The Dublin Coffman High School football team will seek to return to dominant form when it plays host to Gahanna on Friday, Sept. 22.
The Shamrocks did not allow a point in their first three contests, but lost to Olentangy 31-14 on Sept. 15 to fall to 3-1. They expect to have their hands full with the Lions, who are 3-1 after defeating New Albany 40-20 on Sept. 15.
“We face another tough opponent, and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” coach Mark Crabtree said. “It will be a tough game, a hard game, but that’s good. It’s what we need.”
Gahanna has averaged 30.3 points per game and has scored no fewer than 23, that coming in its 27-23 loss to Cincinnati Elder on Sept. 8. Coffman has totaled 146 points, a 36.5 average.
Quarterback Mike Lowery sparked the Lions past New Albany by completing 16 of 23 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns. He also opened the scoring with a 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Running back Justus Harris ran for 127 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, and wide receiver David Miller had eight receptions for 102 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Jerome Buckner, who has several Division I scholarship offers, caught touchdown passes of 36 and 10 yards.
“(The Lions) have a savvy quarterback with a strong arm, and he can be very mobile,” Crabtree said. “They are good at the skill positions and they have an aggressive defensive line that comes off the ball. They fly around and make plays on defense, and they have enough skill offensively that you can’t focus on any one particular player.”
The Shamrocks led Olentangy 14-10 at halftime, but Braves defensive lineman Ziyan Sears returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown with 4 minutes, 4 seconds left in the third quarter in a huge momentum swing.
“We felt really good about what we were doing going at halftime and felt good up until the fumble, but that changed things,” Crabtree said. “Sometimes when two evenly matched teams play, the game comes down to four or five plays, and the team that wins those plays will win the game. To their credit, (the Braves) were able to grab the momentum and run with it.”
Olentangy had 242 total yards to 200 for Coffman, but the Shamrocks committed three turnovers while the Braves had none.
Quarterback Marcus Ernst was 7-for-14 passing for 128 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He scored on an 11-yard run and connected with running back Cam Scott on a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Scott finished with 80 yards on 21 carries, and wide receiver Trevor Grady caught three passes for 66 yards.
“We need to take that (loss) as a learning experience,” linebacker Griffin Hoak said. “We were playing well, but we started hanging our heads after a couple of big plays. We have to handle adversity better and be ready to play.”