The Dublin Coffman High School football team is undefeated heading into league play, but the Shamrocks know they have room to improve.
Despite being 5-0, the Shamrocks trailed at halftime in each of their last three games before rallying to win.
Junior running back Mike Drennen doesn't want the trend of falling behind to continue when Coffman begins defense of its OCC-Central Division championship Friday, Sept. 28, at Marysville.
The contest also represents the league opener for the Monarchs.
"I think all year we have been a second-half team and that's something we're going to have to fix," Drennen said after the Shamrocks defeated host Pickerington North 31-28 on Sept. 21 after trailing 14-7 at halftime. "We have to open up with a good first half. We have to start fast, keep pushing and keep pounding."
The Shamrocks also rallied from halftime deficits in their 45-14 victory over Dublin Jerome on Sept. 7 and their 22-16 win over Olentangy on Sept. 14. They trailed the Celtics 14-10 at the intermission and Olentangy 16-0 after two quarters.
Marysville is 3-2 after defeating Big Walnut 45-17 on Sept. 21. The Monarchs amassed 366 yards on the ground on 47 carries. Ryan Kern led the team with 97 yards on seven carries, Mike Powers had 75 yards and a touchdown on six carries, Owen Meffley had 75 yards and one score on three carries and Chase Kilgore had 74 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts.
Quarterback Walker Heard attempted only three passes, completing two for 17 yards, and rushed for 12 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
The Monarchs' defense had three interceptions - one each by Bodie Eberhart, Brody Lewis and Blaine Williams.
The Shamrocks were dominated by North in the first half, but the final two quarters were a different story.
Drennen finished with 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries after having just 16 yards on nine carries in the first half, and quarterback Ethan Brown totaled 103 yards rushing and one score on 13 carries after having just 8 yards on three carries in the first half.
Brown also finished 5-for-10 passing for 51 yards.
"Our coaches did a great job of getting us ready and our line played well in front of us," Drennen said. "(The linemen) were going hard all the way, and we got the 'W.'"
The Shamrocks also scored on a 75-yard kickoff return by Bryon Threats.
"We talked at halftime about (North's) defense being pretty stout between the tackles," coach Mark Crabtree said. "We were trying to do a few things that we thought would be to our advantage, but we recognized at halftime we couldn't do that.
"We went back to some basic stuff, and the kids just never stopped. They believed in what we wanted to do and they played their butts off."