Dublin Jerome: Coach Bob Gecewich says Celtics program is at 'crossroads'
Dublin Jerome football coach Bob Gecewich believes his program has reached a crucial stage.
The Celtics were hoping to contend for an OCC-Cardinal Division title and make a deep run in the Division I, Region 2 playoffs, but instead could not sustain momentum as they finished 2-5 overall and 2-3 in the league to finish fifth behind champion Marysville (4-1).
“We have to change some things and we have to do much better because what we did this year was unacceptable,” Gecewich said. “I think we’re at a crossroads as a program. We have to make some really tough decisions.”
Seeded 10th in the Division I, Region 2 playoffs, the Celtics lost at seventh-seeded Marysville 35-14 in the opening round Oct. 9 after also dropping the regular-season matchup 31-12 on Sept. 11.
The Celtics scheduled additional games against Olentangy Orange and Hamilton following the postseason loss, but both were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Jerome’s wins came against Thomas Worthington 56-21 on Sept. 4 and Olentangy 27-16 on Sept. 25.
“I thought we had some opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on them and you can’t do that,” Gecewich said. “When you go into the season and everyone had to deal with unforeseen things and normal issues with seasons like injuries, we didn’t handle it as well as we should have and as well as we expect to.”
Ryan Miller (QB/DB), who was one of 22 seniors, completed 93 of 144 passes for 1,237 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Miller has committed to play baseball at the University of Tennessee.
Junior Preston Everhart (RB/DB) led the team in rushing with 579 yards and 10 touchdowns on 97 carries, while senior Carter Barco (WR/DB) had a team-high 24 catches for 364 yards and two touchdowns and senior Seth Martin finished with 22 receptions for 286 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s not the season we expected, but we fought hard the entire season,” said Barco, who was named second-team all-league. “When the going got tough, I thought we all stuck together and we all still fought.”
Barco played the entire season with a right wrist injury. He had surgery Nov. 3 but is expected to be ready for the boys lacrosse season in the spring.
“It was super important I play my senior season (in football),” Barco said. “All I wanted to do was to get out there and play with my buddies for the last time.”
Defensively, seniors Addi Blair (LB) and Sammy Stoner (WR/DB) each had a team-high 86 tackles, followed by sophomore Derek Hole (71, OL/DL) and senior Jack Soehner (52, LB).
All-league selections were Miller and Blair (first team), Everhart and Martin (second team), senior John Garrity (OL/DL) (special mention) and Hole (honorable mention).
“There were some great program kids who were leaders,” Gecewich said of his seniors. “We’re going to lose a lot of production. This is the third straight year where we’ve had to replace a considerable amount of senior starters, but that’s what you do, you just go back to work and you hope that the underclassmen learn valuable lessons from this season.
“We had some really good kids in this senior class both as football players, and teammates and people.”
•Record: 2-5 overall
•OCC-Cardinal standings: Marysville (4-1), Hilliard Darby, Olentangy and Olentangy Berlin (all 3-2), Jerome (2-3), Thomas Worthington (0-5)
•Seniors lost: Will Ackert, Sopulu Aninweze, Jack Ballengee, Carter Barco, Amit Bhandari, Addi Blair, Brandon Briggs, Ian Dean, Noah Dorsey, Luke Dufour, John Garrity, Braden Havenstein, Andrew Hohenbrink, Silas Kayuha, Nate Kirk, Seth Martin, Sean McCarthy, Ryan Miller, Dom Paesano, K.J. Robinette, Jack Soehner and Sammy Stoner
•Key returnees: David Adolph, Princeton Doss, Preston Everhart, Derek Hole, Kyler LaRosa, Caden Lockwood, Brady Sestili and Cole Welch
•Postseason: Lost to Marysville 35-14 in opening round of Division I, Region 2 playoffs