Blujays lose in hard fought Sylvan/Lucas battle
With all it's going on in the world it's hard to believe that the time of the year when high school football becomes the focus of young man growing up is already here. Friday night at Tipton the St. John's/Tipton Blujays kicked off this version of the 2020 football season. No one knows if the season will be completed or how many games will be played but these young man made a commitment to play as long as they are allowed to.
St. John's/Tipton enters the season with high hopes. They have 21 players out for football and returned experience at several positions, especially their skill players. The team includes five seniors who will be providing the team leadership. They also have depth at almost every position. Their biggest challenge will be the schedule as their first three games are against state-ranked teams. Their challenge Friday night was against the stateranked Sylvan/Lucas Mustangs.
The Mustangs will be one of the few teams that will be able to match the size of the Blujays. They also have a big roster that gives them team depth. They use their size to their advantage by pounding the ball up the middle and using a lot of misdirection plays. They used that strategy Friday night to their advantage on their way to a 38-31 victory over the Blujays.
The game started with St. John's/Tipton receiving the opening kickoff. They were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt. Sylvan/ Lucas started at their 32 yard line and pounded the ball up the middle, aided by a Blujay penalty moved deep into St. John's/Tipton's territory. On a second down from the 7 yard line they completed a pass that resulted in a touchdown with 7:36 left in the first quarter. The extra point attempt failed but they lead 6-0.
St. John's/Tipton would answer immediately. Starting from their 15 yard line behind a running of Blake and Brayden Perez, despite two penalties, they marched to the Mustangs 11 yard line. Jaret Eitzmann then found Brayden Perez with an 11 yard touchdown pass. Eitzmann ran for the extra point that gave the Blujays their only lead of the night 8-6.
Sylvan/Lucas took the next kickoff from the Jays at their 15 yard line and proceeded to move the ball all the way to the Jays 4 yard line. On a fourth down the Stangs were unable to punch the ball in and they turned the ball over to the Blujays at the Jays 1 yard line. On their first play the Jays fumbled and the Mustangs recovered the ball. On their next play their quarterback snuck in for the touchdown and then their pass for the extra point was successful giving them a 14-8 lead with 1:05 left in the first quarter.
The teams then traded possessions as first the Blujays fumbled at the Mustangs 28 yard line and then the Mustangs returned the favor and fumbled at the Jays a 37 yard line with the ball being recovered by Isaac Hicks. Once again St. John's/Tipton drove the length of the field despite a couple of penalties. Running by the Perez twins and Eitzmann along with a pass from Eitzmann to Luke Bates for 25 yards with the ball at 7 yard line. Eitzmann completed a pass to Brayden Perez for the touchdown. The extra point attempt failed but the score was tied 14 all with 6:34 left in the first half.
The Mustangs again got the ball at their 15 yard line on the kick off. Again they primarily use their running game to marched down the field and score a touchdown on a 3 yard run with 2:43 left in the first quarter. The extra point was successful and it gave them the 22-14 lead. But the Jays would answer. First Eitzmann teamed up Brayden Perez on a 20 yard pass play. Then a couple runs by Eitzmann moved the ball to the 20 yard line. He then hit Logan Brummer with a pass for the touchdown with 58 seconds left in the half. The extra point was no good and the score stood 22-20 Mustangs which is how the half would end.
The second half started with the Mustangs on offense. On a third down their quarterback was tackled in the end zone by Timmy Greenwood first safety which knotted the score at 22 all. St. John's/Tipton was unable to move the ball and they were forced to punt. It took the Mustangs 10 plays before they were finally able to score on a 2 yard run. Their extra point attempt was successful and they lead 30-22 with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
On their next possession the Jays drove deep into Mustang territory before they turned the ball over on downs the Mustang started on offense from their 35 yard line this time it took them seven plays before they finally scored on a one-yard run with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter. Their extra point attempt was successful giving them a 38-22 lead
St. John's/Tipton wasn't ready to throw in the towel yet. This time it took them 10 plays before they finally scored on a one-yard run by Eitzmann. Their extra point attempt failed but the score now stood 38-28 was 6:34 left in the game. The Jays defense then rose to the occasion and stopped Mustangs offense forcing them to punt. The Jays got the ball back with 3:52 left in the game. Blake Perez returned the kick to the Sylvan/Lucas 25 yard line. The Jays were unable to move the ball and they called on their kicker Logan Brummer for a field-goal. His kick would've been good from 47 yards but all he needed was 37 yards and the Jays were back in the game 38-31 with 3:52 left in the game.
The Mustangs then relied on their running attack as they ran out the clock claiming the victory. Fans had to wonder what would happen if the Jays could've gotten the ball one more time.
"We played a good hardnosed team tonight from Sylvan/Lucas and they got the better of us," said Coach Dean Gengler. "We didn't protect the ball well, as we put it on the ground too many times along with penalties in key situations that really hurt us. We can't do that against good teams and expect to win. Will come back next week looking to improve on those things against Osborne."
Jared Eitzmann led the Jays offense passing for 178 yards on 6 completions in 11 attempts. He also rushed 16 times for 51 yards and 1 TD. Blake Perez had 6 carries for 64 yards and Brayden Perez carried 16 times for 38 yards. Brayden also had 3 receptions for 63 yards and 2 TD’s, Blake had 2 receptions for 56 yards, Luke Bates had 3 receptions for 43 yards and Logan Brummer had 1 for 19 yards and a TD.
Logan Brummer led the defense with 10 solo 6 assists, Timmy Greenwood had 7 solo 7 assists and a safety, Blake Perez had 8 solo 4 assists, Dalton Schmitt had 5 solo 4 assists, Brayden Perez had 5 solo 4 assists, Luke Bates had 5 solo 4 assists, Isaac Hicks had 4 solo, Nicholas Greenwood had 1 solo 2 assists, Jackson Hartman had 2 solo 1 assist, Cooper Jermark had 1 solo 1 assist, Ben Thompson had 1 solo 1 assist and Hayden Griffin had 1 assist.
St. John's/Tipton will next play Friday, Sept. 11 at Beloit when they host the Osborne Bulldogs.