The Dublin Jerome High School football team enters its fourth season with renewed optimism. Coach Mark Hundley and his staff have been stressing the importance of “team unity” during the preseason and it appears the Celtics have responded. Jerome is hoping that philosophy carries over to the football field this fall.
The Dublin Jerome High School football team enters its fourth season with renewed optimism.
Coach Mark Hundley and his staff have been stressing the importance of “team unity” during the preseason and it appears the Celtics have responded.
Jerome is hoping that philosophy carries over to the football field this fall.
The Celtics will begin their season on Friday at home against Westerville Central.
“The biggest thing that we have to work on with these guys is that unity,” Hundley said. “We can’t let other people dictate how we’re going to be. We have to dictate that ourselves. We have to go out and play our game. When a team does a certain thing we can’t get down if they get up on us. You’re going to have adversity and how you react to that adversity makes a huge difference.”
Last season, the Celtics finished 2-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal.
As junior Kevin Jackson (5-9, 151) prepares for his third season as the team’s starting quarterback, Hundley noted the offense should have a new look this fall.
The team will continue to utilize its power running game, but will also emphasize a passing game.
Jackson, who missed the first three games last season with a knee injury, completed 28-of-70 passes for 305 yards and one touchdown.
“The main focus this year is getting everybody to be together as a team,” Jackson said. “We can’t get anybody hurt and we have to pull everybody together. People getting hurt last year really hurt us. Even if someone goes out, we have to stick together as a team.”
Seniors Tanner Seago (5-8, 190), who rushed for 247 yards and two touchdowns on 61 carries, and Ricky Kovatch (6-2, 230) return in the backfield.
Senior Marshall Burkhart (6-1, 190), who was featured in the backfield last season (50 carries for 269 yards), is expected to play wide receiver this fall. Burkhart will play lacrosse at Johns Hopkins University.
Seniors Benjamin Hartman (6-1, 170) and Adam Can (6-1, 175), and juniors Cody Burris (6-0, 185), Jeffrey Robison (6-0, 175) and Robert Carmona (6-0, 170) will be other targets at wide receiver for Jackson. Senior Tyler Kiste (5-11, 185) will play tight end.
The offensive line will include seniors Jordan Foreman (5-7, 210) and Jon Vogel (6-4, 275), and juniors David Harless (6-0, 190) and Spencer Breseman (6-3, 205).
Kovatch, who was named to the OCC-Cardinal first team last season, should anchor the defense at linebacker.
“We have to get the defense and the offense to play together as a team,” Kovatch said. “We just have to go out there and have fun. It’s all about having fun. Sometimes we think too much and we’ll just make stupid mistakes.”
Senior Tyler Mordecai (6-3, 210), another Johns Hopkins lacrosse recruit, will be featured on the defensive line. Sophomores Chris Bahr (6-0, 230) and Steve Mehrer (6-0, 208) should join Seago in the trenches.
Senior Christian Castilla (6-0, 190) will play linebacker.
The secondary should feature Burkhart (free safety), Burris (free safety), senior Cory Gasparro (5-11, 180, cornerback), and juniors Connor Rosenbaum (5-11, 180, outside safety) and Mike Adolph (5-10, 169, outside safety).
Vogel, senior Ben Kasper (6-1, 160), junior Josh Green (6-1, 168) and sophomore Eric Ruhl (6-1, 152) are contending for the punting and kicking duties. Kasper and Green are members of the school’s soccer team.
“We have talent on the team, but we’re not deep,” Hundley said. “We’re still not where we should be with numbers and we don’t have the depth that we should have, but they know that we have talent at every position if everybody plays together.”
Last season, Jerome finished fifth in the division (1-4) behind Pickerington Central (5-0), Westerville South (3-2), Olentangy (3-2) and Worthington Kilbourne (3-2) and ahead of Mount Vernon (0-5).
Hundley again sees Central as a team to beat in the division. The Tigers reached the Division II state finals last season, falling to Piqua 26-7.
“We’re a Division II team playing a Division I schedule,” Hundley said. “Our schedule is murder. Our schedule is tough and the question is are these guys going to step up to that level of the schedule.”