Football: Dublin Scioto Irish improved through run to regional semifinal

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Amare Jenkins completed 122 of 228 passes for 1,871 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions and was named first-team all-district in Division II. The Irish finished 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Capital.

After losing to Westerville South in its opener, the Dublin Scioto football team responded by winning seven consecutive games and advancing to a Division II, Region 7 semifinal. 

Seeded eighth, the Irish defeated 25th-seeded Mifflin 48-14 on Oct. 9 and ninth-seeded Big Walnut 31-13 on Oct. 16 before losing 35-10 to top-seeded Massillon Perry in a semifinal Oct. 23 to finish 7-2. 

“Seasons always come to an end; that’s part of the game,” coach Karl Johnson said. “I thought it was a good season. I think we were a much better team by the end of the season. Everybody Week 1 was in a scramble mode; one scrimmage to get ready. Some schools had a different amount of prep time.” 

Scioto defeated OCC-Capital Division foe Big Walnut twice, with its other win a 15-14 victory Oct. 2 as junior quarterback Amare Jenkins connected with Xavier Lopes for a 36-yard touchdown on the game’s final play. 

The Irish went 5-1 in the league to tie Westerville North for second behind South (5-0), which defeated Scioto 42-28 in the Aug. 28 opener. 

“After the first game, it felt different at practice,” senior lineman Koel Shaw said. “Everybody was finally locked in. There were a lot of things we were unsure about and we didn’t know if we would have a season. After that first game, everybody knew it was time to get to work.” 

Jenkins emerged as the starting quarterback, completing 122 of 228 passes for 1,871 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. He was first-team all-district and honorable mention all-league. 

Junior Ed Worthen (RB/LB) rushed for a team-high 815 yards and 10 touchdowns on 157 carries. He was second-team all-district. 

Junior Lesley Andoh (WR/DB) led the Irish in receiving with 37 receptions for 552 yards and seven touchdowns. He was first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Lopes (WR/DB), who was one of 20 seniors, had 25 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns. He was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. 

Junior Tysen Boze (WR/DB) had 21 catches for 366 yards and five touchdowns and senior Joe Trent (TE/DL) had 10 receptions for 311 yards. Trent was first-team all-district and all-league and Boze was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district. 

Senior Zion Freeman-Walker (WR/DB) and junior Max Martin-Lee (OL/DL) were first-team all-district and all-league. 

Shaw, along with seniors Vaughn Francis (TE/LB) and Vernon Williams (TE/DL) and junior Troy Hall (RB/DL) were second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. 

“It feels like part of you is gone,” Shaw said of end of his high school career. “Four-plus years, a lot of work with playing football since sixth, seventh grade. You just have to move on. It’s hard, but it’s not like we’re the first to go through it.” 

Other key players eligible to return include juniors Nico Crawford (OL/DL), Cameron Jackson (RB/LB), Mason Salvator (RB/LB), Colin Sink (OL/DL) and Terrell Triplett (OL/DL) and sophomore Jeriah Moore (WR/DB). 

“It was a really good group of seniors,” Johnson said. “From Day 1 they just showed up with an attitude they were going to work and do whatever they could do to be successful as a team. They held true to that all year. They appreciated being able to go to practice every day. It was a fun group to coach.” 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank 

•Record: 7-2 overall 

•OCC-Capital standings: Westerville South (5-0), Scioto and Westerville North (both 5-1), Big Walnut and Worthington Kilbourne (both 3-3), Canal Winchester (2-4), Franklin Heights (0-5), Delaware (0-6)  

Seniors lost: Ibby Abumallouh, Dejwar Ali, Younes Ayed, Aidhan Boyle, Ibrahima Drame, Vaughn Francis, Zion Freeman-Walker, Malcolm Green, Kurt Joshi, Emad Kate, Xavier Lopes, Enrique Luna, Max Major, Caleb Ross, Koel Shaw, Harrison Smith, Michael Thomas, Dante Thompkins, Joe Trent and Vernon Williams 

•Key returnees: Lesley Andoh, Tysen Boze, Troy Hall, Amare Jenkins, Max Martin-Lee, Mason Salvator and Ed Worthen 

•Postseason: Defeated Mifflin 48-14; def. Big Walnut 31-13; lost to Massillon Perry 35-10 in Division II, Region 7 semifinal