Monday, November 26th, 2018
Wyoming ends St. Marys' season in Division IV state semifinals
By Gary R. Rasberry
Wyoming's Luke Erny (51) brings down St. Marys' Braeden Dunlap (14) for a sack S. . .
PIQUA - In a span of 15 seconds, St. Marys went from being down just a touchdown at the half to being on the ropes and hoping for the bell to save them.
Wyoming scored two touchdowns in 15 seconds to break a 7-7 tie and then pulled away in the second half to hand the Roughriders a 35-14 loss in the Division IV state football semifinal on Saturday at Piqua's Alexander Stadium.
The Cowboys (14-0) advance to the state championship for the first time since they won their lone state title in 1977. They will travel to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium this Saturday for a matchup with Girard, which won a 53-48 shootout over Licking Valley in the other semifinal.
St. Marys, looking for its first trip to the state final since 2004, ends the season at 12-2.
"We're disappointed tonight, but I thought we took another step that was in the right direction and was good for our community and school system," said St. Marys coach Doug Frye.
The teams each went 3-and-out on their opening series before the Roughriders drew first blood. The Roughriders converted on three third-down plays during a 13-play, 62-yard drive that ended with Tyler Schlosser punching it in from seven yards out with 3:08 left in the first quarter.
Wyoming answered back with a quick seven-play drive. After keeping the ball on the ground on the first drive, Cowboy quarterback Evan Prater went to the air five times, connecting on four of the passes, including the final 15 yards on a pass to University of Findlay basketball commit Joey Edmonds to tie the game with 44 seconds left in the quarter.
The Roughriders were stopped on their next two drives as Wyoming took over with 5:48 left at their own 18. Prater drove the Cowboys 82 yards on 13 plays, converting three times on third down before finding Edmonds for a 6-yard scoring pass to make the score 14-7 with just 38 seconds left.
If fans thought the Roughriders would get the ball and run out the clock to the half, Wyoming coach Aaron Hancock had another ideas as kicker AJ Washienko executed a perfect onside kick that the Cowboys recovered at the St. Marys 40. After Hitting Perry McMichen for a 39-yard pass, the 6-5 Prater hurdled the pile for the final yard to make it 21-7 Cowboys at halftime.
That was a huge momentum swing," said Frye of the onside kick. "They did a good job executing that and I thought we did a poor job defending it. Doggone it! (That was) the first time all year I didn't step into our special teams huddle. Kick myself because I was talking offense."
Wyoming went on offense to start the third quarter and looked to apply the coup de grâce with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that took 3 1/2 minutes off the clock and ended with Prater connecting with Edmonds for the third time, this time from 24-yards out to make it 28-7. The Roughriders stalled out on their opening second half drive, but Perry punted the ball to the Wyoming 10, where on the first play Pierson Rogers fumbled and the Roughriders' Jason Taylor recovered on the 11. Sean Perry carried several Cowboys into the end zone to cut the deficit to 28-14 with 4:51 left in the third quarter.
Frye then called for an onside kick, which was recovered by kicker Gabe Vandever at the Wyoming 47. Unfortunately, the good field position was for naught as the Cowboy defensive pressure was cranked up and stopped St. Marys at the Wyoming 40 with a sack.
Wyoming added the final score with just over eight minutes left to play as Prater ran on four straight plays to cover 43 yards with another hurdle into the end zone from three yards out to make it 35-14.
"I thought we had some chances," said Frye. "In a game like this, there's a real fine line. The onside kick hurt us and we missed a couple touchdown passes where they were wide open. Give Wyoming credit. They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn't."
Prater finished the night with 147 yards rushing and was 11-of-17 passing for 187 yards. Edmonds had seven catches for 98 yards.
Perry wraps up a stellar football career with 58 yards on 17 carries and the score. St. Marys was held to 113 yards on the ground.
"They're a senior-dominated defense," said Frye of Wyoming, which recorded six sacks on the night. "We knew we would have some issues."