While he realizes his team will be facing one of the most prolific offenses in the area, Dublin Jerome High School football coach Bob Gecewich said his squad won't back down from the challenge.
The Celtics visit undefeated Hilliard Bradley on Friday, Oct. 13, with first place in the OCC-Cardinal Division on the line.
"Regardless of the score, they'll fight, they'll try and do some things," said Gecewich, whose team is 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the league and rolls into the contest on a four-game winning streak. "Our kids really don't get fazed. We're ignorant and I mean that in a good way. Our kids play like that and approach every game like that. I guess it's somewhat worked out, so we'll keep doing it."
Bradley is 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the league, and sits atop ThisWeek's Super 7 poll.
"Winning the OCC is always one of your primary goals and we have that in front of us," Jaguars coach Mike LoParo said. "It's important for our kids and our community and we're hoping that we can get that accomplished."
Led by quarterback Josh Stewart and a trio of talented wide receivers, the Jaguars are averaging 37.3 points.
Stewart has completed 91 of 146 passes for 1,334 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions, and has rushed for 269 yards and four touchdowns on 55 carries.
Daevon Anderson leads the receiving corps with 32 receptions for 624 yards and five touchdowns. Kory Taylor has 32 catches for 450 yards and four touchdowns, and Trey Warner has 19 receptions for 189 yards and two scores.
Grant Buehl leads Bradley in rushing with 325 yards and five touchdowns on 67 carries.
"It's fun to try to figure out how can we mitigate some things, how can we compete at their level? That's the whole puzzle, trying to figure all that out," Gecewich said. "They're loaded with talent. They have a pretty good scheme in place."
Gecewich said Bradley's multi-look defense is just as dangerous. The Jaguars are allowing 9.6 points per game.
"What gets lost on Bradley is how ridiculously good its defense is," Gecewich said.
Jerome defeated visiting Delaware 34-13 on Oct. 6 as Robert Cope rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and quarterback Hayden Schell completed 12 of 15 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown and ran for 55 yards and two scores on eight carries. Ryan Keys had eight receptions for 146 yards and one score.
"They're really talented," LoParo said. "In terms of running and passing, their quarterback is as dangerous as we've seen. They have big linemen who move well. Their wide receiver (Keys) is really talented, so they're going to be a handful."
LoParo added that his offense must be ready for a Celtics defense that will bring a lot of pressure.
"They're going to bring a lot of heat and try to create a lot of different matchups and disguise coverages, so we're going to have to do what we do and hit some big plays and get our offense going and our defense has to trade punches and work as a double unit to win the game," LoParo said. "Special teams will be important as well. It's going to be a big challenge."
Jerome and Bradley were 7-0 and 6-1, respectively, entering last year's matchup, which the Jaguars won 31-28.
The Celtics and Jaguars went on to share the OCC-Cardinal title at 5-1, and both teams qualified for the Division I playoffs.