DELPHOS – Whenever the game is on the line for Delphos St. John’s, it’s a sure bet senior running back Tyler Jettinghoff is going to take things over for the Blue Jays.
With St. John’s trailing 21-14 after three quarters of action in Friday’s Midwest Athletic Conference football showdown at Stadium Park, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jettinghoff powered his way to three touchdowns in the final quarter to propel St. John’s to a 35-28 victory over Minster.
For the game, Jettinghoff rushed for 143 yards on 32 carries and had four TDs. Teammate Luke MacLennan ran for 124 yards on 13 carries and had a TD run of 55 yards in the first quarter.
With the win, St. John’s (6-4, 6-2 MAC) still has a chance to make it into the postseason playoffs. With the loss, Minster’s chances for a playoff berth are diminished. The Wildcats finish at 6-4, 6-2.
Minster coach Geron Stokes said the key to Friday’s game was simple.
“(No.) 14 (Jettinghoff) was the difference. Delphos’ physicality took a toll on us. We got out-toughed up front. They kept the ball from us and pounded us out,” he said.
In the first half, Minster was very efficient on offense. The Wildcats moved the ball well, rolling up 276 yards. Sophomore quarterback Josh Nixon completed 11 of 15 passes for 155 yards with two TDs. For the game, Nixon was 17-of-26 passing for 228 yards.
Minster had a 7-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the Wildcats led 21-14.
However, St. John’s came out inspired in the second half.
In the second half, St. John’s defense did a better job of containing Minster’s passing game. Nixon was 6-of-11 passing for just 73 yards in the final two quarters.
“Defensively, assistant coach (Steve) Recker spent a lot of time at halftime, making adjustments,” St. John’s coach Todd Schulte said. “Those were great adjustments by our defensive staff. Then our kids went out and executed it. …That’s pretty darn good.”
Sam Dues led the Minster running attack, rushing 13 times for 129 yards and a score. Dues’ TD run came on Minster’s first drive of the game. On a second-and-five play on Minster’s 25-yard line, Dues broke loose and rambled 75 yards to the end zone, giving the Wildcats the early 7-0 lead.
However, St. John’s answered on the next possession, as MacLennan found a seam and ran 55 yards for the score. The extra point was no good by Ben Wrasman, making the score 7-6 Minster.
Minster scored two more times by halftime, thanks to TD passes to A.J. Huelsman (two catches, 71 yards) and Eli Wolf (seven catches, 100 yards).
In the second half, however, it was St. John’s offense that took over.
“I’m pretty pleased with our offense,” Schulte said. “Our offense was very efficient tonight. We’re not a passing team by any means, but we hit some big ones tonight when we needed them.”
St. John’s quarterback Nick Martz was 5-of-5 passing for 61 yards.
“I give a lot of credit to the big guys up front,” Schulte said. “It was tough sledding up there, but they hung with it. I think we might have worn them down a little bit, once we got the momentum in the second half.”
With the victory, the Blue Jays will have to wait and see if they get into the playoffs.
“It’s a great win for us. It puts us in a situation where we can go and check the scoreboard and keep our fingers crossed,” Schulte said.