Calvert ready for Blue Jays

Calvert coach Todd Fox knows all about Delphos St. John’s and the accolades and titles it has won in recent years.

The Blue Jays have six state titles, the most recent one coming in 2010.

And while that history is to be respected, Fox said he’s focused on making sure the Senecas know they are playing this year’s Blue Jays, not the Blue Jays’ history.

“It’s Game 12, so any time in the second round, it’s gonna be a tough football game,” Fox said. “They’re a very good football team, I take nothing from that, and yes, they’ve got life experience there with the program, but I think we’ve installed to our guys all week that it’s Game 12 for them, just like it’s Game 12 for us.

“Our past history, from the last couple of years, we’ve been in the playoffs, they’ve been in the playoffs. It doesn’t play into this game,” Fox said. “It’s who plays Saturday night.”

And tonight, in Findlay, two teams which each went 6-4 in the regular season will match up with a berth in the Division VII Region 24 finals on the line.

The two teams have more in common than just their records.

Like Calvert, Delphos St. John’s is a run-first, second- and probably third- team. The Blue Jays racked up more than 400 rushing yards last week in a 33-18 opening round win over Leipsic. Luke MacLennan went for 174 yards and a touchdown.

Fox said he just wants his defense to stay with its game plan.

“I have a feeling this is going to be a slugfest back and forth,” Fox said. “We both like to run the ball, and so for us, defensively, we have to stop the run. We’ve felt that we’ve been successful in the regular season doing that, the last five, six games, but at the same time this is Week 12, so we just have to step up our games.”

Senior Calvert lineman Marcus Somers, who has started every game in his high school career, said he knows the Senecas will be prepared.

“I think on defense, our defensive coach, Pat Herron, has done a really good job,” Somers said. “We’ve been stopping the run all year long, so I think we’ll continue to do that this game.”

On offense, Calvert’s star is recent weeks has been quarterback Tyler Long, who ran for more than 200 yards last week in the first-round win over Edon. It was the third straight week he reached 200 yards on the ground.

Fox said the running game could include more than just Long tonight.

“We feel confident that Austin Ball and Adam Recker this week can step it up and take some of the load off his back,” Fox said. “But [Long] enjoys that. He rises to that challenge so those other guys stepping up is just gonna be another bonus for us.”

Someone who certainly has stepped up for Calvert during his entire career is Somers, who said prepping for a big game never gets old.

“I still get the same feeling I get from the first game I started,” Somers said.

Fox said it’s been a good run for the seniors on the roster.

“These six seniors we have are excellent altogether,” Fox said. “Just that game experience. But again, these guys have shown their leadership throughout the year. They’re a quiet group, but they lead by example, and some of these guys have picked up and started leading by voice, and pulling guys along instead of hoping (they) follow.

“These guys, guys like Marcus [Somers], Austin [Ball], Austin [Perry], Dan [Reineke], Mitch [Depinet] and Aaron [Englehart], they’re just phenomenal players, phenomenal kids that make coaching fun.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.