Parkway’s Nick Hawk rushing against the St. Johns defense during the Panther heart breaking MAC loss on Friday night. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
Parkway’s Nick Hawk rushing against the St. Johns defense during the Panther heart breaking MAC loss on Friday night. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
ROCKFORD — On a cold, windy, rainy Friday night, Delphos St. John’s and Parkway toughed it out in a close, well-played MAC game, won by the Blue Jays 27-22. St. John’s is now 2-6 overall and 1-5 in the MAC. Parkway is 1-7 and 1-5.

It was a case of the Panthers knowing what was coming from the Blue Jay offense — a steady diet of Jared Wurst right, Jared Wurst left, Jared Wurst middle — but being unable to stop it. The 6’4, 210-pound senior quarterback carried the ball 38 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He threw only three times, completing one for two yards.

Meanwhile, the Panthers had a much more varied attack, getting some powerful running from junior running back Nick Hawk (22 carries, 67 yards) and effective passing from sophomore lefty quarterback Eli Rich (7 of 13 for 121 yards), but it wasn’t quite enough.

The Jays got on the board first via a 12-play, 62-yard drive, which was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Devin Lindeman with 4:00 left in the first period. Parkway matched that early in the second quarter — a 15-play, 64-yard march, which Rich topped off with a 5-yard scoring run at 9:16 on the clock.

The Panthers took a 14-7 lead with 2:59 left in the second period on a 39-yard strike from Rich to senior Preston Stober, but the Jays quickly marched down the field — 8 plays, 69 yards — and Wurst stuck it in the end zone from nine yards out with only 45 ticks left on the clock — 14-14 at the half.

Delphos had the first possession of the second half but, thanks to two penalties, found itself with a 4th-and-19 from its own 7. Wurst’s punt was blocked by junior Mason Landers and the ball went through the end zone for a safety and a 16-14 Parkway lead with 9:24 on the clock.

The Jays answered with a 55-yard, 8-play drive that included six Wurst carries, the last being a one-yard score with 3:03 left in the third quarter. The 2-point PAT try failed, and St. John’s led 20-16 after three.

Another clock-eating Blue Jay drive — 10 plays, 75 yards, Wurst 5-yard scoring run — had the visitors up 27-16 with 8:13 left in the game. Needing a quick score, the home team got one when Rich faked a handoff to Hawk and went 59 yards for a score to get Parkway within 27-22 at 6:54. The 2-point PAT try failed, but the Panthers were within striking distance if they could get the ball back one more time, which they did.

Penalties foiled a Blue Jay game-clinching drive and forced a punt to give Parkway the ball at its own 15 with 3:03 left. Two nice pass completions, one to junior Jason Luth and one to Stober, gave the Panthers a 1st-and-10 at the Blue Jay 44, but an interception by junior Brady Parrish, his second of the game, sealed the deal.

Summary:

PW 0 14 2 6 - 22

DSJ 7 7 6 7 - 27

1st Quarter — 4:00 — Devin Lindeman (DSJ) — 3-yd run. Mark Wrasman — PAT kick.

2nd Quarter — 9:16 — Eli Rich (PW) — 5-yd run. Corey Walls — PAT kick.

2:59 — Preston Stober (PW) — 39-yd pass from Rich. Walls — PAT kick.

0:45 — Jared Wurst (DSJ) — 9-yd run. Wrasman — PAT kick.

3rd Quarter — 9:24 — Safety (PW) — Mason Landers blocked punt through end zone.

3:03 — Wurst (DSJ) — 1-yd run. 2-pt PAT try failed.

4th Quarter — 8:13 — Wurst (DSJ) — 5-yd run. Wrasman — PAT kick.

6:54 — Rich (PW) — 59-yd run. 2-pt PAT try failed.

PW DSJ

First Downs: 11 21

Rushing Att/Yds 30/147 56/351

Passing Att/Comp/Int 7/13/2 1/3/0

Passing Yards 121 2

Total Yards 268 353