Riders Score Early, Often In Win Over Elida

St. Marys’ Trey Fisher (10), Keegan Sawmiller (51), Christian Triplett (6) and Eddie Fowler (38) gang tackle Elida’s Arzaiah Little during a Western Buckeye League football game on Friday.
Sports Editor

It was another day at the office for the St. Marys Roughriders.

Three rushing touchdowns by Ty Schlosser, three interceptions — two of them returned for a touchdown by Carter Ballweg and a 42-point first quarter led the Roughriders to a 63-13 rout of the Elida Bulldogs on Friday at Kraft Stadium.

Between Schlosser and Ballweg’s big night was a record-tying one for senior Sean Perry. The running back tied the school record for most punts returned for a touchdown in a season with three and has four in his career — also a school record set by Chet Knous from 1989-1991.

Other than that, it was just another day on the gridiron for the Riders (6-0, 5-0 WBL) who improve to 5-0 in league play for the third straight season.

“We challenged our players coming into this game because we thought it might be one of those red X games from a standpoint of coming off a win against Kenton last week,” Roughriders coach Doug Frye said. “So we wanted to come out and play well early.”

A 42-point first quarter — aided by the Roughriders’ quick scoring plays — supported Frye’s comment.

Continuing their theme of scoring on the opening possession of the game, the Roughriders scored on the first play from scrimmage when Schlosser scampered through a big hole up the middle for a 72-yard score.

After an eight-play drive stalled on Elida’s opening drive, Perry took BJ Carter’s punt 76 yards for a 14-0 lead. Following a three-and-out by the Bulldogs on their next drive, Schlosser scored for a second time with a 13-yard rush on another big opening by the offensive line to put the Riders up 21-0 with 6:29 still remaining in the first quarter.

Then the interceptions came.

Elida’s freshman quarter Evan Unruh’s pass intended for Azaiah Little on the third play from scrimmage for the Bulldogs, slipped through the hands of Little and into the waiting arms of Ballweg — who returned it for a 37-yard score and a 28-0 lead.

Four plays later from scrimmage, Unruh inadvertently found Ballweg again, as the senior took his second INT back 52 yards.

Unruh was picked for a third straight possession when Perry undercut Unruh’s pass across the middle, setting up solid field position for the Riders’ next scoring drive — which ended with Perry scoring on an 8-yard rush to push St. Marys’ first-quarter lead to 42-0 with 0:43 seconds left in the first stanza.

By that time, Elida mustered six first downs and 106 yards of offense, but took until there were 18 seconds left in the quarter to get into St. Marys’ territory.

After Elida got on the board to open the second quarter on a Unruh pass to Devon Barnett, Schlosser scored his third and final touchdown on the night with a 6-yard run — set up by a Perry 22-yard run during St. Marys’ 9-play, 65-yard drive.

In his third game back from his hamstring injury, Schlosser gashed the Bulldogs for 133 yards on seven carries — an average of 19 yards per carry — and three scores. In two games against Elida, Schlosser has racked up 201 yards on 18 carries and seven touchdowns.

“Maybe he does have a little more success against Elida, but I think he is starting to get into shape now,” Frye said of Schlosser. “He is starting to look a lot better. He had a twisted ankle coming into this week, so it is one thing or the other, but I thought he played well.”

As for Unruh, his struggles continued.

To read the full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Evening Leader.