Mistakes turned out to be the difference that ended the season for the Dublin Coffman High School football team.
The second-seeded Shamrocks committed two turnovers that led to Olentangy Liberty touchdowns and had trouble on third-down conversions in a 21-7 loss to the fourth-seeded Patriots in the Division I, Region 2 final Nov. 16 at New Albany.
Coffman was just 5-for-13 on third downs, including 1-for-6 in the first half.
“We had some good drives, but we stopped ourselves with mistakes,” said coach Mark Crabtree, whose team finished 11-2. “We just didn’t play well enough to win.
“You have to give (the Patriots) credit for the way they played. They have a good, quick defense, they play well offensively and they are well-coached.”
The Patriots won their third consecutive regional championship, improving to 9-4 and advancing to play Lakewood St. Edward in a state semifinal Nov. 23. The Eagles improved to 9-3 by defeating Mentor 24-14 in the Region 1 final Nov. 16.
Senior quarterback Mitchell Okuley led Liberty in rushing and passing. He completed 13 of 17 passes for 172 yards and rushed for 66 yards and three scores on 14 carries.
The Patriots nearly shut out Coffman, which scored on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ethan Brown to Matt Dorenkott with 2 minutes, 9 seconds to play.
The Shamrocks had two turnovers – both interceptions by Grant Wilson – that led to Liberty touchdowns in the second half.
Wilson intercepted Brown the first time at the Liberty 19-yard line, returning it 20 yards to set up the second of Okuley’s touchdown runs, a 2-yarder with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
“We were up on their schemes, and we wouldn’t have been able to have done that without a team effort,” Wilson said. “(The defensive front) put pressure on (Brown) and (he) released it and I was able to get a break on it.”
Wilson’s second interception came on the first play of the fourth quarter. He returned it 33 yards to the Coffman 27, and three plays later, Okuley scored on another 2-yard run.
Okuley also scored on a 7-yard run with 6 seconds left in the first quarter.
Brown was 18-for-30 passing for 184 yards with two interceptions. Moussa Diallo had 46 yards rushing on 17 carries, and Bryce Hostetler had four catches for 58 yards. Mike Drennen had three receptions for 40 yards, and Alex Dluzynski added six catches for 38 yards.
“I feel like everyone wasn’t on the same page,” Drennen said. “It’s something that probably started in practice and carried over into (the game). We just didn’t play the way we have been.”