Monday, December 07, 2009

Storybook Ending

From The Morning Journal:
MASSILLON — Wow. It is hard to come up for a better word describing a game will be told in hallowed terms for the rest of time in the city of Norwalk and wherever St. Paul graduates scatter across the world. With a magical ending envied by Hollywood, St. Paul won the OHSAA Division VI State Championship over defending state champion Delphos St. John's 24-21 at historic Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

With only enough time on the clock for one more play, St. Paul had the ball on the one-yard line. On the previous two plays, the Blue Jay defense had stopped quarterback Eric Schwieterman inches short of the goal line. St. Paul coach John Livengood used his last timeout and changed the play slightly.

"We took it out one gap wider," Livengood said. "We thought we would have a better chance of a double team. We talked to the kids and said it was the state championship with five seconds or whatever it was remaining, it comes down to this one play."

Schwieterman made it through the gap and the Flyers finally had their state title in their fourth state title game and seven state final four appearances.

"It was a great high school football with two great programs representing their schools," Livengood said. "It couldn’t be much better coming down the wire like that."

But the Hollywood ending began much earlier. The Flyers trailed 21-10 to start the fourth quarter and trailed 21-17 with 10:11 remaining. St. John’s then went to work on the clock. 10 plays and nearly seven minutes later, the Blue Jays had the ball on the one-yard line. A false start pushed St. John’s back to the six. The Flyer defense held on second and third down forcing the Blue Jays to a fourth and four. St. John’s head coach Todd Schulte elected to go for the sure win rather than kick a field goal to go up seven points. He said there was no thought to kick the field goal.


Senior Justin Wilde forced Jordan Leininger wide and out of bounds. St. Paul took over on the two-yard line with 3:22 remaining.


The meaning of the phrase "The Drive" is now forever changed in Huron County. The two-word phrase will bring smiles instead of tears. Schwieterman kept his composure and his teammates followed. Facing a 2nd down at the four-yard line, he found Wilde for a 36-yard gain. Three plays later it was 4th-and-3 with 1:25 remaining. Again Schwieterman turned to Wilde this time for 38 yards. Two plays later on third and five, Schwieterman called his own number and was tackled just outside the goal line setting up the winning play.

"We all knew what we had to do," Schwieterman said. "We just took the momentum we had and just tried to take plays that worked and work our way down the field. Luckily we got it all the way down."

"It was an impressive drive," Schulte said. "They stayed pretty calm and poised out there. They weren’t in a huge hurry. It worked."

Livengood credited his senior class for the victory.

"I am very proud of these kids," he said. "It really hasn’t sunk in as a state championship. It is our ultimate goal. We talked since the beginning of two a days about being a team and being a leader and everyone taking their turn being the leader. Not just one individual guy. You never know when that play is going to happen but you have to step up and make the play. You saw it tonight, every kid played a part in it. Every kid stepped up. I would like to think that is what our program is about. I am so proud of these kids because they are so determined. When it came down to being 97 yards away and I just felt with the determination of our kids we had a shot. It is their personality. It is the personality of our senior class. I couldn’t be prouder."

Schwieterman completed eight passes for 187 yards and ran it 30 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

"Eric had a great game," Livengood said. "Not just throwing the ball but running the ball. One of the things we felt going into the game was we needed to have Eric running the ball for us and trying to have Delphos spread out a little. Eric has good size and speed. We felt we needed to use Eric in both the running and passing game."

Schwieterman made great reads running with the ball all game.


The St. Paul defense was outstanding. The Blue Jays had only 17 plays in the first half and only 10 first downs for the game. The Blue Jays came into the game averaging 292 rushing yards a game. St. Paul held them to just 153 on 33 rushes.


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