask these guys if they like this feeling,” Frye said. “If they do, we’re going to keep trying to bring it back.”
The Roughriders ran over, around and past the young Yellow Jacket defense. St. Marys sophomore wing back Eric Spicer racked up 308 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Senior fullback Isaac Fitzgerald ran for 260 yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns. He added a 19-yard passing touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter to his tally, as well.
“That was a machine,” Sidney head coach Adam Doenges, who coached against his alma mater and his former head coach. “It’s impressive. I don’t know what the WBL has this year, but that’s a seven-win team minimum.”
St. Marys won its first game since Oct. 21, 2011, when the Riders beat Van Wert 34-14.
“Our kids were physical,” Frye said. “That’s what I asked to do when I walked in the door, to get after things and I thought our kids were physically and mentally tough tonight. If we can do that, we’ll keep getting better.”
St. Marys travels to Shawnee next Friday at 7:30 p.m. “We also haven’t won a Western Buckeye League game in a long time, so that’s another one of those streaks we want to end,” Frye said.
As the team ran off the field, a large group of fans surrounded the team, a far cry from the often lonely walks back to Cook Gymnasium of the last five seasons.
“My goal was to re-establish excitement in our football program,” Frye said. “That’s been accomplished, so now we’re moving on.”