DELPHOS — Riverside isn’t known for passing the football. So, the obvious game plan for Riverside was to throw the football.
In Friday’s Division VII first-round playoff game between Riverside and Delphos St. John’s, Riverside came out slinging, throwing passes all over the field.
However, St. John’s took control in the second half, corralled the Riverside passing attack and scored 27 unanswered points en route to a convincing 48-21 victory over the Pirates at Stadium Park.
With the win, St. John’s (7-4) advances and will take on Lehman Catholic next Friday in a regional semifinal at a site to be determined. Lehman Catholic (10-1) defeated Perry 46-6 Friday night to advance.
Coming into Friday’s matchup with St. John’s, Riverside (6-5) had thrown the football just 60 times on the year. However, the Pirates came out throwing Friday night and several times got behind the St. John’s defenders.
“They had a good game plan, coming in,” St. John’s coach Todd Schulte said. “We were gearing up to stop the run, and we didn’t cover very well.”
By halftime, the game was knotted at 21 apiece, and Riverside quarterback Kale Long had completed 8-of-11 passes for 193 yards and had two touchdown passes.
In the second half, St. John’s ran the football effectively and reeled off two rushing TDs. Quarterback Jared Wurst also had a passing TD to Lucas Metcalfe. The Blue Jays’ other second-half touchdown was a 45-yard interception return by Collin Will. Will, a senior defensive back, had two picks in the game.
“I thought our offense — both first half and second half — we threw the ball quite well, and when we needed to, we ran the ball well,” Schulte said. “In the first half, we just couldn’t get a stop. We had some opportunities to make some plays and to knock some balls down.
“So, we came out in the second half, and the game plan was that we were going to run the football and shorten the game.”
The Blue Jays threw the ball effectively, as well. For the game, Wurst was 10-of-16 passing for 207 yards with a touchdown pass. Wurst’s touchdown pass came late in the third quarter, when he found Metcalfe open for a 24-yard scoring strike. With the extra point by Mark Wrasman, the Blue Jays led 35-21.
Wurst’s favorite receiver Friday was Connor Hulihan, who hauled in four passes for 110 yards.
On the ground, St. John’s piled up 191 yards. Wurst led the way with 81 yards on eight carries, including a touchdown run.
Long finished the game with 240 passing yards and completed 11-of-19 attempts. Caleb Stevens led the Pirates with 54 rushing yards and caught six passes for 116 yards.
Riverside had 370 yards of offense in the game, compared to 398 by St. John’s.