McComb facing tough playoff opponent in Delphos St. John

Two years ago these same two teams met in the same Division VI regional final at the same neutral site, Donnell Stadium in Findlay.
Two years ago these same two teams met in the same Division VI regional final at the same neutral site, Donnell Stadium in Findlay.

When No. 2-ranked McComb and perennial power Delphos St. John take the field for the Division VI regional final Friday in Findlay, a pair of football powers will square off for a shot at earning a spot in the state semifinals.

McComb (12-0), which is 16-14 all- time in the playoffs, won a state championship in 1983.

Delphos St. John (8-4), owners of a 49-8 all-time tournament record, is a six-time state champion, claiming its last title in 2010.

The Blue Jays rank No. 1 in Ohio playoff winning percentage (86 percent) and fourth all-time in playoff wins behind Newark Catholic (65), St. Ignatius (63) and Cardinal Mooney (56).

The undefeated Panthers are welcoming the challenge.

"I think we match up really well against each other and their record is kind of deceptive," McComb coach Kris Alge said. "I think the team that we have can compete with anyone. We have so much confidence going right now."

McComb, the Blanchard Valley Conference champion, is led by BVC offensive player of the year Jerry Brown. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior has rushed for 1,560 yards on 165 carries, including 23 touchdowns. He's also caught 38 passes for 561 yards, including five for TDs.

Running back Cody Wilson (5-11, 185) hs also been key in leading the Panthers' explosive attack. Wilson has rushed for 806 yards on 103 carries, including 15 TDs. He leads McComb with 42 catches for 711 yards, including nine for TDs.

The Panthers are also a threat through the air with quarterback Dalton Buck, who has completed 126 of 199 passes for 2,092 yards and 22 touchdowns.

"Offensively, we have to be able to score quickly and be able to run the ball," Alge said, explaining what he considers a key to taking on St. John's.

Yet, the Panthers don't expect this meeting to end in a blowout either way. It's two good teams looking to make the most of the opportunity.

"We're going in with a lot of confidence, especially our defense, which has been playing really well," Alge said. "Defensively, our kids have a lot of confidence. We're flying to the football and tackling well."

A 14-0 victory over Arlington in a regional quarterfinal stands as the fewest points they've scored in a game this season. It is also the closest any team has come to staying with the Panthers. McComb rebounded a week later and romped Tiffin Calvert 42-0 in a regional semifinal.

Delphos St. John knocked off Fremont St. Joseph 54-21 in a regional semifinal after trailing 21-7.

Blue Jays tailback Tyler Jettinghoff plowed his way to 247 yards on 22 carries against the Crimson Streaks. Jettinghoff (6-2, 205) has rushed for more than 1,700 yards this season.

The No. 1 seed Panthers have dominated their opponents all season. They've outscored the opposition by an average score of 47-8. No. 6 seed St. John's has outscored its opponents by an average of 25-14.