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Roughriders fall short in title game hopes

Information by Roger Jester

Photos by Melissa Adams

Story by Jeff Gates

 

PIQUA – All good things must come to an end.

 

In life, there comes a time when a last song is sung, a last story is written, and unfortunately, a last football game is played.

 

In Ohio’s high school football system, only seven teams are happy when the season ends (due to having that number of division crowns to be awarded).

 

Despite not winning a championship, a number of teams can call a season a success by virtue of a combination of overall accomplishments, and showing character by competing until the very end.

 

The West Jefferson High School football squad is one such team.

 

The Roughriders ran into tough opponent in the Division VI State Semifinal as they were defeated by defending State Champion Coldwater 35-13 Saturday at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium. The loss left WJ one win short of reaching the championship game.

 

As a collective unit, this West Jeff team has set a number of records, making it one of the most accomplished squads in the stellar tenure of Roughrider coach Shawn Buescher.

 

The Roughriders last possession of the season exemplified their fight-to-the-finish character.

 

Trailing 35-6 following a 10 minute-plus, 20 play, 95 yard scoring drive, West Jeff prepared for the kickoff with time winding down in the fourth quarter.

 

With two minutes remaining in the Roughrider season, a long kick return by Adam Fry set his team just 30 yards from the end zone. Then Tyler Buescher completes a pair of 10 yard passes – first to Hayden Salyer and then to MJ Book. A few plays later, facing fourth down, it was Buescher to Book again, this time resulting in a touchdown with just eight seconds remaining.

 

This brief series can stand as part of a strong legacy of this Roughrider squad.

 

The Cavaliers got on the board early as Coldwater’s Tanner Muhlenkamp returned an interception for a touchdown. Six minutes later, Coldwater took a two TD lead as Isaac Fullenkamp took it in from five years out.

 

West Jefferson got on the board as Mason Cordetti connected on a 34 yard field goal.

 

Coldwater would reach the end zone one more time in the second quarter as Cavalier QB Reece Dellinger connected with Marcel Blasingame for a 29 yard score.

 

The Roughriders would cut the Coldwater lead to 21-6 right before the half as Cordetti nailed yet another field goal, this time from 37 yards out.

 

The Cavaliers would tally a pair of scores after the intermission – first on a 52 yard Dellinger to Jesse Meyer pass play, and then on a short Fullenkamp run.

 

As mentioned earlier, the game’s scoring would conclude with the Buescher to Book TD pass play.

 

Offense-wise, the Roughriders were led by Salyer in rushing as well as Book and Ethan Hostetler for receiving. Book and Fry led their teammates with 11 tackles each. Canyon Schneider recorded a sack for West Jeff.