Hilliard Davidson High School football coach Brian White knows a lot about his next opponent, and he doesn't look at Dublin Coffman the same way most likely do.
The Shamrocks are known for their pass-oriented spread attack, but White thinks defense whenever Coffman is mentioned. In fact, he believes defense is the foundation of the Shamrocks' program.
"I still contend that what makes them so good is what they do defensively," said White, whose team will play host to Coffman on Friday, Oct. 13, in OCC-Central Division play. "They have had the Brady Quinns and Jack Raffertys and a lot of other good quarterbacks and they get credit for being dynamic on offense, but the defense is what makes them so good. (Coffman defensive coordinator) Curtis Crager has done a tremendous job of scheming and getting his guys where they need to be."
The Shamrocks, who are 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central, are averaging 34.4 points and allowing an average of 10.3 per contest with four shutouts. Davidson, which is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central, is averaging 15.6 points with its run-oriented option offense and allowing an average of 10.3 per game.
"They are always physical and well-coached and they continue to do what they do," Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said of the Wildcats. "They continue to do what they do because it stands the test of time.
"That's the familiar part of playing Davidson every year. You can count on a tough game with physical kids. They do it the right way, and both sides respect each other because of that."
The teams faced each other twice last season. Davidson won 7-6 in the regular season, while Coffman won 24-3 in a first-round Division I, Region 3 playoff game.
Since 1997, the Wildcats have a 17-10 edge in the series, but the Shamrocks have a 4-3 advantage in postseason meetings.
Davidson defeated host Upper Arlington 9-6 in league play Oct. 6 behind three field goals from Sean Carrier, including a 43-yarder with 23 seconds remaining. It was the Wildcats' 11th consecutive win over the Golden Bears.
Kalib O'Connor leads Davidson in rushing with 415 yards on 106 carries, followed by Ben Wright with 382 yards and six touchdowns on 119 attempts. Quarterback A.J. VanVoorhis has rushed 108 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries and is 4-for-5 passing for 69 yards and one touchdown.
The Wildcats have won their past two games after losing four in a row.
"They look exactly the same every year, like all they do is pass down the jersey numbers to someone else when they graduate," Crabtree said. "It looks like the same kids are out there for the last 15 years as far as their schemes go."
Coffman also has won its last two games, including a 35-0 victory over host Central Crossing in league play Oct. 6.
Cam Scott leads a balanced running game for the Shamrocks with 539 yards and 10 touchdowns on 106 carries, while Gavin Sturdivant has rushed for 288 yards and five scores on 63 carries.
Quarterback Marcus Ernst is 52-for-99 passing for 641 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions, and has rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries.
"They seem to be running the ball more this year, but you have to be ready for them to throw the ball," White said. "We have to be prepared for that because it's part of their scheme and package. They do what they believe they need to do to be successful, but they have had a propensity to the passing game in the past, so we have to be ready."