Crabtree earns 100th win at Coffman
Erik Schnese scooped up the ball and didn't look back.
The senior defensive back for the Dublin Coffman High School football team recovered an errant snap against Dublin Scioto on Aug. 31 and raced 43 yards to the end zone to set the Shamrocks in motion for a 34-14 win over the host Irish.
That play was memorable for Schnese, but his biggest pleasure was being able to play a major role in a milestone for his coach, Mark Crabtree.
The victory was the 100th at Coffman for Crabtree, who is in his 12th season leading the Shamrocks.
"It was an amazing feeling," Schnese said. "You couldn't ask for a better coach to play for. He's been great to us, and we wanted to get this for him."
Crabtree, who also has coached at Fisher Catholic and St. Charles, is 100-32 at Coffman and 149-51 overall.
"It's a great honor, but it's more about the players who have come through here and the coaches around me," he said. "Many of these coaches have been will me all -- or close to all -- of my years here."
Bob Hicks (wide receivers), Ed Sims (running backs) and Tom Turner (offensive line) have been with Crabtree for his entire tenure at Coffman. Curtis Crager (linebackers), Dan Finan (defensive backs) and Tyler Sloas (defensive ends) have been with the Shamrocks for 11 years.
Quarterback James Walsh had a hand in three touchdowns against Scioto. The senior was 10 of 20 passing for 120 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 15 times for 105 yards and one touchdown.
"It's pretty special to be a part of that for coach Crabtree," said Walsh, who has verbally committed to Ohio University. "We were just so happy to come out and get that 100th win for him. It's special as a senior to be able to do that because he's such a great coach. He really deserves it."
Also heading to Ohio with Walsh is offensive lineman Zack Murdock, a 6-foot-5, 285-pounder who was a move-in from Westerville South.
"It really meant a lot to see the smile on (Crabtree's) face after the game," Murdock said. "I just moved here, but I really feel a part of the team and it's great to be a part of something like this. He's such a great coach."
But the milestone win didn't come easy.
On its opening possession, Scioto drove to the Coffman 34-yard line, but a shotgun snap flew well over the head of quarterback Evan DeMars. Running back William Houston pounced on the ball at the Irish 45 but it rolled away to the 43 and to Schnese, whose touchdown return gave the Shamrocks a 7-0 lead with 8 minutes, 8 seconds left in the first quarter.
Later in the first, Scioto's Troy Zimmerman had his punt blocked by several Coffman defenders. Walsh scored on a 7-yard run with 1:58 left in the quarter for a 13-0 lead.
Coffman had 42 total yards in the first half on only 12 plays, but led 13-7. The Irish ran 47 plays.
"That game honestly proved that this team has a lot of fight," Murdock said. "We went into the locker room (at halftime) knowing we had to perform better. We came out and proved we could overcome obstacles against a tough Scioto team."
The Shamrocks, who improved to 2-0 overall and 4-3 in their series against Scioto, scored three touchdowns in the second half. Running back Bilal Williamson scored on a 4-yard run and caught a screen pass from Walsh for a 40-yard touchdown. Zac Fouche caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Walsh.
Williamson rushed for 43 yards on 14 carries.
DeMars was 23-for-44 passing for 295 yards with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Tim Shadoan and three interceptions for Scioto, which dropped to 1-1. Houston rushed 22 times for 58 yards, Shadoan caught seven passes for 78 yards and Mason Matheny had eight catches for 79 yards.
"I thought it was a great game against a pretty strong Scioto team," Walsh said. "It was the first time the offense, and the whole team, played four quarters. In the scrimmages, we were never in during the fourth quarter. (Against Scioto) we were able to come out and take control in the third (quarter), which was big for us."
Coffman plays its home opener Friday, Sept. 7, against Massillon Perry. The Panthers are 2-0 after defeating perennial state power Canton Central Catholic 31-6 on Aug. 31.
"The win (over Scioto) was great, but we still have a lot of unfinished business," Schnese said. "We have to continue to focus on the games ahead."