Jackets’ Josh Takats picks up where T.J. Takats left off


PERRYSBURG — There is a new Takats calling signals for the Perrysburg football team.

Perrysburg 6-foot-2, 193-pound junior quarterback Josh Takats completed 12-of-14 passes for 155 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Yellow Jackets to a season opening 46-8 victory over Toledo St. Francis at Steinecker Stadium.

Josh replaces his now-graduated cousin, T.J. Takats, who started at QB for the Jackets the past two seasons. Josh even took over T.J.’s jersey number.

“T.J. is always a kid I looked up to growing up,” Josh Takats said. “We were next door neighbors. So, our dads both played quarterback — similar situations — two different schools.

“His dad went to St. Francis, my dad went to Rossford, so it’s kind of been like a family thing. It’s part of the reason I wear No. 5, just looking up to him always. Always, he’s kind of led the way.”

Perrysburg coach Dirk Conner said Takats earned the job and backed that up with his performance Friday.

“He got to where he is by working his butt off. He’s a grinder, Man,” Conner said. “Being the quarterback at Perrysburg means a lot to him and he’s absolutely earned that.

“Test No. 1, good, but it is going to get harder from here. I know he’ll prepare but we are going to have to prepare and make sure we are ready to take care of business in week two (at Marysville).”

In his first varsity start, Josh Takats threw three touchdown passes of 15, 26, and 29 yards to 6-3, 180-pound senior wide receiver Gavin Fenneken. Fenneken, who had to leap vertical for three catches, had five receptions for 95 yards. They were a big reason why Perrysburg built a 40-8 lead by halftime.

Takats also had a 19-yard TD pass to 6-4, 214-pound senior tight end Matt Hubbard, a three-sport athlete who committed this week to playing baseball at the University of Toledo.

Plus, Takats ran for 60 yards on seven carries, including a 12-yard TD run on Perrysburg’s first possession.

“It is a good opportunity to play,” Takats said. “It’s good we came out here and did our job, but it’s also nice we can focus on, obviously Marysville, and we’re just going to take it one game at a time and keep progressing every day, day in and day out kind of thing.

“It was a great way to start — great atmosphere, great weather. I couldn’t ask for a better night, but it’s short lived and now we are onto the next,” Takats continued.

In addition, Perrysburg junior Dylan Blubaugh had an 89-yard kickoff return for a TD, and he opened the game with a 76-yard kickoff return, setting up Takats’ first TD run after the Yellow Jackets’ offense took over at the Knights’ 21-yard line.

Perrysburg senior running back Nick Oros ran for 82 yards on 15 carries, scoring the Jackets’ final TD on a 5-yard run early in the third quarter.

Perrysburg appeared to have its act together on offense, whereas St. Francis was whistled for 46 yards on six penalties, the majority of which were delay of game penalties.

In addition, Perrysburg senior place kicker Taylor Thomas, a soccer player who successfully booted four conversion kicks, played a role in confusing the Knights, leading to a turnover.

After the Jackets opened a 14-0 lead, on the ensuing kickoff Thomas sent a floater into open space behind St. Francis’ front line. The Knights’ returner backed away from the ball and the Jackets were able to pounce, regaining possession, which led to another TD and a 20-0 lead before the first quarter expired.

It was the type of opening game mistakes you saw from St. Francis but did not see from Perrysburg. Conner said he expects that from his players.

“There better not be any confusion out there,” Conner said. “We have smart kids, and I am blessed to have a good coaching staff. We’re organized and know what we are doing so I expect it to be that way.”

Takats added, “We can’t obviously control what the other team does, but we can control and stay disciplined and focused on ourselves.

“Everybody is just very detailed oriented on this team. Everybody is focused on the little things they must do.”

Defensively, Perrysburg held St. Francis to 19 net yards rushing on 15 carries, led by senior running back Traven Horton, who had 24 yards on six carries.

However, St. Francis sophomore quarterback Corey Swartz completed 10-of-17 passes for 183 yards, including an 83-yard TD pass to junior wide receiver Raheem Brown, who caught the ball in the flats and then showed off his speed, beating Perrysburg’s defenders to the goal line.

Brown had three catches for 92 yards, junior Austin Urban had two catches for 46 yards, junior Beau Thomas had three catches for 24 yards, junior Traven Horton had a 15-yard reception, and junior Andrew Tucker had a catch covering six yards.

Overall, Conner was pleased with his team’s defense, including an interception by Blubaugh that he returned 25 yards after the Knights had advanced 48 yards to the Perrysburg 22 late in the third quarter.

“I’m excited about our defense, and especially matching up against a spread team like that,” Conner said.

“You know, we knew the personnel they had, especially the front seven right there, and I thought they did a really good job tonight.”

Still, Conner says his team’s performance was far from perfect, but he’ll take a start like this any time.

“Again, there are a lot of guys who are inexperienced, and I think we didn’t play really clean for week one, but those guys have been an absolute joy to coach,” Conner said.

“They pay attention, they want to learn, they dedicate themselves to getting better every day. I’m excited to keep it going and get in the program tomorrow morning and figure out how we can get better.”

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