Only three times since 2000 has the Dublin Scioto High School football team lost an opener. But more recently, the Irish have struggled in August and September, losing three games during that timeframe last year and four in 2009.
Hilliard Bradley, which plays host to Scioto on Friday, Aug. 26, enters its third year as a program in search of its first winning season after finishing 3-7 in 2010 and 2-8 in 2009.
The Jaguars, under first-year coach Mike LoParo, had plenty to digest in the offseason with new offensive and defensive schemes.
Veteran Scioto coach Karl Johnson, whose team won last year's meeting 17-7, has seven starters back on offense, including junior quarterback Evan DeMars (6-foot-1, 175 pounds), who threw for 1,097 yards and eight touchdowns with six interceptions last fall.
Junior fullback William Houston (6-0, 230) is a physical runner who gained 908 yards last season.
LoParo expects Bradley to be a "ground-and-pound" team with senior Blake Scipio returning at running back. He had 757 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Scioto has seven-time City League South-Division champion Marion-Franklin (Sept. 2) and Hard Road rival Worthington Kilbourne (Sept. 9) to worry about before it begins play in what has been a competitive OCC-Cardinal Division.
Bradley plays Teays Valley (Sept. 2) and Westland (Sept. 9) before beginning OCC-Capital play against defending league champion New Albany on Sept. 16.