This Friday two rivals and two storied programs collide in a MAC showdown for first place. It will be the MVPHD Game of the Week in conjunction with The Great American Rivalry Series, a celebration of high school football games across the country that feeds the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night Lights”. Coldwater and Delphos St. John’s fit that description.
This Friday two rivals and two storied programs collide in a MAC showdown for first place. It will be the MVPHD Game of the Week in conjunction with The Great American Rivalry Series, a celebration of high school football games across the country that embraces the traditions and history, spotlights classic gridiron clashes, and feeds the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night Lights”.
Coldwater and Delphos St. John’s fit that description. The 5-1 Cavaliers are top-ranked in Division V and the 4-2 Blue Jays are No. 1 in Division VI (Muscle Milk/JJ Huddle Power Polls). The two schools combined boast eight state titles and 25 MAC championships.
Coldwater is gunning for a third straight state finals appearance with a 30-6 mark during that span. St. John’s is on course for a fourth straight state finals visit with a 46-5 record since 2008. The Jays have won 22 straight MAC games. Their last loss was October 10, 2008, against none other than Coldwater.
Plenty of festivities surround this Great American Rivalry Series. There will be a TV 44 Tailgate Party. It’s Senior Night. Miss Ohio Ellen Bryan will do the coin flip at mid-field. Alex Pax of Coldwater and Dylan Krendl of St. John’s will be the recipients of the Great American Rivalry Series Scholarship presentation. And a MVP Award will be presented to the Player of the Game and the Championship Trophy awarded to the winning team.
How’s that for Friday night entertainment? Oh yes, kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Clearly, this game is a major test for both teams. Coldwater is still searching for that big-play performer and coach Chip Otten is concerned with the passing game, “We all need to be on the same page, the quarterback, receivers, and coaches.”
The question of the year in Delphos could be answered Friday. Is St. John’s back? The Jays started 0-2 against bigger schools, but have won four straight over Minster, Anna, St. Henry, and Versailles. Two weeks ago, St. John’s was ranked 10th in the computer points. Now they are ranked second.
The Defenses: Delphos St. John’s employs a 4-3 front and gives up few yards and even fewer points. Speedy linebackers Kyle Neumeier, Brett Schwinnen, and Cody Looser are disruptive. Schwinnen leads the team in tackles with 59. Looser has two fumble recoveries and Neumeier has 46 tackles. The secondary has the challenge of keeping Coldwater’s receivers in front of them. Ryan Densel and Tanner Cavelage can expect a busy night. Densel has 34 tackles and two interceptions, including a 98-yard pick-six against Anna week four. Calvelage owns three interceptions. St. John’s allows 12.1 points per outing.
Coldwater operates out of a 4-3 front with active linebackers in Zach Dickman, Jordan Chapin, and Jordan Klosterman. Dickman leads the team with 51 tackles. Chapin totals 48 tackles with three fumble recoveries. Klosterman has 40 tackles and three sacks to his credit. Delphos needs to pay attention to DE Mark Brunet, who has recorded five sacks and can blow up a play in a heartbeat. The Cavalier defense allows a stingy 10.5 points per game.
The Offenses: St. John’s FB Jordan Bergfeld spearheads a potent rushing attack that features the option and power toss. Bergfeld has rushed for nearly 300 yards and five TDs. Tyler Jettinghoff is the speedy back near 300 yards, including 79 yards in the second half last week against Versailles. Junior QB Mark Boggs complements the running game with a 55% completion rate on 21-of-38 for 336 yards and three TDs (four games). When the Jays go to the air, WR Tanner Calvelage is the primary receiver. He has 15 catches for 295 yards and two TDs (five games).
Perhaps not as potent as last year, the Coldwater offense averages 30 points a game with the spread. The conductor is junior QB Austin Bruns, one of the top 2013 QB recruits in Ohio. He is 76-of-141 for 1,053 yards with 13 TDs and five interceptions. And if left unattended, he can run as evident by 336 rushing yards and two scores. Bruns distributes the wealth among five receivers. Caleb Siefring leads the corp with 17 catches for 246 yards and five TDs. Aaron Mestemaker has 16 receptions for 226 yards and three TDs. Josh Huber is 9-201 yards, Alex Stammen 9-148 yards, and Troy Otten 13-177 yards.
The X-Factor: The kicking game. Field position is critical in big time games. The edge has to be given to Coldwater. Place kicker Troy Otten has 17 PATs and three field goals, including a school record 49-yarder against Kenton week one. And over 90% of the time, his kickoffs sail into the endzone for touchbacks. Then there is Coldwater punter Kyle Bergman, who averages 40.8 yards per punt, tops in the area.
Prediction: Instant Classic.