Saturday, December 05, 2009

Norwalk St. Paul Flyers are State Football Champs!

Way to go, Flyers!
St. Paul rallied to defeat Delphos St. John’s 24-21 today to claim the school’s first state title in football.

Flyers senior quarterback Eric Schwieterman’s third touchdown run with five seconds remaining in the game capped a 98-yard drive in the Div. VI championship game at Paul E. Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.

Schwieterman finished with 30 carries for 147 yards.

Trailing 21-17, the Flyers’ goal-line defense was put to the test late in the fourth quarter.

St. John’s running back Jordan Leininger picked up about three yards on a fourth-and-1 run from St. Paul’s 7-yard line, retaining the ball for his team and keeping alive their hopes of scoring a touchdown that would have sealed the win.

Then, with 3:29 remaining, the Blue Jays faced a fourth-and-goal from the 3. This time, Leininger couldn’t covert, getting forced out of bounds at the 2. That gave the ball to the Flyers, who faced the daunting task of needing to go 98 yards for a game-winning score.

Throwing from his own end zone, Schwieterman connected with Justin Wilde on a 36-yard pass to give St. Paul some breathing room.

Then, on fourth-and-3 near midfield, Wilde’s 33-yard catch-and-run moved the Flyers closer to pay dirt.

Two quarterback sneaks from the 1-yard line failed to give St. Paul the necessary score. So, with seven seconds left, St. Paul head coach John Livengood called Schwieterman’s number one more time. And this time the play proved successful as the Flyers’ senior QB found the end zone.

MASILLON – The Division VI state championship game lasted a little over two hours Saturday, but it will be talked about for years. Needing to go 98 yards against the defending state champions with 3:22 left on the clock, Norwalk St. Paul found enough guts and lifted a huge weight off of head coach John Livengood’s shoulders.

Quarterback Eric Schwieterman propelled the Flyers to victory with his 1-yard TD run with five seconds left as St. Paul beat Delphos St. John’s 24-21 at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The Flyers were 0-3 in state title games before Saturday and were 0-2 against St. John’s. That stigma has been squashed.

“We talked to the kids and said you know the state championship’s on the line with five seconds left and it comes down to this one play,” Livengood said. “They were able to get it in.”

Schwieterman’s TD came on third down after two straight QB sneaks from the 1-yardline failed. This time Schwieterman went out one gap farther and found just enough room.

“We knew they were brining every one up the middle and there was a little bit of a crease to the outside so we figured there would be a better chance if we bounced it out,” Schwieterman said. “There was a little gap there that we were able to squeeze it into.”

When asked how close the final play was, Schwieterman said: “I had the ball across the line.”

Livengood is St. Paul football in the fact that he’s led the Flyers to all 13 of their playoff berths since taking over 20 years ago. In that time frame St. Paul has won six regional titles.

As big a part Livengood has played in making St. Paul the program it is, Schwieterman played just as large a part in Saturday’s victory.

The senior quarterback led an offense that churned out 430 yards with 147 yards rushing and three TDs on 30 carries. He also completed 8-of-13 passes for 187 yards.

Schwieterman continually made play after play against a St. John’s defense that was allowing 209 yards of offense entering the contest.

On the final drive alone the Flyer QB connected with Justin Wilde on gains of 36 and 38 yards, the latter coming on fourth-and-three from the St. Paul 48.

His legs and arm did damage.


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