Scioto's DeMars shining in new scheme
When the Dublin Scioto High School football team gets its no-huddle, hurry-up offense rolling, defenses scramble to catch up.
So far, it has met the expectations of coach Karl Johnson, who knew he had the personnel in third-year starting quarterback Evan DeMars and a cast of receivers to implement the offensive scheme. Through four games, the Irish are averaging 36.8 points.
Johnson and his staff made sure the timing was right before employing the current scheme.
"Most of last season we were in the no-huddle, but we weren't trying to run it as fast," said Johnson, whose team is 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division entering its home game against Westerville North on Friday, Sept. 21. "Last year, we were trying to read the defense a little more. This year, we want to get off as many plays as we can. The kids like it and it fits our personnel."
Scioto is averaging 69.3 plays per game and 410.5 total yards. Last season, the Irish averaged 64 plays and 316.1 yards and finished 2-8.
The no-huddle, hurry-up offense comes with some straightforward reasoning.
"We're keeping the defense on their heels at all times," said DeMars, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior who has completed 98 of 140 passes this season for 1,182 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. "Last year, they'd give us a play and let the defense line up and then we'd look back to the sideline. This year, we're going with one play."
The scenarios that the offense expects to face in games are all mimicked in practice as the Irish advance through their playbook in the same fast-paced manner.
"If you're not in shape, there's no way you can run that no-huddle and do it 100 percent of the time," senior wide receiver Tim Shadoan said. "We want to be in better shape in the fourth quarter than the team we're facing. What we do in practice gets us prepared for that."
Shadoan has been DeMars' primary target, having 32 receptions for 371 yards and three touchdowns.
Five other players also have more than 100 yards receiving in wide receiver Mason Matheny (21 catches, 238 yards, one touchdown), running back Darius McDonald (17 catches, 162 yards, one touchdown), running back Cody Steffy (9 catches, 134 yards, 3 touchdowns), tight end Travis Yates (5 catches, 132 yards, one touchdown) and running back Will Houston (9 catches, 114 yards).
"Evan has a lot of talented kids around him, and when you're a three-year starter, you've got that going for you," Johnson said. "His sophomore year, we really controlled what he was able to do. Last year, we started out slow, but opened it up for him with the guys he has around him."
DeMars had a career-best performance in a 51-27 win over Marysville on Sept. 7, completing 26 of 34 passes for 409 yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging 24.5 completions and 295.5 yards passing per game, and his receivers are averaging 12.1 yards per catch.
As a junior, DeMars completed 155 of 276 passes for 1,895 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
"He puts the ball on the money," Shadoan said. "But the biggest thing has been our downfield blocking. You make a move and I know I can count on my teammates to be there."
Up front, Johnson has been rotating a number of linemen, including seniors Jake Harter (6-0, 250), Eddy Huff (5-6, 200), David McCruter (5-9, 210) and Ryan Zabell (6-1, 215) and sophomore Brennen Sawicki (6-2, 250).
Defenses also must respect the Irish's running game, as Houston (6-1, 250) has rushed for 391 yards and four touchdowns on 84 carries.
"You've got a 250-pound kid who can run downhill," Johnson said. "You've got to keep guys in the box, and I think that helps Evan on the outside."