When Colton Wolfe was 8 years old, his father, Bruce, asked a question he had been waiting to hear: Do you want to play football?

Wolfe and his father jumped in their car and drove to a football practice, where he discovered his passion.

Nine years later, the Dublin Coffman senior is starting on both sides of the line for the Shamrocks, who are 4-1 entering their OCC-Central Division opener Friday, Oct. 4, at home against Marysville.

"I was at the pool one day and my dad asked, 'Do you want to play football?' " Wolfe said. "I wanted to because I always looked up to my brother Quinton, a 2015 (Coffman) graduate who played on the interior defensive line. We went straight to practice, and I fell in love with it."

Wolfe started his prep career as a defensive lineman but was asked to also play on the offensive line last season as the Shamrocks were thin at that position. He became the first two-way starting lineman for the Shamrocks under coach Mark Crabtree, who is in his 19th season.

"Colton's the first one to play on the line both ways," Crabtree said. "We might have had offensive linemen in the past who might play on the (defensive) line on goal-line situations, but I'm not counting that. He's doing a great job for us.

"He hasn't been playing as much on the offensive line as he did at the beginning of the year because we have had some guys step up and they are performing, (but) he still has been playing both ways for us."

Through five games, the 6-foot, 260-pound Wolfe has 26 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three quarterback-pressures and one forced fumble at nose guard.

"I was a defensive lineman first and I didn't know much about the offensive line when I first started playing it," said Wolfe, who plays guard on offense. "(Playing defense) basically helps me read the blocks. I know the scheme better and it helps me read the play.

"I like defense better because there is less thinking. You can just go. Physically, defense is harder because as a nose (guard), I'm always taking on double- and triple-teams. I just try to split it the best that I can and protect my (line)backers."

Defensive line coach Tim Farrell started coaching Wolfe as a sophomore and said he was ready to handle the challenge mentally before he was physically.

"I remember when Colton was a sophomore, his demeanor and his maturity were that of a veteran," Farrell said. "He just wanted to get on the field so fast. He wasn't ready just yet physically, but mentally he was very sharp and his physical tools have continued to grow."

Farrell said Wolfe has become more cerebral on the field rather than playing with fiery, reckless abandon.

"Athletically, Colton has a lot to offer," Farrell said. "He can do a lot of things on offense, whether it's being a pulling guard or going out on a veer block or a double-team. He has that tenacity about him.

"What has helped him grow has been playing offense, where he has to harness that aggression. He can't be out of control. Playing offense under (offensive line) coach (Tom) Turner has helped him control himself better on defense."

The Shamrocks are coming off their first loss, 29-27 to visiting Pickerington North on Sept. 27.

Wolfe said the team can learn from it heading into OCC-Central competition.

"We just need to do what we have been coached to do," he said. "We need to play team football and not have stupid mistakes. I think our defense and offense haven't blossomed yet. We still have a lot of improvement.

"One of our goals is to win the conference. To do that, we need to keep building up the team and play as hard as we can."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen