Power and finesse will be on display when the Dublin Jerome High School football team plays host to Hilliard Darby on Friday, Sept. 22, in an OCC-Cardinal Division game.
Both teams played community rivals on Sept. 15, with the Celtics holding off Dublin Scioto 21-17 and the Panthers falling to Hilliard Bradley 21-7 in their respective league openers. Jerome and Darby both are 2-2 overall.
The Celtics run a spread offense, while the Panthers utilize an option offense.
“Finesse is a four-letter word for (Darby),” Jerome coach Bob Gecewich said. “They are just tough, hard-nosed kids who want to get in a street fight on the field. They’re extremely disciplined, tackle very well and run to the ball. They want to batter and bruise you. Offensively, they run power from their triple option and they want to come downhill right at you.”
Jerome won last year’s meeting 20-17.
“(The Celtics) may run the spread, but they’re not soft,” Darby coach John Santagata said.
“They fire off the ball and read their keys well. We’re going to need better blocking, especially on the perimeter.”
Jerome used a trick play against Scioto to score the winning points with under 3 minutes remaining. Quarterback Hayden Schell threw a short pass to receiver Trey Ballengee, who then lateraled the ball to running back Robert Cope, who completed the 79-yard play by running to the end zone.
“We were without six starters because of injuries and freak accidents and (Cope) had just limited plays,” Gecewich said. “We’re hoping he can be back at full strength this week. We’re a very young team to begin with, and we had a lot of backups who stepped up (against Scioto). I think Cole Albright has done a great job moving from tight end to offensive line. It’s a selfless move. Will Rigby and Andrew Brim did well filling in for Robert Cope.”
Schell finished 13-for-20 passing for 154 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran 20 times for 112 yards against Scioto. Ryan Keys had six receptions for 105 yards and Ballengee had four catches for 31 yards.
“Their quarterback is really good,” Santagata said of Schell. “They have a couple of two-way linemen (Albright and Jackson Harris) who look real good on film. Defensively, we’ve seen a number of blitzes, so we need to be prepared and execute better than we did (against Bradley).”
Canyon Uphouse rushed for 118 yards to lead Darby’s offense against Bradley, but most of his yards came on two big plays, including a 49-yard touchdown in the third quarter to pull the Panthers within 14-7.
Quarterback Henry Sopko directs Darby’s offense and other key players include slotbacks Ian Coverstone and Clint Barnett.
Defensively, the Panthers are led by linebackers Tommy Clark (34 tackles, 3 tackles for loss), Grant Hollinger (33 tackles) and Nick Wile (30 tackles, 3 tackles for loss), defensive back Taj Long (29 tackles) and end Donta Ashcraft (27 tackles, 6 tackles for loss).