Delphos St. John’s will face one of its toughest tests of the
postseason Friday – Ada qurterback Mitchell Faine. Faine, a junior sensation, has been the pilot of a
high-scoring Bulldogs offense that has scored 30 or more points nine
times. St. John’s head coach Todd Schulte knows his team will have its hands full.
DELPHOS – Delphos St. John’s will face one of its toughest tests of the postseason Friday night. The Blue Jays will be up against Ada quarterback sensation Mitchell Faine, who has been the pilot of a high-scoring Bulldogs offense that has scored 30 or more points nine times.
St. John’s head coach Todd Schulte knows his team will have its hands full in a 7:30 p.m. Division VI Region 22 final at Donnell Stadium in Findlay.
“To slow down the Ada offense, we have to get pressure on the quarterback,” Schulte said. “If he is able to stand back and have time, he will pick us apart. We also have to make sure tacklers keep the short completion from going for a big gain.”
Ada has rolled through its first two playoff games, drilling Hilltop 56-8 and pounding Pandora-Gilboa 42-14.
Faine threw for five touchdowns and rushed for another in the win over Hilltop while rushing and throwing for a TD in the victory over the P-G.
DSJ’s answer to the explosive attack of the Bulldogs is a defense that has been tough to crack during this playoff run, the Blue Jays’ first postseason trip since winning it all in 2005.
The Blue Jays rolled over Arlington 28-7 and topped Carey 21-14 thanks to a pair of turnovers that set up short-field TD drives.
“The key to success of the defense has been their preparation and how well we have run to the ball,” Schulte said of a defense that gave up 223 yards in the win over Carey, but only eight came through the air. “Our defense is very aggressive and physical and we pride ourselves on getting as many people to the ball as possible.”
DSJ led 14-0 against the Blue Devils at the end of the first quarter, scoring one TD on a 25-yard run by quarterback Wes Ulm. The drive was set up by a fumble deep in Carey territory.
In the third quarter, the Blue Jays sealed the deal with a 6-yard TD run by Evan Burgei after DSJ recovered another fumble.
Offensively, DSJ will attempt to keep the ball out of the hands of the Bulldogs with time-consuming drives. The Blue Jays love to run the football and finished with 195 total yards last week.
“We want to be able to grind it out to get first downs and keep the clock running,” Schulte said. “Our hope is to limit Ada’s possessions.” We will also try to take what the defense gives us. If they have nine guys in the box, we will throw the ball.”
Ulm is confident the Blue Jays can do just that.
“We feel like our offense is pretty balanced,” Ulm said. “We just need to play smart and capitalize on our opportunities. We’ll be fine if we do that.”
As for St. John’s being able to go deep into the postseason, Schulte isn’t too surprised.
“I am not totally surprised,” Schulte said. “We have come along a lot faster than I imagined. “We gelled together as a team and family much faster than expected and it’s paid off.”