After finishing 2-8 in 2007, the Blue Jays are 27-3 the last two years with two appearances in the Division VI state final. After winning its fifth championship in 2008, DSJ fell in the final five seconds of last year’s title game. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays make it three straight Decembers in Stark County.
Delphos St. John’s
2009 Record: 14-1, State Runner-Up
* Players to Watch – LB Chris Pohlman (6-2, 240, Sr.); RB Jordan Leininger (6-2, 215, Sr.); C Alex Recker (6-2, 240, Sr.); OT Austin Vogt (6-4, 270, Sr.); FS/WR Tyler Bergfield (6-3, 195, Sr.); SS AJ Klausing (5-10, 170, Sr.); OG Joey Grubenhoff (6-1,225, Sr.); DL Cody Brinkman (5-10, 183, Sr.); DE Derek Klaus (6-1, 198, Sr.); DB Evan Burgei (6-0, 175, Sr.);OLB Dylan Dancer (6-0, 190, Sr.)
* Outlook – After finishing 2-8 in 2007, the Blue Jays are 27-3 the last two years with two appearances in the Division VI state final. After winning its fifth championship in 2008, DSJ fell in the final five seconds of last year’s title game. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays make it three straight Decembers in Stark County.
DSJ returns plenty of talent (including four players with NCAA D-I potential) to make a run at State Title No. 6.
Defensively, you’d be hard pressed to find a better small school linebacker than Pohlman. A tackling machine, Pohlman was the D-VI Ohio defensive player of the year last season after tallying 141 tackles. As a sophomore his 158 tackles earned him second team All-Ohio honors. He’s on several college’s watch lists.
Brinkman and Bergfeld (first team All-Ohio) were first team All-MAC performers on defense, while Klaus (second team All-Ohio) and Klausing were second team. Pohlman was also the MAC Defensive POY.
Three first team All-MAC selections – Recker (first team All-Ohio), Grubenhoff and Vogt – lead a big, talented and experienced offensive front. Vogt has a scholarship offer from Buffalo.
That trio will open holes for another possible D-I recruit in Leininger. A three-year starter, Leininger was first team All-Ohio last year after rushing for 1,593 yards and 31 TDs. As a sophomore he had 1,222 yards and 15 TDs. He’s projected as a linebacker in college.
Head coach Todd Schulte (112-32 in 12 years) doesn’t have many holes or concerns, but one glaring issue is who replaces standout QB and MAC Offensive MVP Wes Ulm? Ulm was a catalyst the last two years, a team leader and a 1,000-1,000 guy (rushing and throwing).
“A lot of the success on offense has come through our option game, so we will have to find someone that can handle that pressure,” Schulte said. “We will be having a very competitive summer to see who will win that spot.”
The Jays should win plenty of games. Whether they win again in Week 15 is the real question.
* Schedule – DSJ faces six teams that made the playoffs in 2009. They also face a MAC slate. Arguably not a harder small school schedule in the state. Home games against Coldwater, Anna and Versailles help.
8/28 *LIMA CENTRAL CATHOLIC
9/3 *@ HILLSDALE (JEROMESVILLE)
9/10 @ MINSTER
9/24 *@ ST HENRY
10/15 @ FORT RECOVERY
10/22 *@ MARION LOCAL (MARIA STEIN)
10/30 NEW BREMEN
* Playoff team from 2009