FINDLAY – Delphos St. John’s flirted with a passing game early.
But when the Blue Jays fell behind, they went back to their old standard, the grind-it-out toss sweep.
Blue Jays tailback Tyler Jettinghoff finished with 199 yards on 23 carries with six TDs to lead Delphos St. John’s to a 42-10 victory over Tiffin Calvert in the Division VII regional semifinals Saturday at Donnell Stadium.
Jettinghoff ran for five TDs (2, 65, 2, 36, 8) and took the second-half kickoff back for an 84-yard TD.
Doing most of the lead blocking for Jettinghoff on the toss sweep was fullback Luke MacLennan.
“Whenever I have to lead block for him, I just throw my body out in front of him like a car-crash dummy so I know he’ll get a wide-open hole,” MacLennan said.
The Blue Jays (8-4) advance to the regional finals to meet Arlington at 7 p.m. next Saturday at a site to be named. Calvert ends its year 7-5.
With 8:51 left in the first quarter, Calvert led 10-0 and St. John’s had the ball.
It was time to pound away at Calvert like a dentist drilling on a bad tooth.
The Blue Jays went 73 yards in nine plays, all on the ground to score. Jettinghoff bulled it over from the 2 to get St. John’s within 10-7 with 4:39 left in the second quarter. On the drive, Jettinghoff had eight carries for 53 yards, all on the toss sweep. MacLennan had the other carry for 15 yards.
“It was the same play (we kept running),” St. John’s coach Todd Schulte said. “We just switched from side to side. At that point, I said I know we know how to do one play (the toss sweep) and it’s time to buckle up and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I think we wore them out on that drive. I looked out in between plays and their kids were getting up slower, and their hands were on their knees. So I thought our guys up front were taking over.”
“It worked for us,” Jettinghoff said of the toss play. “We kept doing what we know how to do.”
Said St. John’s offensive tackle Spencer Ginter, “We just pulled the anger out of us and finally got it going.”
The next time the Blue Jays had the ball they needed only two plays to score. Jettinghoff took a pitch left, bulldozed a defender at the line of scrimmage, shook off two more tackles and went 65 yards for the TD. That gave St. John’s the lead to stay 14-10 with 2:08 left in the first half.
To start the second half, Jettinghoff took the kickoff and went 84 yards for a TD. That pushed the Blue Jays’ lead to 21-10 just into the third quarter.
“Everyone had their block, and I just followed Luke (MacLennan),” Jettinghoff said. “I think Wes Buettner had the big block.”
To start the game, Calvert took one play to score when Austin Ball took a handoff, ripped off left tackle and went 80 yards for a score.
Calvert pushed its lead to 10-0 with 8:57 left in the first quarter on a 38-yard field goal by Michael Smith.
St. John’s started the game by mixing in the pass to counter Calvert’s eight-man stacked front. Nick Martz completed 4 of 4 passes for 35 yards, but the Blue Jays couldn’t mount a scoring drive.
That’s when the Blue Jays got serious about their ground game.
The Blue Jays ended up with 284 yards on the ground. MacLennan finished with 79 yards on nine carries.
For the game, Martz completed 5 of 5 for 65 yards.
Calvert’s Ball finished with 160 yards on 20 carries with the 80-yard TD. Quarterback Tyler Long ran for 74 yards on 19 carries.
From his defensive end slot, MacLennan had four tackles for loss on Long, as he tried to turn the corner running the option.
“The coaches told us to watch the quarterback the entire time. Basically, their quarterback is their entire team,” MacLennan said.
Schulte said, “He did a tremendous job. Luke has great speed. Their kid kept trying to get outside, and you’re not going to outrun Luke.”
Jettinghoff finished the game off with TD runs of 36 and 8 yards to make it 42-10.
By then, St. John’s had completely worn Calvert down.