Riders Looking For Leadership, Improved Conditioning

St. Marys’ Blake Kanorr (96), Lucas Walter and Brandon Paul tackle Findlay quarterback Garit Krupp during a high school football scrimmage at Grand Lake Health Systems Field on Thursday.
Sports Editor

After the first scrimmage against an opponent this preseason, St. Marys Roughriders coach Doug Frye came away needing more leadership and better conditioning out of his players.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I think we need to get into a little bit better shape and we need to get better leadership out of our kids.”

The Riders struggled to find consistency on both sides of the ball in their only football action at home until Sept. 20 against Division I Findlay on Thursday, but it is the first real action St. Marys has had against any team this summer.

In the first drive of the evening, St. Marys scored in nine plays of a 10-play simulation with Hunter Fraley scoring from 10 yards out. In the second drive, it took just two plays to score when Dylan Trogdlon found an open Ty Howell on a 30-yard pass.

But the full-field portion of the scrimmage was a little shakier.

The offense went three-and-out on its first drive and fumbled the ball on the first play of the second drive before Carson Fischbach capped off a 13-play, 70-yard drive with a 1-yard dive. 

The Roughriders struggled to move the ball on the ground at times against the Trojans and on the 13-play TD drive, St. Marys gained 20 yards on four encroachment penalties.

The defense allowed touchdowns on two of the three half-field scrimmage and allowed scores on the first two drives of the full-field scrimmage, but surrendered just one touchdown the rest of the night between varsity, junior varsity and freshmen.

So a bit of an up-and-down night.

On special teams, Frye said the kicking game had its moments, but mainly reflected the entire scrimmage. Both teams tried extra points, field goals, punts and kickoffs.

The coach has a few choices between sophomore Brandon Bowers and senior Henry Spencer. 

Spencer Trgodlon is another option for Frye, but he was at the Roughriders boys soccer scrimmage at Upper Sandusky.

Both Bowers and Spencer finished 1-for-1 in extra points and both connected on field goals from roughly 34 and 39 yards. 

Both seemed to have decent hang times on their punts and Trey Fisher punted a low-lining ball, but the bounced would have pinned the Trojans deep in a more live action game.

“I told the kids I graded it on a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10 and I would rather have a 6 or a 7 at this point to build on,” “But we will continue to work hard on it and get better.”

Frye said he was not sure at this point of the preseason where he thought he team is or should be without watching film, but he did believe that his team needs to continue to work on the little things.

“There were seven or eight of our key guys who did not play at all on Saturday [the inter-squad scrimmage] so those kids looked a little rusty today but I think they will look much better next Friday,” Frye said. “It was also the first afternoon we ever practiced or worked in too so there was a lot of factors of change.”

Frye also pointed out the turnover margin against Findlay, which was at a -1 and that his team had a number of opportunities to keep up loose footballs or make plays on balls in the air.

“We pride ourselves on the plus-minus turnover ratio and I was not happy with that tonight,” he said.