DAYTON -- Throughout the season, the Pickerington High School Central football team used its speed and blitzing schemes to dominate its opponents.
But the Tigers finally ran into an offense that was too big and too balanced to contain in a Division I state semifinal Saturday in Welcome Stadium as Cincinnati Elder rallied from a 10-point deficit to win 24-10.
The Panthers improved to 13-1 and will play Cleveland St. Ignatius in the final Nov. 29. Central, which gave up a season-high 404 yards of offense, finished 13-1.
"We pass-rushed as hard as we could, but Elder has great size on their offensive line and their quarterback found the right receivers at the right time," coach Jay Sharrett said. "They put together some long drives, and our legs started to get drained in the second half."
Mark Miller was 17-for-26 passing for 251 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers rushed for 153 yards on 37 carries, led by Ben Coffaro with 56 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Coffaro capped a 14-play, 89-yard drive with a 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
On Elder's next possession, Miller threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Josh Jones to make it 21-10.
Central's leading tackler, linebacker Zach Boren, played sparingly in the second half after suffering a leg injury.
"I don't want to make excuses, but Zach's the heart and soul of our defense and we weren't the same after he was hurt," strong safety Jamie Wood said.
Central took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Adam Castin.
An interception by Patrick White at Central's 42-yard line set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Wood to make it 10-0 in the second quarter.
But Nick Gramke scored on a 2-yard run to pull Elder within 10-7 late in the second quarter, and the Panthers rolled in the second half.
"It was nice to get the running game going," Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. "In the first half it didn't look like we could run for a yard. I think we wore them down."
CINCINNATI ELDER 0 7 14 3 -- 24
CENTRAL 3 7 0 0 -- 10
C-Castin 34 FG
C-Wood 5 run (Raymond kick)
E-Gramke 1 run (Miliano kick)
E-Coffaro 22 run (Miliano kick)
E-Jones 64 pass from Miller (Miliano kick)
E-Miliano 34 FG