It's no secret that Hilliard Darby will run the ball early and often when the Panthers play host to Dublin Jerome on Friday, Sept. 2.

It's no secret that Hilliard Darby will run the ball early and often when the Panthers play host to Dublin Jerome on Friday, Sept. 2.

But Darby coach John Santagata said his spread offense will try to keep the Celtics' 4-4 defense guessing by running toward it on some plays and running away from it on others.

The Panthers had great success with that formula during their 41-12 opening win at Whetstone on Aug. 26, amassing 332 yards rushing on 40 carries.

Seven players contributed to that total, including Caleb Day (94 yards and three touchdowns on five carries), Cameron Kohl (77 yards on seven carries), Hayden Van Kirk (56 yards and one touchdown on six carries), Chase Longwell (48 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries) and Dante Talley (44 yards and one touchdown on six carries).

Jerome's defense is looking to bounce back after struggling in a 31-14 loss to Reynoldsburg on Aug. 26.

The Celtics' offense hit three big plays against Reynoldsburg's defense, including a 76-yard touchdown run by Donovan Wilson and a 75-yard touchdown pass from Iowa recruit Cameron Wilson to quarterback Joe Bano.

But Jerome is seeking more consistent play from its running and passing games against Darby's 50 shade defense.

Against Whetstone, linebacker Jevaughan White had 10 tackles and Kohl had nine to lead the Panthers' defense.

"Jerome's offense lines up in a lot of different formations. They're balanced and they distribute the ball in a variety of ways," Santagata said. "They have a good passing game, but our first goal is to stop the run."