St. John’s quarterback Nick Martz looks for running room during Saturday night’s Division VII regional semi-final at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium. (Times Bulletin/Larry Heiing)
St. John’s quarterback Nick Martz looks for running room during Saturday night’s Division VII regional semi-final at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium. (Times Bulletin/Larry Heiing)
By JIM METCALFE

DHI Correspondent

sports@timesbulletin.com

FINDLAY - St. John's spotted Tiffin Calvert 10 points in the first 15-plus minutes of their Region 26 semifinal at Findlay's Donnell Stadium Saturday night. The Blue Jays came alive in the second quarter, however, and ran off 42 unanswered points, cruising to a 42-10 win.

St. John's (8-4) advances to the regional final where they will play Arlington at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Lima Stadium.

The biggest thorn-in-the-side of the Senecas (7-5) was Blue Jay senior tailback Tyler Jettinghoff, who accounted for all six touchdowns en route to rushing for 199 yards on 23 carries.

"I don't remember ever scoring that many times in a game," Jettinghoff explained. "I give all the credit to my offensive line and (fullback) Luke (MacLennan) doing the dirty work up front."

However, it was the Senecas that drew first blood just 12 seconds into the contest. At their own 20 yard line, Austin Ball took a handoff from quarterback Tyler Long over right guard and found things to his liking as he tore off an 80-yard scoring run. Michael Smith added the point-after for a 7-0 edge.

"We talked to the kids before the game about coming out ready to play and perhaps we weren't. Their quickness, especially the front four, also took us by surprise. They were running right past our guys," Jays coach Todd Schulte assessed.

The blue-and-gold defense held the Senecas to 166 yards of offense the rest of the way.

The Jays then found something that worked - the 35 and 36 "O" - and their offensive line of Spencer Ginter, Wes Buettner, Ryan Shumacher, Kellen Schomaeker and Austin Schulte started to control the Seneca front wall.

Jettinghoff began to get rolling, running eight times for 53 yards in the nine-play drive. The senior tailback finished off the 73-yard sequence from the Tiffin two, taking a toss off left tackle and heading to the end zone. Ben Wrasman tacked on the point-after for a 10-7 deficit with 4:39 left in the second period.
"We just figured out we could run one play and we tried to simplify things as much as possible. All we did was alternate which side," Schulte explained. "Toward the end of the second quarter, we could sense they were tiring as well. Between plays, they were slower to get up and they had their hands on their hips. Our offensive line started to get hat-on-hat and Luke kept doing a great job of leading on our 'O'. People don't realize what he does to key our offense on every play."

"We just had to get our anger out," Ginter said. "As an offensive linemen, you can also see it in your opponent's eyes when they are starting to get tired."

The Jays defense forced another three-and-out and started at their own 30. Jettinghoff ran for five yards and then took a toss off right tackle, cut inside, bowled over a safety at midfield and headed for the left sideline and the pylon with 2:08 remaining. Wrasman made it 14-10.

On the second-half kickoff, Jettinghoff showed his versatility.

Playing on special teams, he took the squib kick on the right numbers at the 16. Jettinghoff took off for the middle of the field and battled through a mob of defenders at the 40, emerging out of the traffic and heading for the left sideline. From there, he was able to outrun the Calvert tacklers and get into the end zone. Wrasman made it 21-10 just 14 seconds into the third quarter.

"I don't know if Tyler set a record for scores or not but he does a great job of beating the one defender that we can't account for in our offense," Schulte added. "We told the kids we had to score coming out of the locker room but I wasn't expecting that on the kickoff. Defensively, Luke and our other defensive ends did a nice job of not letting their quarterback (Long) on the perimeter. Really, outside of the first play, we handled their offense well."

"The guy ahead of me got hurt and that made me mad," MacLennan noted. "I was working at linebacker and defensive end all week and our whole job was to not let Long get outside of us. He did a lot of the work for them."

The St. John's defense, helped by Wrasman's kickoff and coverage unit pinning the foe at the 13, forced another three-and-out and used a 25-yard punt by Smith to start at the Tiffin 41. Four plays later, including a great leaping catch by Evan Hays on a pass from Martz for 30 yards, at the two, Jettinghoff took a toss off left tackle and scored again. Wrasman made it 28-10 with 8:12 showing in the third.

Tiffin, with their chances dwindling, tried to retaliate, marching from the 36 to the Jays' 37 in six plays but a two-yard loss by Long and a batted pass by Cody Looser ended that threat.

Two possessions later, the Jays took over at the Tiffin 36. That's where Jettinghoff took a toss off left tackle, veered outside, found the sideline and the end zone. Wrasman put in the conversion for a 35-10 edge with 9:58 left.

MacLennan, who added 10 rushes, and 79 yards to his outstanding locking, ran three times for 35 yards on the Blue Jays' final scoring drive, setting up Jettinghoff for what would be his sixth touchdown of the night. He took a toss off left tackle, bounced outside and beat the defense to the pylon with 4:13 to go. Wrasman accounted for the final point.