The authority regarding who is the best quarterback to come through central Ohio over the past 23 seasons might be Dublin Coffman High School football coach Mark Crabtree.
Since he took over the Shamrocks in 2001, Coffman has produced brothers Zack Stoudt and Cole Stoudt, both of whom made the "All-Time ThisWeek Football Team" honorable mention list, as well as other solid quarterbacks.
Then there's the debate about which Coffman quarterback was better: Brady Quinn or Jack Rafferty?
"People have asked me which one's better, and I think you've got to look at stats," Crabtree said.
With that in mind, the senior season by Rafferty in 2003, combined with his sophomore and junior seasons when he attended St. Charles, made him ThisWeek Community News' choice as first-team quarterback.
After passing for more than 2,000 yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons, Rafferty transferred to Coffman.
While Quinn threw for more than 2,000 yards in each of the two seasons that Rafferty was starring at St. Charles, Rafferty developed into an unstoppable force for Coffman. He passed for 3,221 yards with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions and rushed for 1,357 yards and 20 touchdowns in his only season with the Shamrocks.
Joining Rafferty on the first-team offense are players who put together historic senior seasons like Jeff Backes, Maurice Hall and Lance Moore, standout running back Nick Goings and a group of talented linemen headlined by Justin Boren.
The first-team defense features one of the three players from central Ohio to be named Mr. Football in Andy Katzenmoyer, one of five ThisWeek Super 25 captains on the first team in Jordan Gafford and strong representation from Pickerington, DeSales and Upper Arlington.
Rafferty (final prep season in 2003).
A finalist for Mr. Football as a senior at Coffman, the 6-foot, 182-pound Rafferty originally signed with Western Kentucky after not getting a Division I scholarship offer. He eventually landed at Otterbein, where he became a semifinalist for the Gagliardi Trophy as one of the top 10 players in small college football.
Backes (Upper Arlington, 2000), Goings (Dublin Scioto, 1995), Hall (Brookhaven, 2000).
Backes, who was sidelined for all of his junior season, rushed for 3,353 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior when he became the third player from central Ohio to be named Mr. Football and UA won the Division I state title.
Hall also starred in 2000, rushing for 3,057 yards and 51 touchdowns, and was named the Super 25 captain.
Goings was Super 25 captain as a junior in 1994 for Dublin and shared captain honors with Katzenmoyer in 1995, when he also led Scioto to the Division II state title in its first season as a program.
Backes went on to play for Northwestern, Hall played for Ohio State and Goings played for Ohio State and the University of Pittsburgh. Goings then played eight seasons in the NFL, all with the Carolina Panthers.
Moore (Westerville South, 2000), Ernie Wheelwright (Walnut Ridge, 2002).
Moore, who is set to begin his eighth season with the New Orleans Saints after playing at Toledo, had perhaps the greatest season by a central Ohio wide receiver as a senior in 2000. That fall, he finished with 103 catches for a then-state-record 1,585 yards with 24 touchdowns, and he also set a state record with 18 catches in a game.
Wheelwright was a 6-5, 215-pounder who averaged 25 yards per catch and had 21 touchdowns over his final two prep seasons.
Jake Butt (Pickerington North, 2012).
Set to begin his first season playing for Michigan, Butt had seven touchdown catches as a junior and 68 receptions for 907 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior while helping the Panthers reach a Division I state semifinal.
Jacoby Boren (Pickerington Central, 2011), Justin Boren (Pickerington North, 2005), Marc Kielmeyer (Westerville South, 1995), Andrew Moses (Watterson, 2004), Adam Olds (Coffman, 2000).
No family was more represented on the all-time ThisWeek team than the Borens, who produced second-team linebacker Zach and two of his brothers in first-team offensive linemen Justin and Jacoby.
While Justin played for Michigan and Ohio State and Jacoby currently is at Ohio State, Moses played for the Buckeyes and Kielmeyer played for Penn State.
After Olds made first-team all-state as a senior and signed with Ohio State, his promising career was thwarted by chronic hip problems while in college.
Grant Bowman (DeSales, 1998), Luke Fickell (DeSales, 1991), Simon Fraser (Upper Arlington, 2000), Roosevelt Nix (Reynoldsburg, 2009).
The distinction of DeSales' greatest defensive player over the past two decades comes down to Fickell, who was the state's Division III Lineman of the Year as a senior and won three consecutive state wrestling titles, or Bowman, who was the state's Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and led the team to back-to-back state titles.
Fraser led UA to a Division I state title as a senior before playing for Ohio State and in the NFL, including three seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Nix was a three-time Super 25 honoree who plays for Kent State.
Jayson Gwinn (Brookhaven, 1991), Brett Hughes (Upper Arlington, 1999), Katzenmoyer (Westerville South, 1995), Lawrence Reid (Pickerington, 2000).
Katzenmoyer, who was named Mr. Football as a senior, helped the Wildcats earn a state runner-up finish in 1994 and a regional runner-up finish the next year. He went on to play for Ohio State and for two seasons with the New England Patriots.
Reid helped Pickerington end a seven-year playoff drought as a junior in 1999 and then was the district's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He played three seasons for Michigan before an injury ended his career.
Hughes helped UA make the playoffs during each of his final three seasons before turning his focus to a college and professional lacrosse career.
Gwinn was a high school All-American as a senior and had begun to settle in as a defensive lineman for Ohio State when he died in a car crash on Dec. 12, 1993.
Jordan Gafford (Worthington Kilbourne, 2005), Dominic Jones (Brookhaven, 2004), Keiwan Ratliff (Whitehall, 1998), Ryan Redd (Pickerington, 2000).
Gafford started at quarterback and in the secondary as a senior when he was named the Super 25 captain before heading off to Miami University.
Jones made the Super 25 each of his final three prep seasons including as a senior when the Bearcats won the Division II state title.
Ratliff played for the University of Florida as well as in the NFL from 2004-10.
Redd, who also was a standout running back, earned first-team all-state honors and a scholarship to Miami with his play on defense. He had 80 tackles and 17 pass break-ups as a senior.
J.D. Detmer (Hilliard Davidson, 2010).
Kicking a 58-yard field goal in a 47-6 first-round playoff win over Northland as a senior was just one of the accomplishments for Detmer, who now plays at Toledo.
He closed his prep career by making 36 of 46 field-goal attempts and 131 of 135 extra-point attempts. He was 13-for-16 on field-goal attempts as a senior.
Ben Buchanan (Westerville Central, 2007).
There might not have been a better kicker/punter combination over the past 23 years than Buchanan, who averaged nearly 41 years per punt as a junior and senior and went on to punt for Ohio State.
Ryan Sprague (Kilbourne, 1998).
Sprague's talents as a kick returner became evident as a sophomore when he averaged 42.1 yards on 15 returns and scored five touchdowns.
He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior. Then as a senior, he returned two blocked punts for touchdowns.