Groveport-Madison and Dublin Coffman have a lot of momentum heading into the midpoint of the regular season as both stand undefeated.
One thing is for sure – though – is one team will remain undefeated after this week and the other will have its first loss of the season when Groveport hosts Coffman in the Game of the Week.
If improving on last season was the goal coming into this
season for Groveport-Madison, the Cruisers are already well-ahead of schedule.
Coming of its first playoff win in school history in 2007,
Groveport finished a disappointing 4-6 last year. The Cruisers have already
matched last season’s win total heading into this week’s match up with Dublin
“There was a lot of work put into (the successful start to
the season),” head coach Tim Brown said. “These kids have made a lot of
sacrifices and are in great shape.”
Groveport (4-0) lost four games by a touchdown or less last
season, which Brown attributed to turnovers and penalties. He and his staff
focused on that in the offseason.
“So far, we’ve been disciplined taking care of the
football,” he said. “When you have a lot of turnovers, it is hard to beat
anybody in our conference.”
He said it all begins in practice.
“If you have a penalty (in practice), the coaches call the
penalty and you do 25 up-downs. If you have a turnover, you do 50 up-downs,”
Brown explained. “So, we just became very strict because in the game of football
there is not much room for error. So, our practices became a little tighter.
“And, of course, we had some returning starters and some
really good talent.”
The bell-cow for Groveport has been, well, LeVeon Bell. He
has 97 carries on the season for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns and has scholarship
offers to Bowling Green, Marshall and Eastern Michigan with interest from the
Big Ten and the Big East.
“He contributes all the way around,” said Brown. “LeVeon is
a great athlete and has great size and great speed. Probably more so than
anything, he has great vision. He can see what needs to be done offensively and
defensively and on special teams.
“He just has great confidence in his abilities and he backs
up that confidence with good play most of the time.”
Quarterback was a position Groveport solidified with
sophomore Shane Denny after he started the last three games of the season last
year. He is 22-of-39 passing on the season for 386 yards, four touchdowns and an
interception. He also has 94 yards rushing on 19 carries.
“Shane has done a great job and that has helped us a lot as
well not having turnovers having a true quarterback,” said Brown.
Defensive end Kwan Bailey, running back/defensive back
Jamon Hayes and running back/defensive back Ricardo Rigsbee – all seniors – have
also provided swagger for Groveport.
“We have no problem with confidence with this group and
with all these kids on this team, confidence has never bee a problem,” said
Brown. “We might have had to teach them the difference between confidence and
conceit a couple times but they are great kids and have matured. They have all
learned the difference and they work hard.”
Groveport will need to carry that confidence in to this
week’s match up as the Cruisers play host to Coffman for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Coffman (4-0) is also off to a blazing start averaging 44.3
points per game.
Junior quarterback Cole Stoudt is falling right in line
with his bloodlines throwing for 700 yards on 57-of-93 passing with seven
touchdowns and an interception in the Shamrocks spread offense.
He already has a scholarship offer to Louisville where his
older brother Zach, a Coffman graduate, is a quarterback. Their father, Cliff,
was a longtime quarterback in the NFL.
“(Stoudt) goes out and gives a lot poise to that position,
he has a good group of receivers and that offensive line is doing their job
keeping people off of him,” Brown said.
Running back Shaun Jones is a Division I college prospect
and compliments Coffman’s aerial game well toting the ball for the Shamrocks.
“Their offense has been putting a lot of points on the
board and we’re going to have to use our athleticism to try and take care of
that,” Brown said
Oh yeah, and Coffman has three shutouts this season
allowing only 13 points.
Bell and Denny will have to have career nights against the
“Defensively, they are very sound. It’s a
bend-but-don’t-break type of defense. Their kids are very technically sound and
are very well coached,” said Brown. “You’ve got to take what they give you and
try to get some mismatches if possible but that is hard to do when they have a
solid team like that have.”
With what Coffman brings to the field both offensively and
defensively, Brown said this game will be the toughest challenge his Cruisers
have faced all season.
“I think they’re the best team we seen so far,” he said. “I
think all of our games have prepared us for this but Coffman has a very unique
blend of size and speed and coachability.
“To beat a team like this will be a daunting task for
anyone and we’re going to try to be the first ones to do that.”
Official Fantastic 50 Prediction: #8 Dublin Coffman by 9 (73%) at #31 Groveport-Madison
Coffman head coach Mark Crabtree was unavailable for
comment for this story due to a family matter. Our thoughts here at JJ’s Ohio High are with
Crabtree and his family.