Dublin Coffman at Dublin Jerome: Matchup excites 'Rocks, Celtics

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Senior quarterback Ryan Miller and Jerome will play host to Coffman in the season opener Friday, Aug. 28. Miller was named OCC-Cardinal Offensive Player of the Year and second-team all-district last season.

The Dublin Coffman and Jerome football teams both expect a tough test in their opener Friday, Aug. 28 -- and they're embracing it.

Not only is it a rivalry game, but it's a chance for a bit of normalcy amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"We're excited to have a Week 1," Jerome coach Bob Gecewich said. "We're excited for the opportunity to play."

Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said his team is looking forward to kicking off the season with a short trip to Jerome.

"The good thing about it (is Jerome) is close by," Crabtree said. "It's a fun game. Our kids are excited and I'm sure they are, too -- excited to have the opportunity to play."

The programs first met in 2012 and Coffman leads the series 4-0, including a 31-14 win last season.

The Shamrocks and Celtics both are coming off postseason appearances, with Coffman reaching the Division I, Region 2 final before losing to Springfield 7-3 to finish 10-3.

Jerome lost to Springfield in a regional semifinal 37-14 to finish 9-3.

Both teams also earned league titles, with Jerome winning the OCC-Cardinal Division at 6-1 and Coffman sharing the OCC-Central championship with Hilliard Davidson and Upper Arlington at 4-1.

The Shamrocks return a strong group led by senior running back Bryon Threats, who last season was named OCC-Central Offensive Player of the Year along with first-team all-district and third-team all-state. A Cincinnati commit, he rushed for 1,125 yards and 16 touchdowns on 123 carries.

Senior quarterback Connor Mathews completed 106 of 169 passes for 1,451 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for 631 yards and six scores. He was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

"Everyone knows Coffman probably has the most talent in central Ohio," Gecewich said. "We have to plan for them and prepare for them, but we have to get our own house in order. While we've had the chance to work with our kids since June, we really haven't done any football stuff until the middle of July."

Jerome should be led by senior quarterback Ryan Miller, who last season completed 127 of 224 passes for 1,428 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and rushed for 575 yards and 10 scores on 116 carries. He was named OCC-Cardinal Offensive Player of the Year and second-team all-district.

The Celtics' spread offense also should feature seniors Carter Barco, Seth Martin and Sammy Stoner at receiver. Stoner had 22 receptions for 411 yards and three touchdowns, Martin had 41 catches for 383 yards and two touchdowns and Barco had 24 receptions for 282 yards and five scores.

"We're going to make mistakes and we're not going to look good in certain things, but if we can eliminate as many mistakes as possible and execute at this stage of the game to the best of our ability there's nothing more we can ask for from our players," Crabtree said. "You just have to focus on yourself (and hope) that your team and your guys are focused on what they have to do as far as execution goes."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

WEEK 1

DUBLIN COFFMAN at DUBLIN JEROME

*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28

*Last meeting: 2019, Coffman 31-14

*Top Shamrocks: Hayden Austin (WR/DB), Maguire Davis (LB), Connor Mathews (QB/P), O.J. Morris (LB), Hammond Russell (DL), Toby Simpson (OL), Bryon Threats (RB/LB), Daniel Warnsman (OL), Dorian Weaver (DB) and Devon Williams (RB/LB)

*Top Celtics: Will Ackert (LB), Sopulu Aninweze (DL), Carter Barco (WR/DB), Noah Dorsey (OL/DL), John Garrity (OL), Seth Martin (WR/DB), Sean McCarthy (OL/DL), Ryan Miller (QB/DB), Jack Soehner (LB) and Sammy Stoner (WR/DB)