BAUGHMAN STADIUM -- The Frye boys combined for almost 400 yards, St. Marys had three six-minute-plus drives, and the Riders didn’t have to punt all night.
It all added up to a 47-26 victory over Elida Friday at a rain-drenched and half-filled Skip Baughman Stadium.
The Riders improved to 7-2 overall and 6-2 in the Western Buckeye League while the Bulldogs fell to 5-4 and 4-4.
St. Marys jumped out to a 27-6 halftime lead thanks to some impressive ball control offense. The Riders ran 46 plays in the first half, while limiting Elida to 14.
“Give St. Marys’ offensive line a lot of credit,” Elida coach Chris Eztler said. “They came off the ball hard and played well. For them to hold on to the ball like that was huge. Our offense only had the ball three times in the first half.”
Unofficially the Riders rolled up 508 yards of offense and a school record 28 first downs. Koby Frye led the way on the ground with 227 yards on 22 carries. Bo Frye finished with 167 yards on 28 carries.
Elida was playing without the league’s top rusher, Mark Leugers, who was injured in practice on Wednesday and did not dress for the game Friday.
“Anytime you lose your best offensive player, it’s going to change what you do,” Etzler said. “But to be honest that was the side of the ball (offense) that got the job done tonight. We just didn’t get the job done on defense.”
St. Marys started the game with a 15-play, six-minute scoring drive capped off by a one-yard run from quarterback Brett Baker and a PAT kick by Doug Burke.
Elida did not need nearly as much time to answer. Thanks to a nice kick return, the Bulldogs started their first drive just inside St. Marys territory. On the second play of the drive quarterback Justin Blymyer tossed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Miller, who ran a simple slant pattern and got past the entire St. Marys secondary.
The Riders were able to hold on to the lead when Elida PAT kick was off-target.
But the quick Elida drive was answered even quicker by the Riders. Koby Frye went sweep right, avoided a tackle, made a great cutback and went 80 yards to paydirt. Burke was perfect again and the Riders led 14-6 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
After the Rider defense held Elida to a three-and-out, the “O” took over again on their own 18 yard line. This time St. Marys went 82 yards in 18 plays, taking just over eight minutes off the clock in the process. The Riders picked up six first downs on the drive, which ended with a four-yard run by Bo Frye with 6:15 left in the half.
Elida again failed to pick up a first down on its next possession, giving the ball right back to St. Marys. This time the Riders went 73 yards in just under four minutes as Koby Frye scored on a four-yard run with 38.5 seconds left in the half. Burke’s kick never made it to the cross bar as the Riders took a 27-6 lead into the locker room.
Elida got back into the game on its first possession of the second half as Blymyer and Miller again hooked up for a big gain. A 75-yard completion set up a two-yard pass from Blymeyer to Derick Edwards with 10:01 left in the quarter. The try for the two-point conversion failed.
St. Marys answered, but didn’t take a lot of time off the clock as Bo Frye went 40 yards for a touchdown for a 34-12 lead with 9:20 left in the third quarter.
Elida came back with its passing attack, which has been the Achilles Heel of the Rider defense all year. Blymer complete passes of 20 and 16 yards to Miller, the 6-6 250-pound senior tight end.,
Alex Martini capped the drive with a 21-yard run up the middle, and Miller ran in the two point conversion, cutting St. Marys’ lead to 34-20 with 6:28 left to play in the third quarter.
The St. Marys offense again would not be denied. The Riders went 81 yards in 14 plays and did not give the ball back to Elida until the fourth quarter. Koby Frye scored his second touchdown of the night on a four-yard run for a 40-20 lead with 11:54 left to play.
Elida turned the ball over on downs on its next possession and the Riders put the nails in the coffin with an eight-minute scoring drive to end the game. Bo Frye scored from four yards out with 26.6 seconds left and Burke added the PAT for a 47-20 lead.
The scoring was not quite finished as Elida’s Derick Edwards scored on a 75-yard run on the very next play from scrimmage with three seconds left to play – too bad there were only about 12 fans left in the stands to see it.
The Bulldogs did manage to put up some impressive offensive numbers. Miller was “Mr. Everything” for Elida. He caught five passes for 151 yards, completed three of five passes for 35 yards and carried the ball four times for 14 yards. Edwards finished with 113 yards rushing, while Blymyer completed six of 10 passes for 168 yards. Elida finished with 340 yards of total offense.
"I was disappointed with our defensive effort tonight," St. Marys coach Doug Frye said. "We still haven't put together all three parts of our game [offense, defense and kicking teams] and we're running out of time."
The Riders stay home next week for the regular season finale against winless Bath. Thanks to Shawnee’s 24-13 upset of O-G, the Riders are still alive in the WBL race, trailing both Kenton and O-G by a game. Next week Kenton hosts Shawnee and O-G, Defiance.
The Riders are also still hoping to get into the Division III playoffs, going into action tonight in ninth place in Region 10..
It was Senior Night at Baughman field, and Senior Class players of fall sports, band members and cheerleaders were introduced to the crowd prior to the game.