|Panthers rally to oust Jays in playoffs|
|Monday, November 19, 2012 10:39 AM|
McComb (13-0) takes on Marion Local 7:30 p.m. Friday night in the Division VI state semifinals at a site to be determined by the OHSAA Sunday but with Lima Stadium and Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field likely among the choices.
After the Jays had taken that 14-point lead, Cody Wilson began the rally with a 17-yard kickoff return to the 32. Dalton Buck (15-of-19 passing, 170 yards; 15 rushes, 57 yards) got cooking, completing 4-of-5 passes for 59 yards), to lead the 8-play drive. At the Jays’ 1, Wilson took a handoff inside right guard to the end zone. Jacob Beeson tacked on the point-after-touchdown for as 21-14 deficit with 8:31 left.
The Jays then made the first of their two crucial turnovers on the night from their 36, with Jerry Brown picking off a pass on the second play from scrimmage and returning it 26 yards to the Jays’ 20. Five running plays later at the 4, Brown (22 rushes, 63 yards) took a sweep to the left side and dove to the pylon for the score. The Jays were called for offsides on the PAT and head coach Kris Alge decided to go for two, with Wilson being stopped on the conversion to still trail 21-20 with 4:54 left.
The Jays could not convert on 3rd-and-11 from the 28 and had to punt with junior backup Cody Looser (regular punter/linebacker Troy Warnecke was out since the first half due to an injury), with their clinching drive starting at the Blue and Gold 44. Keyed by a 30-yard diving connection from Brown to Wilson, McComb scored on play six from the 2; a Brown sweep of the left side and going in standing up with 50 ticks show. Brown then threw to Brandon Ishmael for the 2 and a 28-21 edge.
Then began a bizarre sequence. On the scoring play, McComb was called for a post-play unsportsmanlike conduct, thus forcing a kickoff from the 25. Twice, Beeson kicked it out of bounds and twice, St. John’s head coach Todd Schulte made them rekick. Finally, junior Luke MacLennan returned the kick 16 yards to the McComb 25. However, on the very first play, a fumbled exchanged resulted in Dalton Auchmuty recovering at the 23 with 38 ticks left. All Buck had to do was take a knee three times — with St. John’s using its last two timeouts — to end the game.
In the end, McComb ran off 70 plays — 48 rushing (149 yards) and 16-of-22 passing (170 yards) — to the Jays’ 45.
“Our defense was on the field way too long. Our offense simply could not sustain much of anything on drives; our scores came on kids just making great plays,” Schulte explained. “We got beat by a better team on both sides of the ball. We made a few plays to keep ourselves alive; they made plays all night long.”
Both teams started the game with one fruitless possession but the Jays won the early field-position battle, taking over at the Panther 49 on their second drive. Senior Mark Boggs (8-of-16 passing, career-high 227 yards) was 3-of-4 on the drive, including play seven from the Panther 20. He dropped to throw and found senior Andrew Metzger on a skinny post from the left side over the middle at the goal line. Metzger made it 7-0 with 5:40 showing in the first period.
The next three drives ended with punts and the fourth saw McComb drove from its 22 to the 42, where on play seven, Wilson was stopped for no gain on 4th-and-2.
The Blue Jays took advantage with a 5-play drive, keyed by a 31-yard aerial from Boggs to Metzger (3 grabs, 65 yards). On 1st-and-goal at the 1, junior tailback Tyler Jettinghoff — held down to 22 yards on 14 carries — took a toss off left tackle and cut inside the paydirt. Metzger made it 14-0 with 3:58 showing in the half.
Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Jays’ 37 to shift momentum. Buck ran for 12 and then connected with Wilson (7 catches, 83 yards) on a screen pass coming from the left edge; he found the seam up the gut and exploded to the end zone with 3:20 showing. Beeson made it a 14-7 score.
Neither team could put together a scoring sequence the rest of the half to account for the halftime score.
After forcing a 3-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, the Blue Jay offense traveled from the 38 to the McComb 24 but on play seven, a 4th-and-9, Boggs threw an incomplete pass, turning the ball over on downs at 6:37 of the third.
McComb then took 15 plays and ended up turning the ball over on downs on 4th-and-3 from the Jays’ 4 as Boggs, in at defensive back, batted away Buck’s throw with 58 ticks left.
The Jays then added their final points of the game — and it ended up being on the season — via a 5-play sequence, keyed by a 36-yard Boggs’ run. At the 41, he dropped and was forced to scramble. He hit MacLennan (3 grabs, 112 yards) on the right hash at the 45. He set up a move to the outside but then veered all the way back across the gain to gain paydirt. Metzger made it 21-7 with 10:55 left.
The Jays’ running game was taken out of the equation, getting 56 tough yards on 29 tries.
“Their quickness was what is was made out to be; they were flying all over the field. We struggled maintaining our blocks on the second level; we got there but couldn’t stay on them,” Schulte added. “They took away our running game by selling out. Defensively, we held them down for three quarters but Brown is too good to hold him down for four quarters with that many plays. We finished an inconsistent season tonight. There were times we’d coming in Monday and wondered where we were going to go from here but the kids stuck with it. The kids kept at it and we seemed to hit our groove the last couple of weeks but we couldn’t keep it going tonight. It wasn’t for lack of effort on anyone’s part.”
MCCOMB 28, ST. JOHN’S 21