When the Dublin Coffman and Gahanna Lincoln high school football teams met last fall, they looked very different from the squads that will square off Friday, Aug. 31.

The visiting Shamrocks have virtually a different front seven on defense and a completely new offensive backfield from when they lost to the Lions 34-32 last season.

Gahanna, meanwhile, had five starters move or transfer in the offseason.

Coffman opened with a 42-21 win Aug. 24 over visiting Perrysburg, and Gahanna lost 31-0 at Cincinnati Elder the same evening.

"We're a very inexperienced team so (the Elder game) was an eye-opener for us, but we're ready to bounce back (this) week," said Travis Whittaker, a junior running back and defensive back. "We know what Friday night is like now and having better preparation this week will be a good start for us."

Will Thomas was 4-for-16 passing for 45 yards with one interception and Justus Harris rushed for 20 yards on 10 carries against Elder. Harris rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries against Coffman last fall.

"They have some good players and nice athletes and have a good scheme in place," said Coffman coach Mark Crabtree, who won his 200th career game in the opener. "They played Elder to open up and scrimmaged (Cincinnati St. Xavier), so the competition they have played is as good as anyone.

"They have some good talent and (Harris) is as good as anyone in central Ohio."

Coffman totaled 357 yards against Perrysburg, with 196 coming on the ground. Moussa Diallo rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.

Quarterback Ethan Brown rushed for 53 yards and one score on seven carries and completed five of seven passes for 161 yards. Mike Drennen caught three passes for 124 yards with touchdowns of 84 and 27 yards.

Jameel Williamson scored on a 98-yard kickoff return, Kameron Meadows returned an interception 30 yards for a score and A.J. Kirk also had an interception.

"We played well in spots -- like our offensive line and Ethan Brown did a good job at quarterback -- but we have to get better," Crabtree said. "I told the kids that we had a lot of them getting their first taste of Friday night and they played like it."

The Lions had just 100 total yards against Elder, but Whittaker expects a better showing against Coffman.

"I think it will be big for our home opener because we have new turf and a new field," he said. "There will be a lot of students in the stands, and after a bad loss like this, we will have something to prove."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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