The Dublin Scioto High School football team rebounded from a disappointing 2-8 season a year ago to earn a postseason berth and challenge for the OCC-Cardinal Division title.

The Dublin Scioto High School football team rebounded from a disappointing 2-8 season a year ago to earn a postseason berth and challenge for the OCC-Cardinal Division title.

The Irish finished 8-4 overall with a 31-7 loss to third-seeded New Albany in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal Nov. 11 at DeSales.

Seeded seventh, Scioto opened the playoffs by defeating second-seeded Massillon Washington 31-21 on Nov. 4 at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

"(The loss to New Albany) was tough. We just made too many mistakes, but I couldn't be prouder of my guys and this season," senior two-way lineman and fullback Brian Zimmerman said. "To come back from a 2-8 season to go 7-3 in the regular season and come out and beat Massillon Washington at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium was a heck of a season. I was definitely proud and excited."

Scioto, which trailed New Albany 17-7 after three quarters, committed four turnovers and was outgained 322-129 in total yards.

"It was 17-7 and we still felt like we had a chance," coach Karl Johnson said. "We just had to get a rhythm going and we couldn't. That's a credit to their defense."

Senior quarterback Noah Densel completed 13 of 24 passes for 92 yards with one interception, and senior wide receiver Derek Topp had four catches for 51 yards.

"We started out well on our first possession and then we turned the ball over," Johnson said. "Those four turnovers were a difference-maker. You have to win the turnover battle, make (more) explosive plays and win on third-down (conversions) and special teams... Our defense kept us in the game for a long time."

Scioto went 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Hilliard Darby for third, behind co-champions Jerome and Hilliard Bradley (both 5-1) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (2-4), Delaware (1-5) and Thomas Worthington (0-6).

The Irish handed Bradley its league loss, beating the Jaguars 20-6 on Sept. 30.

Zimmerman called that win another highlight of the season.

"We were definitely the underdogs (against Bradley)," he said. "Everyone predicted us to lose and everybody counted us out and in that game we bought in. It was a four-quarter fight right to the end. It was a huge win for us."

Zimmerman, who was named district Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-league, was one of 24 seniors.

Senior Aleck Kelly (OL/DL) also made first-team all-league and all-district.

Densel completed 135 of 241 passes for 1,998 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions and was first-team all-league and special mention all-district.

Junior Griffin Crosa (K/P) was first-team all-league and special mention all-district, and senior Cole Baisden (LB) was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Seniors Evan Hutras (WR), who had 49 catches for 739 yards and seven touchdowns, and Reece Schuetz (TE/DL) were second-team all-league and all-district, and senior Jared Nolan (RB/LB), who rushed for 412 yards and four scores on 79 carries, was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Senior Dimetri Brandon (RB/WR/DB), who rushed for 645 yards and nine touchdowns on 139 carries, was second-team all-league.

Junior Jacob Jones (WR/DB) was special mention all-district, senior Brino Cruz (OL/DL) was honorable mention all-district and senior Nick Densel (WR/DB) was special mention all-league.

Junior Jaden Penn (WR/SB/QB) had 31 catches for 504 yards and five touchdowns.

Other key players eligible to return include juniors Sam Andoh (DL), Nick Hopper (OL/DL), Jose Ramirez (RB), Patrick Sheeran (OL/DL) and Gabe Wallace (LB) and sophomores Maurice Driscoll (DL), Jeremy Erickson (TE/LB) and Eric Holsinger (WR/DB).

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