ST. MARYS, OHIO – The Bath Wildcats continued their recent run of dominance Friday night against St. Marys as they dealt the Roughriders their first loss of the season.
With their 28-7 win over St. Marys, Bath has now defeated their WBL foes four consecutive times dating back to 2012.
Defensively the Wildcats came into the game as the Western Buckeye League’s top ranked rushing defense, and did nothing to hurt that ranking as they held St. Marys to their lowest total of the season, 89 yards.
Offensively Bath used their own potent ground game and racked up 294 yards and four scores in the win. The Wildcats ran 61 total plays from scrimmage and accounted for 316 total yards after being held under 300 for the first time this season last week in their 24-14 loss to Wapak.
After forcing the Roughriders into the first of a pair of three and outs, the Bath offensive unit wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as they used just 3:26 to cover 56 yards on 8 plays. Junior QB Kaden Sullivan had little trouble rushing in from 6 yards out as he accounted for the first of a pair of scores on the night with the jaunt at the 6:34 mark of the opening quarter. Bath’s ensuing two point conversion attempt was unsuccessful so they would hold their lead at 6-0 over the home squad.
With St. Marys again held to a three and out on offense, the WBL’s 3rd leading rusher in Sullivan again led his team deep down as they covered 45 yards on 11 plays including a 4th and 1 to get to their opponents 5 yard line before failing to convert on their second 4th and 1 and giving the ball back to St. Marys.
Bo Gross’ first of two touchdown runs came with 6:24 remaining in the opening half as he rushed into the endzone virtually untouched from 9 yards out to push the score to 12-0 Bath. Gross wasted no time on the very next play as he again penetrated the Rider defense to complete the two point conversion and give his squad a 14-0 advantage.
As the rain began to dampen the grass at Skip Baughman Stadium the ball became a bit slicker and squirted out of the hands of St. Marys returner Austin Tester on the ensuing kickoff and was quickly recovered by Bath at the Riders 27. Gross added his second touchdown in a four minute span as he cashed in from 6 yards out to give the visitors a 21-0 lead that they would carry into the halftime break.
Following an interception from St. Marys signalcaller Dustin Howell that did not result in any points, the Bath offense finally found themselves able to convert a turnover into points in the second half as the second touchdown from Sullivan, his 8th of the season ran the visitors tally to 28-0 with 9:03 to go in the game.
St. Marys was able to get on the board with 6:10 left and on the following possession as they traveled 74 yards using both the run and the pass effectively for the first time in the contest against the Bath defense. Howell’s 28 yard rush on the third play from scrimmage on the drive put the Riders in business at midfield, but it was his 29 yard completion through the air to Randy Slife that moved his offense deep into Bath territory. On the drives 11th play Eric Spicer got his team on the board and avoided being shut out for the first time since October 2013 from 2 yards out to run the final margin to 28-7 Bath.
Of the 186 yards gained by the Roughriders in the contest, Howell would throw for 97 and lead his team in rushing with 13 carries for 46 yards. Eric Spicer rushed 10 times for 25 yards and the lone Rider touchdown while Julius Fisher finished with 3 carries for 10 yards.
Bath with the win sees their record improve to 3-3 overall, and 2-3 in the WBL. Two teams with the same record in Bath and Van Wert will meet next weekend as they each look to improve their standing in the middle of the WBL pack.
With their first loss of the season, the Roughriders see their record fall to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in Western Buckeye League play. The Battle of Grand Lake will take place next Friday night as St. Marys travels to Celina to take on the 4-2 (4-1) Bulldogs in a game that will be broadcast live on K94.3 FM as well as www.k943.com