DELPHOS – There’s nothing fancy about the Delphos St. John’s offense.
The Blue Jays just run, run, run.
For the past six games, St. John’s opponents have not found a way to shut down the Blue Jays’ rushing attack.
In last week’s 42-10 Division VII regional semifinal victory over Tiffin Calvert, St. John’s rushed for 284 yards. Tailback Tyler Jettinghoff led the Blue Jays with 199 yards rushing on 23 carries and five rushing touchdowns. Jettinghoff also returned a second-half kick-off for an 84-yard score.
On Saturday at Lima Stadium, St. John’s (8-4) will put its six-game winning streak on the line when it faces Arlington (9-3) in a Division VII regional final. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
“That’s who we are,” St. John’s coach Todd Schulte said. “I don’t know how else to put it. We run the football and teams know what we’re going to do.”
St. John’s, the eighth-seed in Region 24, has battled back after a slow start to the season. After beginning the campaign 2-4, the Blue Jays’ running attack took over and helped pave the way for a run to the regional championship game.
Leading the Blue Jays this season has been Jettinghoff, who has rushed for 1,387 yards and 27 TDs. Fullback Luke MacLennan has ran for 829 yards and seven TDs. Quarterback Nick Martz has added nearly 600 rushing yards as well.
“It’s a six-game winning streak that we’re on right now,” Schulte said. “Through all six games, teams are putting 8 or 9 guys in the box and we continue to run the ball really well.
“At the beginning of the season, we had our share of ups and downs. …We’ve probably had more downs than ups, but they’ve stuck together and have worked hard. After getting a few wins under their belts, they started to get their swagger back and played with more confidence.”
Arlington comes into Saturday’s game, featuring a strong running attack as well. The Red Devils are led by tailback Austin Rettig.
In last week’s 54-14 win over Hicksville, Rettig rushed for 280 yards and seven TDs to lead the Red Devils. Fullback Josh Elledge rushed for 100 yards on six carries. For the regular season, the 6-foot, 190-pound Rettig had 1,604 yards and 33 TDs.
As a team, Arlington ran for 444 yards and eight TDs. The Red Devils attempted just one pass against Hicksville, which was an incompletion.
“They remind me of us. …They are predominantly a running team,” Schulte said. “They do have the ability to throw the football, but they’ll stick mostly with the run. Rettig is the main back. I think he has run for over 500 yards in the past two games.”
The one area Schulte points to for the success of his team in the second half of the season, is the offensive line. Two of the mainstays on the offensive line are seniors Ryan Shumaker (center) and Spencer Ginter (tackle). Both Shumaker and Ginter were recently named first team all-Midwest Athletic Conference.
“They (the offensive line) have come a long way since Week 1. It was just a matter of them getting comfortable and getting a few games under their belt. It also took some time for us coaches. …We saw a few things in the first few weeks and got rid of some things and they’ve gotten better,” he said.