Rams Run Past Riders

St. Marys’ Blake Kanorr (97) reaches out to tackle Trotwood-Madison’s Ke’shawn Huguely (6) during a Division III, Region 12 semifinal on Friday at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
Sports Editor

Their season ended right where it started.

St. Marys opened the 2019 fall season with a little magic in a 25-22 win at Sidney Memorial Stadium, but that magic had run out by the time the Roughriders came back to a much colder venue in a 41-7 Division III, Region 12 semifinal loss to Trotwood-Madison on Friday.

“I thought our kids played with spirit and emotion, but when you play a team like this, you are going to do a lot of the little things well and I think they exposed the weaknesses that we had tonight,” Roughriders coach Doug Frye said.

The Rams (9-3) will vie for a regional championship next week against Badin (9-3), who defeated last year’s regional champion Archbishop Alter 38-21 on Friday.

This scenario actually unfolded in June when St. Marys was moved up from Division IV to III because of increased enrollment and everyone knew that the way to another state semifinal appearance would be through eight-time regional champion — in a nine-year span — Trotwood and the athleticism that program possesses. That scenario played out on Friday. 

St. Marys (9-3) held its ground against the Rams’ athleticism trailing by just seven at the half, but Trotwood’s speed wore down the Roughriders during a 34-7 second-half advantage by the Rams to hand the Roughriders their third lop-sided playoff loss in as many years.

“We could not seem to grab the momentum tonight when we needed it,” Frye said. “The score wasn’t reflective of the game. They are a good football team, but I think if we would have done the little things well, it would have been down to the wire.”

What looked to be the turning point of the game happened right before the end of the first half. The Riders had their backs up against the wall on first and goal at the 2 following a Cooper Stewart QB sneak with two minutes left in the half and the Rams getting the ball to begin the second half.

The Roughriders’ defense held with another redzone stand — its third in the last four quarters — on four straight goal-to-go plays to stymie the Rams to head into the half trailing just 7-0.

Then Trotwood took over from there. 

The Rams opened the second half by converting on a pair of third-down plays and pushed their lead to 14-0 when Stewart found a wide-open Carl Blanton Jr. for 49 yards.

The Roughriders’ most promising drive ended abruptly on the ensuing possession when Kurt Bubp was intercepted by Keon’tae Huguely who leaped into the air in front of Dylan Trogdlon to snatch the ball at the 14 yard line. 

The St. Marys defense held again, but another St. Marys punt blew the game open when Ke’shawn Huguely knifed his way through the defense 53 yards for a 21-7 lead with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.

Trotwood followed that up by outscoring St. Marys 20-7 in the fourth quarter, including a couple of scoop and scores — one of 28 yards and the other of 64 yards — and a 22-yard score by Huguely put the game out of reach.

The Roughriders’ lone score came with 5:02 remaining in the fourth quarter when Bubp found Trogdlon for a 13-yard TD pass to pull back within two scores, 21-7.

“I thought some things we did defensively improved as the year went on, offensively, we have been very sporadic throughout the year and it is something that we have tried to cure,” Frye said. “But I don’t think it was something we could totally put together.”

St. Marys crossed midfield just three times — with two of those possessions ending in turnovers and the other drive ending at the Rams 28 yard line in the first drive of the game when Bubp lobbed a ball to Austin Parks in the corner of the endzone on fourth down that fell incomplete.

The Roughriders were held to their third-lowest rushing total in a game this season  with 170 yards and their third-lowest output in yards on offense with 230. The team also suffered its worse loss since last year’s state semifinal against eventual champions Wyoming in a 35-14 game. In 2017, the Roughriders’ season came to an end in a 48-8 defeat to Shelby in another regional semifinal.

“We couldn’t really establish the physical presence in the middle of our offense at all and do the little things well enough to negate that,” Frye added. “When you come into a game against Trotwood, you have got to do the little things well to negate their athleticism and we were unable to do that tonight."