Last year, the Upper Arlington High School football team rolled to a 36-0 victory over Dublin Jerome in Joel Cutler's first game as head coach.

Last year, the Upper Arlington High School football team rolled to a 36-0 victory over Dublin Jerome in Joel Cutler's first game as head coach.

On Friday, Aug. 28, the shoe will be on the other foot, as Jerome plays host to the Golden Bears in Bob Gecewich's debut as Celtics coach.

Jerome's final scrimmage was against Watterson on Aug. 21, six days after the Eagles had scrimmaged UA. Observations made by Watterson coaches mirrored what Celtics coaches saw for themselves scouting the Bears.

"They said this is the best team they've seen out of UA in the last 10 or 15 years," Gecewich said. "They bring a lot of guys back and have some new faces. From what we saw on the film of last year's game, UA ran 11 formations in the first quarter alone. They'll spread the ball out, but they can be run-heavy and disciplined. When people hear 'spread offense,' they picture four receivers and tossing the ball all over the field. But their run game out of the (shotgun) can be very powerful. There's no finesse."

Running backs Cole Kaparos, Danny Logan and Niko Schuman return for UA in front of quarterback Vince Murdocco, a senior transfer from Akron Hoban. Schuman rushed for a team-high 331 yards and two touchdowns on 51 carries a year ago, and Logan is a dual threat, leading the returning receivers with 12 catches for 294 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide receiver and defensive back Tyrece Speaight, a senior move-in from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, is a University of Toledo commit.

"We have pretty much narrowed down the depth chart to our two-deep," Cutler said. "We trust Vince to lead us. More than anything, it's his leadership and the intangibles. He's a first-in, last-out kind of kid. Everybody is progressing. We are very encouraged."

Jerome's offense will be led by quarterback Zach Hazlett. Top players include wide receiver Ty Henderson, who had 28 catches for 476 yards and six touchdowns last season, and fullback Austin Booth, who ran for 404 yards and five touchdowns on 142 carries in 2014.

The Celtics lost wide receiver Skyler Blake to a broken collarbone in early August, but Gecewich does not expect him to miss the entire season.

Senior linebacker Daniel Lex, an honorable mention all-OCC-Cardinal Division honoree a year ago, leads the Celtics' 3-4 base defense.

Jerome will try to snap a string of four consecutive 4-6 seasons.

Gecewich spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Maria Stein Marion Local. The Flyers have won four consecutive state championships, the past two coming in Division VII after winning in Division VI in 2011 and 2012.

"We came out of camp relatively healthy. We had a ton of competition in camp and our numbers are up," Gecewich said. "When I took the job, we had 12 seniors. Now we have 20 and only one two-way starter (senior wide receiver and defensive back Connor Barco), but we're really inexperienced. We're still learning and we still have a lot of work to do."

UA, which is seeking its first playoff berth since 2011, is coming off its second consecutive 5-5 season.