Riders Wrap Up 7-On-7 Practices

St. Marys’ Tylir Young (right) rushes the wide-side edge during a 7-on-7 practice against Bellefontaine on Thursday.
Sports Editor

The St. Marys Roughriders football team concluded the 7-on-7 portion of their offseason schedule on Thursday in their final practice against Bellefontaine.

Camp will continue and 2-a-days will begin as the Roughriders officially open the 2018 season on July 30. That date marks the official start of preseason practice for all teams in Ohio.

St. Marys is coming off a 2017 season that saw the Roughriders claim their second straight Western Buckeye League title and first outright crown since 2003.

The Roughriders ended the season winning 10 straight games after falling to Sidney in their regular season opener and ending the year with a 47-7 defeat to Shelby in a Division IV regional semifinal in Marion.

Thirteen players were named to the all-WBL teams as St. Marys captured its 24th WBL championship, 17th outright on its way to a 17th postseason appearance. St. Marys also finished the WBL season undefeated for the first time since 1993.

Seventeen seniors will fill this coming season’s team, with a number of juniors looking to bump up their playing time from last season in players such as Ty Schlosser, Blake Kanorr and Ty Howell. All three players saw significant time on the field during the Riders’ three 7-on-7 practices, with Kanorr even making some catches as a tight end.

After a somewhat rocky start on offense against Liberty-Benton on Saturday, the passing game — led by senior Braeden Dunlap — seem to get their footing under them against Minster and Bellefontaine by connecting on a number of deep ball passes to athletic receivers Bryce Hemmelgarn, Howell and Carter Ballweg — who took snaps at quarterback with the No. 2 varsity team for a second straight year.

On defense, the Roughriders have speed all the way around with Dunlap and Sean Perry manning the safety positions, and Christian Triplett, Howell and Carson Fischbach rotating at the cornerback positions. Sophomores Dylan Trogdlon and Ethan Wedding as well as junior Ethan Freewalt also rotated in the secondary on second team and junior varsity. 

Keegan Sawmiller retains his position at middle linebacker as St. Marys will look to replace an edge rusher with the graduation of Jackson Harris. Seniors Eddie Fowler, Mitchell Zigenbusch and Tylir Young each received some looks with the first team at the edge rushing spot.

At the junior varsity level, junior quarterback Kurt Bubp showed decent arm strength and connected one some deep passes throughout the three days of practice, but sophomore receiver Kam Stein shined the most throughout the three 7-on-7 practices — culminated by a pair of athletic catches against Bellefontaine.