BELLEFONTAINE — Delphos Jefferson lost the battle in the trenches against Mechanicsburg and that led to the Indians’ 56-20 dismantling of the Wildcats in a Division VI Region 24 semifinal Friday night.
Mechanicsburg (12-0) moves on to play Marion Local and Delphos Jefferson ends its season with a 10-2 mark.
By controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, the Indians scored pretty much at will and went into the end zone on their first eight possessions. Mechanicsburg amassed more than 500 yards of total offense.
Wildcat head coach Chris Sommers, who was ousted from the playoffs by Mechanicsburg for the second straight year, said he knew they were a good team and they proved that by shutting down the Wildcats.
“They are good,” Sommers said. “I am proud of our guys and I wouldn’t trade them for anyone. Our senior class is a great senior class and this is a tough loss for them. I am very proud of the accomplishments and we will learn something from this.”
Indians head coach Kurt Forrest said this is typical of what his team has done all year.
“We are extremely physical up front,” Forrest said. “We have a very experienced strong group up there and you got No. 10 (Kaleb Romero) and 34 (Dustin Knapp) in the backfield to run the ball with a lot authority and a lot of violence. It was the big guys up front. We give a lot of love to those skill guys but the big guys get the job done week in and week out.”
Indians quarterback Romero was the driving force behind the Indians impressive offensive showing as the three-time state wrestling champion eluded Jefferson defenders throughout the night to garner 279 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Romero also tossed a touchdown, going 4 for 5 for 42 yards.
Providing additional offensive punch was Indians running back Dustin Knapp who amassed 179 yards and two touchdowns.
“They can hurt you in any facet of the game,” Sommers said. “Romero is a tremendous player and he has a lot of good players around him. But I was really proud of the way our guys played. It is not an easy situation to play in but they made their team proud and they made their community proud and as a coaching staff we are certainly proud of them.”
Because the Indians sustained multiple long drives, the Wildcats touched the ball on offense four times.
Defensively, the Indians smothered the Wildcats. Even though Jefferson rolled up 259 total yards of offense, 175 yards came on three plays which happened to be the lone offensive bright spots for the Wildcats that would lead to touchdowns. The Indians allowed the Wildcats into their territory once in the first half and that came on a 70-yard run by Wildcat running back Hunter Binkley.
The standout senior running back finished the game with 175 yards and two touchdowns but 133 of those yards came on two runs and both were for scores. Binkley’s second score was a 60-yard scamper.
Binkley was the lone Jefferson to manufacture any type of offense. Binkley’s backfield mate Brenen Auer, who had more than 1,000 yards rushing this year, was held to 26 yards on nine carries.
“We had our breakdowns,” Forrest said. “They have a great running back and we gave up a couple of long plays on traps and their offensive line gets off the ball incredibly fast so if you are not minding your Ps and Qs you are going to give up plays which we did. But other than the big plays that is really all about we gave up.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1