Nikki Fox/Nikki Fox Photography
Parkway’s Shawn Miller fights with a St. John’s defender for additional yardage during the Panthers game against the Blue Jays on Friday, Oct. 9, in Rockford.
Nikki Fox/Nikki Fox Photography Parkway’s Shawn Miller fights with a St. John’s defender for additional yardage during the Panthers game against the Blue Jays on Friday, Oct. 9, in Rockford.
BY JIM COX

Times Bulletin Correspondent

sports@timesbulletin.com

ROCKFORD - Delphos St. John's totally dominated the first quarter; a muddy field and a wet football took charge after that. The result was a 42-7 Blue Jay win over Parkway at Panther Field Friday night. The win put Ohio's top-ranked Division VI team at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the Midwest Athletic Conference. The Panthers are 0-7 and 0-5.

A steady drizzle fell throughout, except for a brief break during the third quarter. That and Friday's all-day rain made the field a major obstacle to the offenses of both teams. Nevertheless, the Jays started off pretty much as expected, scoring on their third play from scrimmage via a 15-yard Jordan Leininger run. Josh Rode followed that up with a PAT kick - 7-0, Delphos, with 10:40 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Parkway three-and-out, St. John's quarterback Wes Ulm went 61 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and Rode kicked another PAT - 14-0 at 8:45. Following another Panther three-and-out, it took the Blue Jays five plays to go 69 yards, with Leininger taking it in from 24 yards out and Rode kicking another one - 21-0 at 4:46.

Parkway got its first first down on the ensuing possession before punting again. Leininger's 39-yard TD scamper with 0:12 showing on the clock led to a 28-0 first quarter lead by the visitors. At that point Leininger left the game, to return only for the first possession of the third quarter.

The Panthers started the second quarter with a nice drive, which started from their own 43, thanks to a nifty kickoff return by Riley Bransteter. The big plays on that drive were a 22 yard completion from Bryce Bedwell to Logan Hunter, a pass interference penalty on the Jays, and a 19-yard scoring strike from Bedwell to Hunter. Bransteter kicked the PAT to put Parkway on the board at the 10:41 mark, trailing 28-7.

The momentum seemed to have turned, as the Panthers then stopped Delphos, but the Jays promptly got the ball back on an interception and only had 11 yards to go from there. Mitchell MacClennan scored that one on a five-yarder with 5:34 left in the half, and it was 35-7, Jays, at the break.

Parkway started the second half with a three-and-outer, after which St. John's went 56 yards for another score, keyed by runs of 25 and 12 by Leininger, the latter for a score with 8:01 on the clock. Rode's kick made it 42-7. After that score, Leininger and Ulm took the rest of the night off.

With the Panther running game going nowhere, Bedwell was forced to go to the air constantly, no small task with receivers slipping and sliding in the mud and a wet ball frequently going through their hands. He ended with 8 of 30, 103 yards, and one TD. Parkway was able to total only 124 yards on offense. St. John's rolled up 397 yards, only 18 of which came through the air. Leininger got 162 of the yards on the ground with only nine carries.

Next week's assignment will be considerably tougher for the Jays. There will be a showdown of the undefeated teams as Coldwater invades Delphos Stadium Friday night.