Two teams looking to remedy the woes of last season will meet Friday when the Dublin Scioto High School football team plays host to Hilliard Bradley.

Two teams looking to remedy the woes of last season will meet Friday when the Dublin Scioto High School football team plays host to Hilliard Bradley.

The Bradley program is only in its second season, but may have more experience than Scioto.

"We have a lot of kids back and just about every one started at one time or another," said Bradley coach Ted Wierzbicki, whose team finished 2-8 in its inaugural season a year ago, beating Columbus West 19-18 in the opener and Teays Valley 28-22 in the second week before losing its final eight games. "This year, we came out of our scrimmages pretty healthy and we definitely improved from the first scrimmage to the second. We just need to continue that trend and keep getting better."

Scioto finished 5-5 last year after losing its first three games to Pickerington Central (12-7), Toledo Central Catholic (30-16) and Worthington Kilbourne (9-7). Irish coach Karl Johnson said winning early is always optimal.

"This is a first-year thing for us (against Bradley) and they are a second-year school, but it doesnt matter who you play. It is how you play the first game that is important," Johnson said. "You only have 10 games, so every game is important. If you start out 1-0, its a big difference in getting your season started. You only have three non-league games, so those games become even more important."

The Jaguars return their leading rusher in senior Jeffie Johnson (6-foot, 190 pounds), who rushed for 357 yards and three touchdowns on 70 carries but missed much of the second half of the season because of injuries.

Senior Jordan Mulford (5-9, 170) ran for 245 yards on 29 carries and was the teams leading receiver with 27 catches for 321 yards. Also back are wide receivers Marquis Copeland (6-4, 185), who caught 18 passes for 217 yards, and Zach Benedetti (5-11, 160), who had nine catches for 66 yards.

Wierzbicki said he and his staff will make a game-time decision as to who will start at quarterback _ senior Corey Straight (6-3, 185) or junior Connor Driscoll (6-1, 165). Straight was a tight end last season and played the final four junior varsity games at quarterback. Driscoll was 61-for-120 passing for 572 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions and shared duties with Derek Tieman, who did not return for his senior season.

"Were just trying to work hard on fundamentals and get fundamentally sound. You have to be fundamentally sound to beat a team like Scioto," Wierzbicki said. "They like to hit and they have some size and speed. I told our kids that Scioto is 20 times better than anyone we have played in our scrimmages and thats not knocking the teams we scrimmaged. (Hilliard) Davidson only scored twice on them (in a scrimmage on Aug. 14) and I expect Davidson to be right back there in Canton going for a second consecutive (Division I state) title."

The Irish return starters on offense and three on defense. The offensive returnees are junior linemen Wes King (6-5, 209) and Grant Noppenberger (6-2, 225), senior fullback Gabe Shirkey (5-11, 185) and senior wide receiver Chris Vogel (5-11, 160). Returning on defense are senior end Jamare Mills (6-5, 250), senior back Tervon Moore (6-0, 165) and lineman Noppenberger.

The quarterback looks to be senior Andrew Weissling (6-6, 210), with the featured running back being sophomore William Houston (6-0, 200), who is the son of a former Ohio State fullback who bears the same name.

"I think the first few games are so much more about your team than your opponent," coach Johnson said. "We know what we want to do, but it can show you how far along you are in every sense of the game. Thats why special teams are so important early. You start off well on special teams and the offense and defense follow."