LEIPSIC – Delphos St. John’s no longer even considers anything close to having a balance between the run and the pass.
Instead, the Blue Jays’ versatility comes from who and where they decide to run the football.
St. John’s ran for 405 yards in a 33-18 victory over Leipsic in the first round of the Division VII football playoffs Saturday at Leipsic.
“That’s who we are now,” St. John’s coach Todd Schulte said of his running game. “We are not fancy, whatsoever. It took me a while to figure out exactly who we were and I think we’ve done that. Coming in, we know we’ll have all sorts of people to deal with at the line of scrimmage. … But that’s who we are and it’s worked so far.”
For the Blue Jays, Luke MacLennan ran for 174 yards on nine carries with a 67-yard TD. Tyler Jettinghoff ran for 151 yards on 20 carries with two TDs (2, 61 yards).
“We just do what we’re good at,” Jettinghoff said.
Running the read option, St. John’s quarterback Nick Martz had 80 yards on the ground with two TDs.
St. John’s (7-4) advances to the second round of the playoffs against the Tiffin Calvert (7-4) on Saturday at a site to be named. Leipsic, the No. 1 seed in the region, ends its year 8-3.
“We’ve just gotten better at what we’re doing,” Jettinghoff said. “We hope to keep progressing and getting better.”
On St. John’s second play of the game, Martz got loose on a 59-yard read-option run for a TD to give the Blue Jays a 6-0 lead.
After Leipsic’s Zack Kuhlman picked off a Martz pass and returned it 27 yards to the 1, the Vikings needed only one play to score.
Jordan Chamberlin took it over from the 1 to tie the game at 6.
St. John’s took the lead to stay on a 61-yard TD sweep to the left by Jettinghoff, in which he ran over a Leipsic defender as he turned the corner. That came with 2:52 left in the first quarter.
“I saw two guys coming at me and I said, ‘Oh, do I juke them or do I go through them? I decided to go through them and I kept going. And I got a nice block down field from Luke (MacLennan).”
Jettinghoff’s 2-yard TD with 8:28 left in the second gave the Blue Jays a 20-6 lead.
St. John’s led 27-6 at the half. MacLennan’s 67-yard TD run gave the Blue Jays a 33-12 lead with 3:32 left in the third quarter.
“That came on an option,” MacLennan said. “In the second half, the end started playing off (me) more because the quarterback was running well, so they started handing me the ball. I had more of a wide-open hole.”
Chamberlin’s 5-yard TD brought Leipsic within 33-18 with 7:08 in the game.
Leipsic had one last drive, but it had to do it without Kuhlman (hand) and Chamberlin (ankle), who were both on the sideline with injuries.
The Vikings drove to the St. John’s 24 with Ross Mangas at quarterback, but the Blue Jays took over on downs and killed the clock.
Martz only threw the ball twice for the Blue Jays. He completed one and had one picked off.
For Leipsic, Chamberlin finished with 123 yards on 23 carries. He had TDs of 56 and 5 yards.
Kuhlman completed 10 of 24 for 85 yards with one interception. He ran for 52 yards on eight carries.
The key was the Blue Jays’ offensive line, led by 6-foot-4, 250-pound Spencer Ginter, which pounded out 274 yards rushing and 27 points by halftime.
“I thought we were getting some good things going in the second quarter,” Schulte said. … “I thought we started to wear on them a little bit as the game went on. In the second quarter, I thought we had them tired on both sides of the ball.”
Coldwater 42, Pemberville Eastwood 16
PEMBERVILLE - Coldwater (9-2) advanced in Division V, Region 16 with a victory at Eastwood (8-3).
The Cavaliers will next play at 7 p.m. Saturday against Doylestown Chippewa (9-2) which defeated region top seed Columbia (10-1) 62-28, at a site to be determined.
Marion Local 63, Ft. Loramie 14
MARIA STEIN - The Flyers, the third seed in Division VII, Region 26, moved to 11-0 and will play at 7 p.m. Saturday against second seed Covington (11-0) which defeated Portsmouth Notre Dame at a site to be determined.