They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”…and Friday night there was something beautiful from Dublin Jerome’s perspective in its first career win over rival Dublin Coffman.
But the perspective…that’s where the views part company.
That’s why Dublin Jerome coach Brett Glass saw nothing but beauty in a 16-7 victory over cross-town rival Coffman that left Shamrocks coach Geron Stokes unmoved and uninspired.
“I felt it was two average football teams making mistakes all over the field,” Stokes said. “A bunch of average football. That’s what it looked like. We just turned it over and they didn’t.”
Coffman’s two fumbles set up Jerome for its touchdown and first of three field goals, giving the unbeaten Celtics (4-0) all the points they would need for their first career win in the series after six losses.
“Our kids have been saying, ‘Make history,’ all week, writing it on the white board and all that stuff,” Glass said. “You could see the passion of the crowd tonight.
The student sections were filled an hour before the game. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was a long time coming. I’m super proud of our kids and our program.”
Besides the turnovers, Jerome’s ultimate advantage landed on senior running back Luke McLoughlin, who carried 34 times for 159 yards and his team’s only touchdown.
“He’s just tough,” Glass said. “He was a little banged up and didn’t play (much) last week. He didn’t practice much this week, but he’s a competitor. He wasn’t going to miss this game no matter what.”
McLoughlin carried only three times for 13 yards in Jerome’s win at Shaker Heights, but that followed a 34-carry, 247-yard, two-touchdown effort in a Week II win over Toledo Whitmer.
He carried eight times on Jerome’s first possession that ended with its only TD, but Coffman assisted by fumbling a punt at its own 26 after stopping the Celtics near midfield.
“Turnovers,” Stokes said. “You can’t do it. You lose the football game.”
Coffman nearly denied Jerome its early score after the fumble, forcing a fourth-and-two gamble from the 18.
Quarterback Zakk Tschirhart found Aiden Lowry – who recovered the fumbled punt at the 26 – for eight yards to sustain the march that McLoughlin finished with a one-yard scoring run.
Coffman answered with an 80-yard drive that grew off Daven White’s 36-yard catch and run down the right sideline. The Shamrocks took their own fourth-down gamble to get even, 7-7, thanks to Carson Cox’s two-yard touchdown run.
Jaden Cooper’s interception of Tschirhart stopped Jerome’s attempted response, but the Shamrocks gave that back with a fumble at their own 30 three plays later.
McLoughlin carried three times and Marek Tzagournis’ 10-yard reception positioned Carter Holden for a 26-yard field goal and 10-7 halftime lead.
Holden struck again from 22 yards with 1:48 left in the third quarter after both teams went on extended drives that came up short in opposing territory on fourth-down incompletions.
A 28-yard Coffman punt on the next series gave Jerome another short field, starting at the Shamrocks’ 43. McLoughlin’s 24-yard run on the first play and a 12-yard catch from Tzagournis positioned Holden for a 21-yard field goal with 10:19 left that ended the scoring.
“It would have made it a little better if we could have taken advantage of some Red Zone opportunities,” Glass said. “But Carter Holden was huge (with) three field goals. When we made it a two-score game, that took them out of their comfort zone and made them throw a little more.”
That’s not Coffman’s preference, at least not yet in Year Two of Stokes’ regime after leaving Minster, where he went 71-31 in eight years, with two state championships and one runner-up finish.
The Shamrocks like to play the possession game, as evidenced by having the ball 38 minutes to Canton McKinley’s 13 last week in Coffman’s 28-26 victory.
No one knows that better than Glass, who like Stokes is in his second year in the Dublin system. Glass lost their first meeting last year, 49-42 in overtime, despite returning three kickoffs for touchdowns.
“Last year gave me nightmares,” Glass said. “They ran 90 plays and we had 30. So, we’ve seen that before where they run the ball. We saw that tonight, but the turnovers were absolutely huge.”
As was McLoughlin, who now has 99 carries for 585 yard and six TDs through four games.
“The way he led us with just tough running…the second half they knew we were going to run the ball and it didn’t matter.” Glass said. “He was going to get four or five yards.”
Stokes can certainly appreciate toughness, but in the fog of a loss his team’s mistakes invited, he stayed on that topic when asked about McLoughlin’s workhorse effort.
“Everybody looked slow,” he said. “Everybody looked undisciplined. Just two average football teams. That’s what it honestly felt like.
“No one could score. It wasn’t because they were playing great defense. It looked like two average football teams.”
Bruce Hooley hosts the Bruce Hooley Show from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday on 94.5 FM The Answer in Dayton and 98.9 FM The Answer in Columbus.