Junior quarterback Ben Beckett and junior wide receiver Chase Granlund hooked up to give the Dublin Coffman High School football team the spark it needed.
After Marysville scored on the opening drive of their OCC-Central Division game Sept. 27, the host Shamrocks answered on their first possession, as Beckett connected with Granlund on a 19-yard touchdown pass to cap a 77-yard drive and tie the score at 7 with 4 minutes, 36 seconds left in the first quarter.
Coffman went on to win 31-28 over previously unbeaten Marysville to improve to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central. The Monarchs dropped to 4-1 and 1-1.
"It was just a normal play, but Ben had a great throw and put it in there perfectly," said Granlund, who had two catches for 24 yards against the Monarchs. "We tend to start slow, so that really sparked our team. To come out scoring in the beginning really boosted our confidence."
The win ended a three-game losing streak, which included back-to-back road losses to unbeaten state-ranked teams. The Shamrocks lost to Canton McKinley 26-17 on Sept. 13 and Hilliard Davidson 28-7 on Sept. 20 in their OCC-Central opener.
McKinley and Davidson were ranked fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Division I state poll last week. The Bulldogs and Wildcats both are 5-0.
"Those two games definitely got us ready for (the game against Marysville)," said coach Mark Crabtree, whose team travels to Thomas Worthington on Friday, Oct. 4, for a league game. "It was nice to be able to come through and beat a good team like that."
Senior Dalton Maynard made his mark against Marysville on both sides of the ball. He caught a 25-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Gunnar Hoak to give Coffman a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. In addition, from his linebacker position, he returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Shamrocks a 31-21 lead with 1 minute, 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"(The Monarchs) had been throwing that curl route all game and I was keying on their No. 1 receiver (Jimmy Applegate)," Maynard said. "Their quarterback (Matt Mulholland) seemed to underthrow him a bit and I got the ball in my arms and started running as fast as I could."
Granlund said the games against McKinley and Davidson have helped the Shamrocks.
"We have a young team and those games helped us mature and come together," he said.
Against Marysville, Beckett completed 12 of 21 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns and Hoak was 3-for-6 passing for 80 yards. Maynard had four receptions for 46 yards, junior wide receiver C.J. Saunders had four catches for 65 yards and junior wide receiver Kyle Marcinick caught three passes for 61 yards. Junior running back Dre Kendrick rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries.
The remainder of the Shamrocks' schedule includes only two opponents that currently have a winning record. Thomas and Olentangy Liberty (Oct. 25) are 3-2, Upper Arlington (Nov. 1) is 2-3 and Central Crossing (Oct. 11) and Westland (Oct. 18) are 1-4.
"Both (the McKinley and Davidson) games were against very good teams, but we went into both games feeling confident and we continued working hard throughout the week in practice," Maynard said. "We kept that going during practice for Marysville. We didn't get dismayed when they started to come back. Hopefully, this will boost us for the rest of the season."