BELLEFONTAINE — A magical season ended roughly Saturday night at AcuSport Stadium as St. Marys Memorial defeated Clear Fork 38-7 in the Division IV regional final.
“When we started this season, you always talk among yourselves about where we were going to be and a majority of the coaches though we would be 7-3 or 8-2,” Clear Fork coach Dave Carroll said. “We questioned if we would have the leadership and the work ethic after losing last year’s group. These guys rose above and beyond what they and a lot of people in the community expected. They surprised us.”
The Colts (12-1) ended a season that produced an MOAC championship, the most wins in school history and a trip to the Elite 8.
“They all do a tremendous job. Dave and I have been close friends for years. What a great program,” Roughriders head coach Doug Frye said.
Carroll warned that the Wing-T formation could be potent. That scheme produced good results for St. Marys (11-2), who will play Cincinnati Wyoming (13-0) in a state semi-final game Saturday at Piqua.
Three backs combined to rush for 342 yards, led by Ryan Perry with 142 on 17 carries. Ty Howell, who scored the games first touchdown on a 72-yard sweep, added 97 yards on 10 rushes. Fullback Ty Schlosser added 103 on 10 carries.
Each had a rushing touchdown.
Turnovers again hurt Clear Fork, with 10 of St. Marys’ points coming as a result.
“Our No.1 key to victory in the scouting report this week was to eliminate our turnovers,” Carroll said. “We moved the ball in the first half and then we had those two turnovers. In high school football, momentum swings quick.”
The Colts tied the game at 7-7 after a Trevon Trammell 7-yard touchdown run. A 29-yard field goal made it 10-7 Roughriders at intermission.
“When they tied it, we kept our composure. I just liked our kids’ perseverance tonight,” Frye said. “We got turnovers and were able to take advantage of it.”
The Roughriders piled up 403 rushing yards to Clear Fork’s 101. They had 14 first downs to Clear Fork’s 9 and controlled the ball for much of the second half.
“Our defense did a really good job for two and a half to three quarters,” Carroll said. “A big secret to St. Marys’ success is they have a lot of kids who play one way. That is the ideal situation being able to one-platoon their players especially their big boys up front. They wore us down. It’s a physical, pound, pound, pound.”
Trammell rushed for 58 yards and caught 4 passes for 44.
Carroll reflected on his team’s accomplishments.
“These guys have so much to be proud of. You have to remember, before last year, our kids weren’t even sniffing the playoffs since 2010. This is all new to our kids the last two years and hopefully, we won’t have to wait that long to do it again. When it becomes something you do on a regular basis, you get better at it. We will learn from this.”
Seniors who played their final game will be missed.
“They are a great group of kids. Jared Schaefer had to step in at quarterback as a sophomore in the OCC. He was getting pounded by bigger teams, but he held his own and hung in there,” Carroll said.
Schaefer completed 13-of-18 passes for 97 yards and ran for 37.
“Hunter Tollison started as our left tackle for four years and was a 205-pound freshman in the OCC and was getting killed and could have easily said this wasn’t for him. James Watts is a three-year starter at left guard and they all persevered and hung in there.”
Tollison was named co-defensive player of the year for the Northwest District.
“They are all fighters and overachievers. Jay Swainhart was a little guy playing inside linebacker and became a really good football player. AJ Blubaugh played JV three years and most kids wouldn’t stick through that. He is a three-sport athlete who doesn’t miss anything.”
Swainhart had 10 tackles and Michael Chillemi added 9.