St. John's rolls into playoffs unbeaten
Saturday, October 31, 2009 12:00 AM
BY KIRK DOUGAL
Ron Dunn/Times Bulletin
Delphos St. John’s running back Jordan Leininger (25) runs around the left side of the line on the way to a 21-yard gain on the second play from scrimmage. The Jays manhandled Fort Recovery, 62-0, and ended the season a perfect 10-0.
Times Bulletin Editor
DELPHOS - Division VI top-ranked Delphos St. John's secured their perfect regular season and rolled into the playoffs over Ft. Recovery, 62-0, on Friday night.
It did not take long for St. John's to show how the game was going to go. On the first play from scrimmage the visiting Indians were called for pass interference and a 15-yard penalty. Then a five-yard sweep right by Jordan Leininger was followed by the power pitch to Leininger to the left. He broke through the line, stiff-armed the linebacker to the ground and then ran down to the 11 before he was gang tackled. The next play QB Wes Ulm found A.J. Klausing on an 11-yard curl route at the goal line for the first score. Only 55 seconds into the game and the Jays had moved 52 yards in three plays for a 7-0 lead.
Delphos held Fort Recovery to a three-and-out - a recurring theme on the evening - and took the ball back on a punt. They gained one first down but then the bogged down, too. Alex Recker came on to punt but a horrible snap gave him no chance of kicking away and the Indians had some life and the ball on the Delphos 32-yard line.
The celebration was short-lived. Unable to move the ball, Fort Recovery was faced with a fourth and eight and went for it. But Indian QB Shane Brunswick was intercepted on the out pass when Joel Pohlman jumped the route. That was the last series Fort Recovery would have anything to cheer about for the rest of the night.
Delphos moved the ball down the field and Leininger ended up taking a pitch to the right, faking into the line and bouncing the play outside to go in for an untouched, 19-yard touchdown run a little more than two minutes later.
A Fort Recovery three-and-out was followed by a punt back to Delphos. Junior Tyler Bergfeld took the kick in stride moved from the right to the inside and followed his blockers for a 37-yard punt return to the Indians' 25. The Jays moved the ball easily down the field and with third and goal from the three, Leininger went in untouched into the endzone with his entire offensive line blocking past the goal line. One play into the second quarter and the Jays led, 21-0.
But that was just the start of their biggest quarter. More quick punts followed by Fort Recovery as Delphos gathered a two-yard touchdown plunge from Mitchell MacLennan, a 23-yard touchdown return on an interception by Tanner Calvelage and a four-yard touchdown run by Blake Williams to round out a 28-point quarter and a 42-0 halftime lead.
Already substituting freely late in the first half, Delphos coach Todd Schulte did not let most of his offensive starters see any time in the second half. The Jays' Cody Brinkman recovered a Fort Recovery fumble on the first series which led to another one-yard touchdown by Williams. On the next Delphos offensive series it was Williams again, this time for 17 yards and a 56-0 lead. The fourth quarter was a constant stream of younger and younger players for the Jays and sophomore Jordan Bergfeld provided the final scoring with a five-yard run off tackle.
With star Fort Recovery quarterback Greg Kahlig dressed in street clothes because of a bout with flu this week, the undermanned Indians were completely overwhelmed by the Delphos defense. The visitors were only able to gain two first downs in the entire game on 68 total yards of offense - 34 in each half. They also gave up two interceptions and one fumble.
Although the Delphos total yardage was not huge for such a big score, it was held down by the short drives they needed all night because of their stifling defense. Wes Ulm completed two of six attempts passing for 22 yards and one touchdown while Alex Clark was two for four for 18 yards in the second half. Blake Williams led the Jays on the ground with 13 rushes for 99 yards and three scores and Jordan Leininger went for 75 yards on 14 attempts and two touchdowns. As a team, the Jays rushed for 323 yards on 50 carries and seven scores.
After the game, Schulte was obviously happy with the way his team stayed sharp going into the playoffs. But he was especially pleased with how many players he was able to get on the field.
"Blake (Williams), each week after he made it past the four or fifth week was the longest he was able to make it through the season," Schulte said. "It's nice to get him out there. Everyone that was on the sideline that was dressed got at least one play and it's nice to get those guys in because they work just as hard all week long as the starters and the guys who played a bunch in the first half."
He also liked the defensive effort.
"We were kind of scrambling a little bit before the game when we saw Kahlig walk out and he wasn't dressed. What kind of offense were we going to get? Are they going to change a bunch of things? But our kids did a nice job of getting after it. A lot of it was speed. It just seemed like we were a step ahead all night."
The Blue Jays will play at home next Saturday in the opening round of the playoffs against an opponent that had not yet been announced at press time.