The usually low-key Mark Hundley was passionate during a postgame huddle with his Dublin Jerome High School football team following its 42-20 loss at Dublin Scioto on Oct. 10.
"It's frustrating because they're better than a 42-20 loss. They're better than that," he said. "It's frustrating, especially after what we did in the early part of the season."
Before the OCC-Cardinal Division game, the Jerome coach thought his team needed to win its final four games if it had hopes of qualifying for the Division II, Region 5 playoffs.
Following the loss, Hundley said his team must win out and receive help from other teams if it hopes to earn a postseason berth.
The Celtics, who fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal, entered the game 10th in the region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
"I was kind of shocked that Olentangy was 6-0 and eighth in the region (before losing to New Albany 38-21 on Oct. 11) and we were 3-3 and 10th in the region," Hundley said. "We're going to keep fighting and scrapping. We'll put the best players we can out there and see what happens. That's what we're supposed to do."
Scioto improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the OCC- Cardinal.
The Celtics will look to keep their postseason hopes alive when they play host to winless Canal Winchester on Friday, Oct. 18.
The Indians fell to 0-7 overall and 0-4 in the league with a 49-7 loss to Hilliard Bradley on Oct. 11.
Last season, Canal Winchester finished 9-3 overall after losing to Marion-Franklin 44-14 in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal.
After competing in the MSL-Buckeye, the Indians are in their first season in the OCC-Cardinal.
"We saw them on film against Delaware (23-7 loss Sept. 6)," Hundley said. "They actually have some good size and they have some athletes. I don't think they're going to be a pushover, although they might be somewhat beat up after playing the OCC schedule. That may be to our advantage, but I still think they're a good football team."
Against Scioto, Jerome trailed 21-6 at halftime but closed to within 21-13 on running back Alex Booth's 3-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Defensive lineman Keven Sanabria's 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown pushed Scioto's lead to 28-13 early in the fourth.
The Irish scored two other touchdowns off Jerome turnovers and had a 306-138 advantage in total yards.
"We just have to play with more confidence and we should be fine," senior defensive lineman Nate Fairand said. "We'll definitely pick it up against Canal Winchester."
The Celtics again played shorthanded against Scioto, as leading rusher Steve Kidwell missed his third consecutive game with a high right-ankle sprain.
Hundley is hoping Kidwell, who has rushed for 444 yards and five touchdowns on 71 carries, will return against Canal Winchester.
Kidwell's replacement, sophomore running back Zack Hazlett, sprained an ankle in the fourth quarter against Scioto and his status for this week's game hasn't been determined, according to Hundley.
Hazlett has rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries.
Jerome previously lost senior running back Justin Stroup (concussion) and junior offensive lineman Emilio Paesano (MCL injury).
Offensive lineman Court Zeppernick injured his back during practice last week, forcing him to miss the Scioto game. His status for the remainder of the season hasn't been determined.
"Those injuries are definitely killing us," Hundley said.