HARMON FIELD -- St. Marys roared from 10-points down in the second half with 21 points in the fourth quarter to post a 28-17 victory and spoil Wapakoneta’s Homecoming Friday at Harmon Field.
With the come-from-behind win, the Roughriders improved their Western Buckeye League record to 4-1 and 4-2 overall. The Redskins saw their league record fall to 1-4 and 1-5 overall.
After a sluggish start, St. Marys dominated the game's final 12 minutes picking up 10 first downs, scoring three touchdowns, and intercepting two Wapak passes.
It was a remarkable momentum shift as the Redskins appeared to have the game in hand, breaking a 7-7 halftime tie with 10 unanswered points in the third quarter, and appeared to be driving for more.
Wapak deep into St. Marys territory on its first possession of the second half in a drive that resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Padraig Murphy with 8:09 left in the third quarter.
After a three-and-out and a 13-yard punt by the St. Marys offense, the Redskins struck quickly. Junior quarterback Jordan Martin hooked up with Cale Tabler for a 43-yard gain to the St. Marys two. From there Martin scored on a two-yard sneak, Murphy booted the extra point and the Skins led 17-7 with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
The Riders’ next possession resulted in another punt, and after stopping the Redskins deep in their own territory, a roughing-the-punter penalty gave the Skins new life, and left St. Marys fans wondering, "what else could go wrong."
But on the penultimate play of the third quarter, St. Marys junior Alan Broyles intercepted a Martin pass at the St. Marys 35.
From there, the Riders launched a punishing 12-play drive capped by a four-yard scoring run by Dan Roberts. Roberts picked himself up and booted the extra point on the next play, cutting Wapak's lead to 17-14 with 8:56 left in the game.
But Roberts wasn’t done. About 90 seconds later, he intercepted a Martin pass at the Wapak 37 yard line. From there, it took the Riders just five plays to take the lead, as Kyle Puschel scored from 12 yards out. Roberts dialed up the PAT and St. Marys took a 21-17 lead with 5:51 left in the game.
The Rider "D" rode the wave of momentum on the next series, stopping the Skins on three plays, forcing another punt. Puschel then put the game on ice with a 65-yard scoring sprint with 3:10 left in the game.
A last ditch effort by Wapak resulted in Martin’s third interception as the Riders won for the 66th time in the 104-game series with their Auglaize County neighbors.
The fourth quarter fireworks overshadowed a snoozer first half. It took a while for any offense to show up. But after the games’ first four possessions ended in punts, the Roughriders finally got it gear.
A 20-yard run by Dan Roberts pushed the ball into Wapakoneta territory. Five plays later Kyle Puschel waltzed into the end zone untouched from 21 yards out. Roberts split the uprights on the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
The second quarter started out pretty much like the first with three possessions and three punts. The Riders again appeared to be driving toward another score. But on the ninth play of the drive D.J. Manning lost the handle on the ball and Wapak's Trevor Raines recovered at his own 37 yard line.
Back-to-back big plays woke the sleeping Redskin offense. Quarterback Jordan Martin connected with Alex Parker for a 25-yard gain, followed by a 23-yard run by Cale Tabler. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the St. Marys 10 yard line.
Two plays later Martin found Dylan Shaffer in the back of the end zone for a Redskin touchdown. Padraig Murphy added the PAT kick to tie the score at 7 with 54 seconds left in the half. And the game remained tied for the intermission.
The Riders finished with 321 yards rushing, led by Puschel with 176 yards on 27 carries. Roberts also eclipsed the century mark with 115 yards on 18 carries.
Wapak was held to just 76 yards on the ground, but Martin had a big game through the air, connecting on 11 of 21 passes for 150 yards. Tabler was his leading target with five catches for 57 yards.
The Roughriders will be back in action Friday, traveling to Ottawa-Glandorf for a second-place WBL showdown against the 5-1 Titans. O-G was a 35-10 winner over Elida Friday.