Playoff loss still stings Coffman
Don't get Mark Crabtree wrong.
The Dublin Coffman High School football coach believes his team had a good season ... a really good season, for that matter.
But a 17-14 loss to Hilliard Davidson in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs on Nov. 3 left the Shamrocks wanting more.
"We did a lot of great things and we had a lot of positives, but I would be lying if I didn't say we were disappointed," said Crabtree, whose team finished 9-2 overall and earned a share of the OCC-Central Division championship. "We're disappointed with the way the season ended (with back-to-back losses). We won the (OCC-Central), but didn't want to share it."
Coffman went 6-1 in the OCC-Central to tie Davidson for first. Olentangy Liberty and Upper Arlington tied for third at 5-2, followed by Marysville (3-4), Thomas Worthington (2-5), Central Crossing (1-6) and Westland (0-7).
The Shamrocks defeated Davidson 33-10 in their league contest Sept. 14, but committed six turnovers in a 23-14 loss to UA in their regular-season finale Oct. 26. They had four turnovers in the playoff loss to Davidson.
"We didn't play well in the last two games, but that's part of sports and football, in particular," Crabtree said. "I'm proud of the team and proud of the seniors. We had a lot of great kids and a lot of good players."
Coffman loses 33 seniors, including most of its starters.
Senior quarterback James Walsh, a two-year starter, was 128-for-213 passing for 2,038 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions and rushed for 558 yards and eight touchdowns on 109 carries.
The Ohio University recruit was named special mention all-district and first-team all-league.
Senior running back Bilal Williamson rushed for 1,402 yards and 24 touchdowns on 192 carries and had 13 receptions for 244 yards and two scores. He was second-team all-district and first-team all-league.
Senior Daniel Chang ran for 404 yards and seven touchdowns on 56 carries.
Senior wide receivers Austen Rankin, who caught 38 passes for 606 yards and six touchdowns, and Zac Fouche, who had 35 receptions for 640 yards and five scores, were second-team all-league. Senior wide receiver Tony Woodford added 22 receptions for 266 yards and a touchdown.
Senior place-kicker and punter Grant Coffman made all 11 of his field-goal attempts with a long of 42 yards and converted 41 of 48 extra-point attempts and was named first-team all-district and all-league. He averaged 33.9 yards per punt.
Senior defensive lineman Miles McCollum had 34 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks and one fumble recovery. He was first-team all-district and shared OCC-Central Player of the Year honors with Davidson running back E.J. Jennings.
"This year we had an amazing senior class," junior linebacker Erik Stein said. "I love each and every one of them and learned a lot from them. They taught us what we need to do to lead as seniors next year."
The offensive line included seniors Phil Miele (special mention all-district and first-team all-league), OU recruit Zack Murdock (first-team all-district and honorable mention all-league), Michael Robinson (honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league) and Tanner Zinni (honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league).
Senior linebacker Ian Flinders had 87 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two sacks and was first-team all-league. Senior defensive lineman Spencer Rhoades had 38 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss and was second-team all-league, and senior linebacker Mark Guzik (36 tackles, 7 tackles for loss) and senior defensive lineman Vinny Jones (41 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) were special mention all-league.
"(The seniors) came to work every day and they really showed their leadership with us," junior tight end Dalton Maynard said. "We had a lot of vocal leaders and they were a great set of guys to have as teammates."
Maynard and Stein lead the group of expected returnees. Maynard caught nine passes for 156 yards and rushed 15 times for 52 yards, and Stein had 46 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks.
Others expected to play key roles next season include juniors Kwabena Amponsah (DL), Terry Glenn Jr. (WR; 4 catches, 68 yards, 1 touchdown), Jackson Hayes (LB; 2 interceptions), Juan Jennings (DB; 3 interceptions), Sam McCollum (DL), Jarrod Nunn (OL) and Aaron Pape (RB; 24 carries, 156 yards, 1 touchdown) and sophomore Dre Kendrick (RB; 25 carries, 104 yards, 1 touchdown).
Glenn is the son of the former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver.
One of the voids in the lineup Crabtree must fill is at quarterback. The leading candidates to replace Walsh are junior Doug Islay and sophomore Ben Beckett. Both saw limited action this fall, with Islay completing three of five passes for 28 yards and Beckett completing one of four passes for 5 yards with two interceptions.
"(The returnees next season) saw enough of our success and invested enough to feel good about the direction in which we are going," said Crabtree, who completed his 12th season leading the program and shared OCC-Central Coach of the Year honors with Davidson's Brian White this season. "They can work in the offseason to make adjustments and build on the success we had this year."