Holding tight to a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter, senior left guard Jack Mewhort and his teammates took up shop on their own 17-yard line. The Titans had held the lead for nearly the entire game, but now a late score had energized the home crowd for City League foe Whitmer. A long drive was just what the visitors needed to keep the team's playoff hopes alive.
A long drive instead turned into a long run that helped take the crowd out of the game, swing momentum back to the visitors and give St. John's Jesuit the victory. At the 6:54 mark of the fourth quarter, the Titans handed the ball off to Hunter Lent who found a seam, followed a sealing block delivered to a linebacker by Mewhort and outraced everyone to the end zone for an 83-yard backbreaker.
"It was really exciting," Mewhort told BSB after the game. "Our running back is one of the best athletes I've ever met in my life. He's just a tough kid. I was really proud of him. That sealed it for us.
"I think it was about getting comfortable up front. We've got a great offensive line, but sometimes it will take us a little while to get going on the ground."
Lent would then seal the deal with a 46-yard touchdown run on his team's next drive, helping to propel the Titans to a 28-17 victory Oct. 3 that kept their playoff hopes alive despite having lost three of their first four games this season.
"We lost three of our first four games," he said. "This is a big city rival, so to come out and beat these guys is awesome. It keeps our playoff hopes alive a little bit. It's a great morale boost."
A physically intimidating presence, Mewhort is listed at 6-5½, 293 pounds. A four-star prospect as ranked by Scout, Mewhort is pegged as the No. 12 offensive tackle in the country. A verbal member of OSU's class of 2009, Mewhort figures to play either guard or center when he arrives in Columbus next summer.
Although his size can be an asset at his position, it can also be a liability. Mewhort has to work at playing low so smaller players can not gain a leverage advantage against him. That task becomes more difficult for a guy like Mewhort, who suffered a knee injury during the first game of the season and might have arthroscopic surgery when the season is completed.
"I really focused on playing low," he said. "With my knee I've had trouble with leverage at times. My knee was still sore tonight, but it was something I wanted to focus on and I think I did well."
The injury had nothing to do with the fact that the Titans primarily ran the ball away from Mewhort to the opposite side of the field. Rather, the Panthers defense had something to do with the situation.
"(Coach) told us at halftime that we had to quit running to my side because they were stacking two backers on the outside and one over me," Mewhort said. "We started running it to the opposite side."
He is also being coached by offensive line coach Greg Peters, who played four years at the University of Toledo.
"It's really cool to have a guy like that," Mewhort said. "He understands what's up. He played at the college level so he knows the challenges I'm going through with recruiting and stuff. He's real supportive and he's a great coach."
Mewhort's game against Whitmer was played less than a mile from the Ohio-Michigan border. Most of his friends are Wolverine fans, he said, forcing him to either watch Buckeye games alone or with the company of his father.
Not deterred by OSU's lopsided loss to USC – "You can't live in the past," he said – Mewhort is focusing solely on his senior season and his team's attempts to finish strong.
That also includes checking Saturday-morning editions of The (Toledo) Blade to see how the competition fared the previous night.
"Now that we've lost three, we pay attention a lot to other teams," he said. "(Situations) where we can get secondary points, we've got to pay attention to that because that's our hope of making it into the playoffs right now."