Redskins Slip By Riders

Wapakoneta's Evan Kaeck is tackled by St. Marys' Ty Schlosser, Braden Weitholter and Braeden Dunlap during a Western Buckeye League football game on Friday.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor
No outright Western Buckeye League championship. No No. 1 seed in the Region 14 playoffs. No celebration for the blue an gold in the final regular season game at Skip Baughman Stadium.
 
Wapakoneta took it all away.
 
A season after St. Marys knocked the Redskins out of the postseason in a rain-soaked shutout win, the Redskins walk away from a muddy Skip with a 26-24 regular season finale upset victory in another rain-soaked affair.
 
The loss for St. Marys means no outright league title and no 10-0 record for the first time since 1993.
 
It also means that it is time to focus on the postseason.
"I give Wapakoneta credit, they did the necessary things to win the game and we didn't get those things done," Roughriders coach Doug Frye said. "Hopefully we learn from it, clean it up and get moving on a playoff run."
 
Negative 1 in the turnover margin, nine straight points to end the game for Wapakoneta and two gut-wrenching pass interference calls clouded the way for St. Marys to end the regular season undefeated.
 
Despite all that, the game could have gone either way.
 
St. Marys trailed 17-16 after Evan Kaeck scored from two yards out with 8:05 left in the fourth quarter, but the Riders (9-1, 8-1 WBL) responded eight plays into their ensuing drive when Sean Perry broke a couple of tackles up the middle, then bolted down the left sideline for 36 yards to take a 22-17 lead. Ty Howell then scored on a double reserve — getting a block by Braeden Dunlap along the way — and leaped for the pylon for a successful 2-point try and a 24-17 lead with 5:10 remaining in regulation. 
 
That was the last time the Roughriders' offense had the ball with the lead.
 
St. Marys stopped the Redskins (9-1, 8-1) on two occasions during Wapakoneta's next drive — the first on a fourth and 2 when quarterback Brady Erb threw a rainbow pass to Aaron Chambers with Carson Fischbach intercepting the pass. However, Fischbach was called for defensive pass interference to keep the drive alive.
 
The second St. Marys' penalty on that drive came seven plays later on fourth and 12 when Fischbach was called  for DPI again on an incompletion that would have, in essence, ended the game with 1:15 left.
 
Both penalties gave Wapakoneta life when Erb found Chambers in the end zone for a pinpoint pass to close the game to 24-23. Wapakoneta's 2-point try failed, prompting the Redskins to go for an onside kick, which they recovered when Fischbach could not come up with the ball.
 
Seven plays, a St. Marys' timeout and an offsides call on the Roughriders later, Luke Beach connected on a 23-yard field goal for what was the game-winning score before Dunlap heaved a deep pass that was intercepted on the Roughriders' ensuing possession with seconds remaining to end the game.
 
St. Marys put the ball on the ground a season-high six times on Friday, losing two of them, but the biggest lost fumble occurred when St. Marys had momentum in the early going of the third quarter.
 
After Wapakoneta lost 11 yards in three plays to open the second half, St. Marys had great field position following a poor Tristan Gesler punt that netted the ball at the Redskins' 45 yard line. Perry began the drive with a 13-yard run, follow by Ty Schlosser with an 11-yard gain, but the junior lost the ball on his next carry inside the 20, handing Wapakoneta the ball with 8:59 left in the third quarter with St. Marys leading 8-7.
 
With that momentum evaporated, Wapakoneta took advantage with a 9-play, 70-yard drive — which included a 53-yard catch-and-ran from Erb to Kaeck to give the Redskins a 10-8 lead with 4:24 remaining.
Instead of St. Marys extending the lead by as much as a two-score game, Wapakoneta led by two points.
 
To read the rest of the story, see Saturday's print edition of The Evening Leader.