The Dublin Jerome and Westerville Central high school football teams play Friday with plenty on the line despite the fact that neither team is likely to reach the playoffs.

The Dublin Jerome and Westerville Central high school football teams play Friday with plenty on the line despite the fact that neither team is likely to reach the playoffs.

Central is 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Central Division. The Warhawks haven't been mathematically eliminated from the Division I Region 3 playoff picture, but their odds aren't good.

The Celtics are 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the division, and have been eliminated from the Division II Region 7 playoff race.

"We still have several things to play for," Jerome coach Mark Hundley said. "We're eliminated from the playoffs, but we're playing for a winning record as a team."

Central has played a series of close games this season, but has come up short. That was evident in last Friday's 14-6 loss to Olentangy Liberty.

"There hasn't been a game that we haven't been in," Central coach John Magistro said. "We feel good about that part. We just haven't finished them off. That's the part that disappoints you the most."

Also on the line for the Warhawks is finishing with a .500 record under Magistro, who is completing his first season at the helm at Central. The Warhawks were winless last season at 0-10.

"Coach Magistro is doing a fantastic job," Hundley said. "He has those guys playing hard, he has them believing in the system that he has and the philosophy with the way they do things. His quarterback (Kyle Stephenson) and running back (TaQwaun Council) are just fantastic. Their defense flies to the ball. They are a much, much improved football team."

Stephenson has completed 84 of 157 passes for 1,027 yards and five touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing with 642 yards and seven touchdowns on 140 carries.

Council has rushed for 506 yards and eight touchdowns on 115 carries.

Jerome committed seven turnovers in a 43-28 loss at Dublin Scioto last Friday.

The Celtics' 12 seniors will be recognized before the game.

"All the senior groups are special," Hundley said. "Every group is a little bit unique and different. They all have their own personalities and things that they bring. This one is definitely no different. This is a very unique group, a very athletic group. There's no doubt their athleticism will be missed."

Senior Steve Mehrer, who played sparingly last Friday after missing the previous two games with a collarbone injury, leads the team in rushing with 432 yards and three touchdowns on 65 carries.

Quarterback Ryan Gannon has completed 118 of 222 passes for 1,695 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Cameron Wilson, who had 130 receiving yards against Scioto, leads the team with 530 yards and six touchdowns on 37 receptions.

"Jerome can spread you out and go foot to foot, or they can run it right down your throat," Magistro said. "On defense, they take away the run. When teams want to do that and force you to throw the ball, then obviously you have to show them that you're willing to throw it."

At a glance

CENTRAL at DUBLIN JEROME

•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Last meeting: 2008, Jerome 30-7

•Central (4-5) to date: Lost to Big Walnut 21-4; defeated New Albany 34-28; def. Canal Winchester 17-13; lost to Westerville South 28-7; def. Westerville North 27-7; lost to Marysville 27-17; lost to Dublin Scioto 17-16 (OT); def. Olentangy 35-25; lost to Olentangy Liberty 14-6

•Dublin Jerome (5-4) to date: Def. Reynoldsburg 16-6; lost to Hilliard Darby 28-25; lost to Groveport 35-20; def Westerville North 49-7; def. Liberty 23-13; lost to Westerville South 34-7; def. Olentangy 31-24; def. Marysville 42-21; lost to Scioto 43-28

•Top Warhawks: Tanner Ayle (DB), TaQwaun Council (RB), John Howard (DB), Maurice McGee (LB), Luke Meissner (WR) and Kyle Stephenson (QB)

•Top Celtics: Ryan Gannon (QB), A.J. Lowe (WR), Steve Mehrer (RB), Trevor Mendelson (DL), Sean Sward (WR) and Cameron Wilson (RB)