In Highland’s first playoff appearance since 2010, the Scots were unable to move onto the second round of action, as St. Mary’s rode a definite field position advantage to a 41-0 halftime lead in a contest they would take by a 48-8 margin.
After forcing a stop on the game’s opening possession, Highland got a first down on a nine-yard run by Josh Cantrell after a pair of short gains from Brody Matthews. However, the drive stalled and a Scot punt gave the Roughriders the ball on their own 42.
From there, the host team drove down the field in eight plays, getting a touchdown run from Sean Perry on fourth-and-three from the Highland 10 to take a 7-0 lead nearly nine minutes into the game.
The rest of the first half was a nightmare for Highland, as their drives ended in two interceptions, a fumble, a turnover on downs and a pair of punts. Making matters worse, St. Mary’s put the ball into the end zone after each of those possessions.
Highland’s first drive after St. Mary’s initial touchdown ended with an interception. Three plays later, the Roughriders got a 51-yard scoring pass from Colin Clements to Braeden Dunlop.
The Scots showed promise on their next drive, getting a good kickoff return by Isaiah Stoneburner to the St. Mary’s 47-yard line. Runs by Jack Weaver and Cantrell moved the ball to the 29, but the drive stalled and Highland turned the ball over on downs early in the second quarter.
St. Mary’s drove for another touchdown, as Dunlop took the ball in from 11 yards out to make it 21-0. Highland then had another drive end with an interception, giving the Roughriders the ball on the Scot 22. Three plays later, the score was 28-0. After a three-and-out, St. Mary’s got a good punt return to start from Highland’s 30. This time, it only took one play to get into the end zone to take a 34-point lead with 4:40 remaining in the half.
The Roughriders added one more score in the half. After the teams traded fumbles, St. Mary’s forced a three-and-out and got the ball on their own 34 and were able to drive for a touchdown with only 20 seconds remaining in the half to lead by 41 at the intermission.
With a running clock throughout the second half, St. Mary’s was able to hold on for the win. After recovering a fumble on Highland’s first drive, they were able to get one more touchdown before the Scots struck in the fourth quarter.
After getting stopped on the St. Mary’s five-yard line on their first drive of the period, Highland was able to regain the ball on their opponents’ 41 after forcing a punt. Runs by Matthews and Tate Tobin moved the ball to the 24. Reese Weissenfluh then connected with Tobin to move the ball to the 11 and then the junior quarterback called his own number for an 11-yard touchdown. Matthews added the two-point conversion to finish the game’s scoring.
Highland, who ends their season with an 8-3 record that includes a share of the KMAC title at 6-1, was held to 191 yards in the game. Matthews ran for 87 to pace the ground game. Weissenfluh connected on two passes for 24 yards with both Tobin and Javi Vasquez hauling in receptions.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS