The matchup between the Dublin Coffman High School football team and host Olentangy on Friday, Sept. 15, features two squads that expect to find out a lot about themselves by game’s end.
The Braves are coming off a disappointing 31-7 loss at Reynoldsburg on Sept. 8 that dropped them to 2-1, while the Shamrocks improved to 3-0 with a 49-0 win over Brantford (Ontario) St. John’s College on Sept. 8 and have outscored their first three opponents 132-0.
Olentangy coach Mark Solis hopes to see his players bounce back, while Coffman coach Mark Crabtree wants to see how his squad responds against its toughest test to date.
“Frankly, we’re not worrying about (the Shamrocks) because we’re not a good football team right now and we can’t get caught up in who they are,” Solis said. “We have a lot to work on as a team before we worry about them. I’m not pleased with where we are at, and I thought we were a lot better team than we have shown.”
Quarterback Riley Bruening connected with Ian Drummond on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 3 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first quarter to give Olentangy a 7-3 lead over Reynoldsburg, but the Braves were outscored 28-0 over the final three quarters.
“Reynoldsburg is a team that is really good when they come out and put everything together,” Crabtree said. “That could happen to any team in the area. Olentangy just happened to be the opponent on a night that everything came together (for Reynoldsburg).
“(The Braves) have a lot of good players and they have really good size on the offensive line. They have the big Slade brothers (Jacob and Zach) on the defensive line who are both going to Michigan State. (Ali) Iverson is a good running back, and they have good skill players. Defensively, they do a good job in their scheme.”
Coffman’s first three opponents have a combined record of 1-6. Perrysburg is 0-3 and Scioto is 1-2, while St. John’s College faced the Shamrocks in its season opener.
“We know (Coffman’s) program, how long Mark has been (coaching) there and the type of program that he runs,” Solis said. “They have the same type of team year in and year out. We have to play mistake-free and be more physical than we were last week or it won’t be a good outcome for us.”
Coffman held St. John’s College to minus-3 yards rushing on 18 carries. On the season, the Shamrocks have limited their opponents to 66 yards rushing on 58 carries.
Sky Wayne had 127 yards rushing and two touchdowns on eight carries to lead the Shamrocks against the Eagles, while quarterback Marcus Ernst was 6-for-10 passing for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
The Shamrocks had eight receivers catch at least one pass, with Trevor Grady having two receptions for 30 yards.
“We have had a lot of improvement going on,” Crabtree said.
“I think we’re a much better team than we were two weeks ago, and that’s our goal.”