Dublin Scioto has missed the playoffs two straight years and the Irish are determined to get back in the postseason this season behind RB/SS and Ohio State recruit Bradley McDougald.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB/SS Bradley McDougald (6-1, 190, Sr.), WR/DB Ayodeji Olatoye (6-2, 180, Sr.), OG Jason Tiemeier (6-0, 255, Sr.), P/K Ranier Duzan (5-11, 170, Sr.), WR Stacey Blunt (6-1, 170, Jr.), QB/RB Charlie Suich (5-11, 185, Jr.), DE Grant Pleasant (6-2, 215, Jr.), TE Jamare Mills (6-5, 240, So.), OT Chris Latimer (6-1, 255, Jr.).
2007 Record: 6-4
Dublin Scioto has missed the playoffs two straight years and the Irish are determined to get back in the postseason this season.
McDougald is one of the best players in the state and has already accepted a scholarship to Ohio State. He will likely be a safety in college, but he is Scioto’s bell cow at running back. Last season, he rushed for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“He’s very physical and fast on offense and defense,” Dublin Scioto head coach Karl Johnson said. “He was just a pure running back until about the fifth game last year. We had an injury and Bradley then played full-time on offense and defense. He is a real good offensive player, but when people saw just how physical he was as a DB, the recruiting picked up even more. He had several top scholarship offers and picked Ohio State.”
Another RB/DB to keep an eye on is Olatoye who has only played football since his sophomore year and was a two-way starter last year.
Tiemeier will be a three-year starter and he will help anchor the offensive line. The other key returnee up front is Latimer who is a force at tackle.
Suich will likely take over as the starting quarterback this season. He was 9-0 as the freshman QB two years ago and was the backup varsity QB a year ago.
Blunt is an “up and comer at wide receiver” according to Johnson and really turned heads at national recruiting combines during the summer.
Pleasant “exploded in the weight room and should have a big year” according to Johnson.
Duzan returns as the kicker and punter and will be entering his third season as a first-teamer.
“You can’t overemphasize a guy coming back that can punt and kick well,” Johnson said.
Other returning starters for the Irish include: WR Nic Bowles (5-10, 170, Sr.), DE/OLB Geiger Abbington (5-11, 190, Sr.) and OLB Alex Gordon (5-10, 175, Jr.).
Expected to start for first time this season are WR Marco St. John (6-3, 180, Sr.) and TE/DE Tyler Harrell (6-3, 225, Sr.).
“Our goals are going to be the same each year,” Johnson said. “We want to win our league and if we do that, we’ll be in the playoffs, especially with an eight-team league. I don’t think you have to win the league to make the playoffs, but you have to be in the hunt. We’ve been in hunt every year, but the last two years we’ve not made it back in playoffs. So, this year we want to focus on winning the league and then let the other stuff take care of itself. Only one team is going to win state; winning the league is very difficult as well.”
Dublin Scioto has not won a league championship since 2003. However, led by McDougald and a host of other returning players, confidence levels are high at Scioto.
“We should be very competitive in our league,” Johnson said. “Our schedule is tough. We were 6-4 last year and we were beaten by the D-III state champion (Big Walnut), the D-I state semifinalist (Dublin Coffman) and a playoff qualifier (Olentangy Liberty). I think Olentangy Liberty and Westerville South have to be two of the favorites to win our league.
“We play a very new schedule in 2008 with seven new opponents including Grove City, Toledo Central Catholic, Westerville Central, Westerville South, Westerville North, as well as Dublin Jerome.”
Johnson explained what he feels best about regarding his 2008 team.
“We’re very athletic,” he said. “But the big thing for us is going to be how the team comes together. If everyone on team buys into the plan and goes full speed ahead, we can be pretty good. I know we’re going to be athletic, but there is a difference between being an athletic team and a good team. Good teams play together and win big games. But athletically, we’ll have some guys.”
If the Irish are able to make the playoffs, they know it will be difficult advancing in the Division II, Region 7 bracket.
“I think what makes our playoff region so tough is there is such a wide range of teams from the state,” Johnson said. “It makes it tough to get in if you’re a Columbus team. I thought we were a very good team last year and we needed one more win to get in. (Columbus) Watterson needed one more win. Columbus only got two teams in. If we could have gotten in, I think we cold have played with anybody. Not beaten anybody, but played with anybody.”
Johnson is entering his ninth season at the helm and owns a career mark of 61-30.
8/22 at Grove City
8/29 Toledo Central Catholic
9/5 Worthington Kilbourne
9/12 Lewis Center Olentangy
9/19 Westerville South
9/26 at Westerville North
10/3 at Westerville Central
10/10 Powell Olentangy liberty
10/17 at Dublin Jerome