Shamrocks (4-3, 3-1 in OCC-Central) Cougars (1-6, 0-4)
Everything seems to be falling into place for the Dublin Coffman High School football team.
The Shamrocks started 1-3, which included losing back-to-back games against state-ranked unbeaten opponents, but they have put together a three-game winning streak to climb to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central Division heading into their game Friday, Oct. 18, at Westland.
"We're feeling pretty good right now and we're getting some wins," senior defensive back Clay Raterman said. "We're getting on a roll after a couple of tough losses."
After defeating Dublin Jerome 16-14 in the opener Aug. 30, the Shamrocks lost to Scioto 30-17 on Sept. 6 at home. They then lost road games to Canton McKinley (26-17 on Sept. 13) and Hilliard Davidson (28-7 on Sept. 20 in their OCC-Central opener). McKinley and Davidson are both 7-0 and are ranked fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Division I state poll.
"We've learned that we have to take things week by week and make sure we learn from our mistakes," Raterman said. "We're a young team with young players and we're working to improve every week."
The Shamrocks' winning streak began Sept. 27 with a 31-28 win over Marysville, which entered the league game 4-0. Raterman helped Coffman knock the Monarchs from the unbeaten ranks with two interceptions.
Junior defensive back Shaun Rankin also had an interception against Marysville, which is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central.
"We've been cutting down on mental errors on our (defensive) alignments," Raterman said. "We weren't setting up right for the offenses. We weren't consistently wrong, but we were giving up a couple of big plays a game that were hurting us. Being aligned correctly really can help defensively."
Running back Dre Kendrick is among the offensive leaders for the Shamrocks. The 5-foot-7, 153-pound junior has rushed for 1,030 yards and eight touchdowns on 160 carries for a 6.4-yard average per carry. He rushed for 227 yards and four scores on 30 carries in a 47-23 league win over Central Crossing on Oct. 11, marking the third game this season that he has rushed for more than 200 yards.
Kendrick rushed for a career-high 277 yards on 30 carries against Scioto and had 213 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in a 28-16 league win over Thomas Worthington on Oct. 4.
"We're getting people back healthy and we're getting better," said Kendrick, whose has rushed for 502 yards and seven touchdowns on 65 carries during the winning streak. "It's been pretty exciting as well. If we keep it going, we might make it to the playoffs."
The Shamrocks rushed for 287 yards against Central Crossing, with senior running back Aaron Pape adding 37 yards and one touchdown on six carries and junior quarterback Ben Beckett having 27 yards and one score on six carries.
Beckett was 6-for-14 passing for 108 yards against the Comets, who fell to 1-6 and 0-4.
"Winning three in row definitely boosts our morale," senior offensive lineman Andrew Friend said. "It's great to be winning, but also when you start winning, sometimes you can relax. We have to remain focused. Our hardest games are ahead of us, so we have to make sure we keep picking it up."