Two similar football teams will face off when third-seeded Dublin Coffman and top-seeded Springfield meet in the Division I, Region 2 final Friday, Nov. 22, at London.
The Shamrocks, who are in the regional final for the second consecutive season, are 10-2 after defeating second-seeded and 10th-ranked Toledo Whitmer 42-17 in a semifinal Nov. 15 at the University of Findlay's Donnell Stadium.
The fifth-ranked Wildcats, who are playing in their first regional final since Springfield North and South merged in 2008, improved to 11-1 with a 37-14 win over fourth-seeded Jerome in the other semifinal Nov. 15 at Marysville.
Like Coffman, Springfield is loaded with speed and athleticism.
"They are a solid everywhere," Shamrocks coach Mark Crabtree said. "They have some nice athletes on their team, and they're always in position to make plays for their team, both offensively and defensively.
"If you beat them, they definitely make you earn it. You can see why they won their league (Greater Western Ohio Conference-American Division) and why they are 11-1."
Springfield's offense is led by sophomore quarterback Te'Sean Smoot, who is 106-for-196 passing for 2,176 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions and has 159 yards rushing and five scores on 57 carries. He rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries against Jerome.
Smoot's primary target is senior wide receiver Larry Stephens, who has 47 receptions for 988 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior flanker James Wood has 23 catches for 448 yards and one score.
Senior running back Jeff Tolliver rushed for 144 yards and two scores on 11 carries against the Celtics and has a team-leading 1,242 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on 115 carries on the season, while senior running back Tavion Smoot has rushed for 682 yards and 11 scores on 120 carries.
Defensively for Springfield, senior linebacker Xzerious Stinnett has a team-high 114 tackles, sophomore nose guard Jokell Brown has 64 tackles and a team-leading 4.5 sacks, senior lineman Robert Holtz has 45 tackles and four sacks and sophomore safety Delian Bradley has 60 tackles and a team-high three interceptions.
"Their offense is good at hitting the deep ball, so that's something that gets your attention," Crabtree said. "They have good size on the line and their running backs are strong.
"Defensively, they have a couple of good-sized players on the line, their safeties are good and they are active at inside linebacker. Those are the things we really have to look at and they really got my attention."
Coffman used its speed and athleticism to roll past Whitmer. The Shamrocks jumped out to a 7-0 lead as Jameel Williamson returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and they opened a 28-3 lead with 9 minutes, 16 seconds left in the third quarter on a 28-yard touchdown run by Moussa Diallo.
"My dad, Booker Williamson, has been sick and hadn't seen me for a few weeks, so when I saw him in the stands, I knew I had to do something big," Williamson said. "I knew they would try to keep the ball away from me and Bryon (Threats), so I told Devon (Williams) to let me come up and get the ball. I jumped up and got the ball and took off for my life."
Threats rushed for 209 yards on 15 carries with touchdowns of 69 and 62 yards and quarterback Connor Mathews ran for 117 yards and two scores on 12 carries, as Coffman amassed 409 total yards, including 393 on the ground.
"We needed to come out and make a statement," Threats said.
"Jameel got it started for us and we kept making plays."
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal Nov. 29.