The Dublin Jerome and Hilliard Darby high school football teams feature mobile quarterbacks who are just as capable of running for first downs as they are throwing for big gains.

The Dublin Jerome and Hilliard Darby high school football teams feature mobile quarterbacks who are just as capable of running for first downs as they are throwing for big gains.

Containing them is a major concern for both defenses heading into Friday's game between at Jerome.

Jerome senior Kevin Jackson is a fourth-year starter. Last season, Jackson led the team in rushing with 850 yards and eight touchdowns on 118 carries and completed 55 of 142 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns.

"Their quarterback is very quick and he can really chew up the field when he gets loose," Darby coach John Santagata said. "We have to keep him contained."

In just his second start running the spread option offense, Darby senior Brandon Barger accounted for 352 yards of total offense and three touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a 53-14 victory over Marietta in their opener last Friday. He rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and completed nine of 13 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown.

"Darby's quarterback is a feature guy, and to be as much of a game-breaker as he was in that first game was impressive," Jerome coach Mark Hundley said.

"They use more of a pistol concept with triple-option reads, so our guys have to be disciplined. The guys who are assigned to stop the quarterback and the dive have to stay on their man or they'll gash us for big plays. I was very pleased with our discipline against Reynoldsburg."

Last Friday in Jerome's opening 28-0 win over Reynoldsburg, the Celtics' 4-4 defense held the Raiders' option offense to 156 yards.

Junior linemen Chris Bahr and Cody Townsend dominated the center of the line of scrimmage, and junior linebacker Steve Mehrer and senior linebacker Conner Rosenbaum helped shut down the outside running lanes. Sophomore strong safety Connor O'Brien recovered a fumble and returned it 33 yards for a score.

Even though the Panthers rushed for 324 yards and had 524 total yards of offense last Friday, Santagata said they will need to be prepared to take on a stronger and faster defense this week.

Other big-play threats for Darby are sophomore running back Matt Cyrus, who had 98 yards and a touchdown on nine carries last Friday, junior wide receiver Jordan Rispress, who had two receptions for 90 yards and a score, and junior slotback Richard Hammons, who had a 21-yard touchdown catch.

"Jerome's defense is very quick to the point of attack and their safeties do a nice job of helping to stop the run," Santagata said. "We want to continue to have a balanced offense, but the most important thing we need to do is to establish our running game. Our offensive line did a nice job of coming off the ball against Marietta and we'll need another performance like that."

The Celtics' offense is versatile, rotating between spread and double-wing formations.

Last Friday, Jerome rushed for 178 yards but struggled to protect Jackson as he completed one of four passes for 18 yards.

Senior Cody Burris led Jerome with 77 yards rushing and 18 yards receiving. Mehrer scored on runs of 34 and seven yards and Bahr scored on a 2-yard run.

Hundley said the Celtics will need to throw the ball with more success to loosen up Darby's 4-3 shade defense.

"I was pleased with our short-yardage offense against Reynoldsburg, but our throwing was a disappointment," Hundley said. "We didn't pick up their blitzes and we're going to have to do a much better job this week. Darby's such an attacking team. They keep the pressure coming, and I'm impressed with the way their linebackers (seniors Blake Fraley and Zach Ison) run to the football. We need to pick up our protections to be successful throwing the ball."

Santagata said the Panthers will need to recognize which formation the Celtics are lining up in and react quickly.

Darby held Marietta to 134 yards and dismantled the Tigers' running game as senior strong safety Nick Martin, senior free safety Harrison Reed provided strong support from the back.

"They're running two offenses almost simultaneously, so it's important that we recognize how they're lining up and make sure we account for everybody," Santagata said.

"They spread you out on one play and compress you down on the next. Either way, we need to hold our own on the line of scrimmage. The first thing we've got to take away is their running game."