After his team fell short of its goal of qualifying for the Division II, Region 7 playoffs, Dublin Scioto High School football coach Karl Johnson reflected on the season.
The Irish went 5-5 overall and finished 10th in the region as the top eight teams qualified for the playoffs.
"For our seniors, the hard part about the last game, especially when you're going into it believing that if you win then you'll be in (the playoffs), is it's just abrupt and it's just over," Johnson said. "It comes to an end.
"You thank the seniors for the time they put in and commitment. For the underclassmen, you talk about what it's going to take to improve off of where we finished."
Johnson said the Irish's playoff bid was thwarted by losses to Jerome (21-17 on Sept. 15) and Hilliard Darby (22-3 on Oct. 27).
"We just had to take care of one game -- win Jerome or win Darby," Johnson said. "Those are two games that I feel like we could have won. Darby made the plays."
Scioto went 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to finish fourth, behind Hilliard Bradley (6-0), Jerome (5-1) and Darby (4-2) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (2-4), Delaware (1-5) and Thomas Worthington (0-6).
"With our league, we don't have to win every game, but we want to get back to winning league championships," Johnson said. "It certainly is tough, but we know if we're competing for a league championship or competing to be in the hunt (to finish) in the top half that we should have a good shot."
The Irish are losing 19 seniors, including Jeremy Erickson (TE/LB), Jacob Jones (WR/DB) and Jaden Penn (WR/QB/DB). All three were named first-team all-league.
"What helped us the most was us coming together as a group," said Erickson, who had 153 tackles this season after having 63 as a junior. "The seniors (became) more solid at our camp at the beginning of the year at Wittenberg (University). We went down there for a couple of days. That really helped us bond."
Jones had 50 catches for 563 yards and five touchdowns, and Penn had 27 receptions for 340 yards and two touchdowns after starting the season at quarterback in place of Kyron Rogers, who missed the first two games with a thumb injury.
Rogers completed 134 of 222 passes for 1,564 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions and made special mention all-league.
Senior Nick Hopper (OL/DL), sophomore Deron Pulliam (RB/DL) and freshman Devon Williams (DL/LB) all were second-team all-league, and junior Eric Holsinger (RB/WR) made honorable mention all-league after rushing for 193 yards on 52 carries and catching 11 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.
Junior Kenyon Pannell (RB/DB), who missed the first two games with an ankle injury, led the team in rushing with 455 yards and six touchdowns on 77 carries.
Other key players eligible to return are juniors Bernie Duran (OL/DL), Jarrett Marshall (OL/DL), Cayson Pfeiffer (TE/LB), Jalyn Ware (WR/DB), Logan Williams (OL/LB) and Bert Wittkopp (OL/DL).