The Dublin Coffman High School football is looking to stay unbeaten as it welcomes winless Thomas Worthington on Friday in the first meeting between the two schools since 2005.

The Dublin Coffman High School football is looking to stay unbeaten as it welcomes winless Thomas Worthington on Friday in the first meeting between the two schools since 2005.

The Shamrocks hope this year's game isn't as close as it was three years ago in a 17-14 victory.

The Shamrocks, who are 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central Division after throttling Westland 55-0 last Friday, have won their last three by a combined 131-0. They've given up just two touchdowns overall.

"They're a young team, but they are a solid program," said Thomas coach Scott Gordon, whose team lost to Hilliard Davidson 35-7 last Friday to drop to 0-5 and 0-2. "They've got more than 100 kids on the team, a very deep talent pool and a great coaching staff. Again, it's going to be a week where our team that's trying to become a program is playing their program."

This is the third time in four games Coffman will line up against a winless opponent, but coach Mark Crabtree believes the Cardinals are better than their record.

"(Gordon is) a really good coach, and while their record doesn't show it, they're a much-improved football team," Crabtree said. "I saw them multiple times on film last year and compared to now, it's a night-and-day difference. He's played five good teams and has that program headed in the right direction."

Coffman's pass-heavy offense that guided the Shamrocks to a Division I state semifinal in 2007 has given way to a power running game, led by junior tailback Shaun Jones, who has gained more than 400 yards on the ground. Jared Phillips is a weapon at fullback scoring four touchdowns against Westland, including three on receptions..

The Shamrocks have had success in the passing game as well, as sophomore quarterback Cole Stoudt has utilized a deep receiving corps of E.J. Williams, Matt Glynn and Gabe Neff.

"Cutting down on mental errors and protecting our quarterback will be key for us," Crabtree said. "The strength of Thomas is definitely their defense. When they blitz, and they blitz a lot, they can make you look bad in a hurry. We're going to need to stop the penetration by the linebackers in order to have success moving the football."

The Cardinals will look to move the ball through the air, led by receivers Vance Frederick, Justin Armstrong and Colin Lisi and anchored by junior quarterback Sam Bohon. Despite more balanced play-calling against Davidson, the Cardinals have yet to call more than 10 running plays in a game this season.

Gordon's second year as the coach at Thomas has been focused on teaching players more than just fundamentals. For a program with two winning seasons in the past 19 years, he's training his players to expect to win every time they take the field, regardless of record.

"We've been in positions all year long where we have a chance to make a play and be successful and just haven't gotten there," Gordon said.

"One of the things you guard against in these situations is dejection and making sure our guys don't get down. Executing pivotal plays is something that we need to do to build ourselves up mentally."

At a glance

NEXT GAME

THOMAS at DUBLIN COFFMAN

•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Last meeting: 2005, Coffman 17-14

•Coffman to date: Defeated Olentangy Liberty 10-7; def. Lima Senior 35-7; def. Westerville Central 49-0; def. Central Crossing 27-0; def. Westland 55-0

•Top Shamrocks: Shaun Jones, Gabe Neff, Jared Phillips and Cole Stoudt

LAST GAME

HILLIARD DAVIDSON 35, THOMAS 7

•Star: Davidson's Spencer Delande, who rushed for 148 yards on 21 carries and scored twice

•Key play: Rico Butler's 60-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter put Davidson up four scores.

•Key stat: Davidson limited Thomas to two first downs.