After defeating winless Groveport and Newark the past two weeks, Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan knows his team will receive an upgrade in competition when it plays host to Pickerington Central on Friday, Oct. 11.
The Tigers should have extra motivation as they look to bounce back from their first OCC-Ohio Division loss of the season, a 49-14 setback at undefeated Pickerington North on Oct. 4.
The Tigers fell behind 28-0 in the first quarter.
"The schedule gets tougher," Jordan said. "We have Pick Central coming in this week for our homecoming game. They're going to be madder and crazy because of what happened to them (Oct. 4). We have to be ready to go, but the whole idea is it's October and we're playing for something."
Central has dominated the series in recent seasons, winning the last five meetings by an average margin of more than 24 points. The Tigers won last season 28-7.
Grove City's last win in the series was a 12-6 overtime victory in 2005.
The Dawgs are 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio, while the Tigers are 3-2 and 2-1.
Senior quarterback Colby Simkins leads Central's offense, having completed 43 of 97 passes for 798 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
"Their quarterback is a returning starter and he throws a great ball," Jordan said. "He has some good receivers to throw the ball to."
Running back Isaiah Richmond rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries against North. He also is a key defensive player at linebacker.
"We've had two weeks of kind of do whatever we wanted to do," Jordan said. "We have to continue with that momentum. It's going to be tough sledding on Friday night, but we just have to stick to the plan, execute and tackle really well, tackle well in space and really execute on offense and do the right things. It's going to be a good game. It's what high school football is all about come October."
The Dawgs defeated Newark 48-7 on Oct. 4 while rushing for 453 yards. Corey Williams had 145 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and Ike Pack added 106 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Quarterback Cameron Meece rushed for 81 yards on seven carries and completed eight of 10 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.
For the season, Meece has completed 46 of 62 passes for 420 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 637 yards and eight touchdowns on 101 carries.
Williams has rushed for 470 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries, and wide receiver Paul Saunders has 10 catches for 123 yards.
"It definitely should be tougher this week, but we're all looking forward to it and we all think we can win," Williams said. "We're just hoping that we can come out and do what we're supposed to do. They did lose to Pick North and they realize they have to win out to make it to the playoffs and that's what we have to do too, so it should be a good game."
Central Crossing to visit Coffman
Central Crossing travels to Dublin Coffman on Friday, Oct. 11, looking to end a three-game losing streak.
The Comets lost at Upper Arlington 41-7 on Oct. 4 to fall to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Central.
The Comets trailed 14-7 at halftime.
"We just try to do what we do and get better at what we're doing for the future and with our young kids," coach Chris Harr said. "We lost another one, but the game was a lot more competitive than what the score shows."
Coffman has won two consecutive games and is 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Central.
The Shamrocks lead the series with the Comets 6-0, including a 53-6 win last season. The closest game came in 2008, when Coffman won 27-0.
The Shamrocks defeated Thomas Worthington 28-16 on Oct. 4 after trailing 16-14 at halftime.
Running back Dre Kendrick rushed for 213 yards on 19 carries with touchdowns of 80, 18 and 13 yards.
"They're a traditional powerhouse in the area," Harr said of Coffman. "They run a spread type of offense as what we see every day in the summer and in camps against ourselves. We just have to execute a little bit better more consistently."
For Central Crossing, quarterback Luke Duncan has completed 101 of 170 passes for 1,001 yards with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushed for 501 yards and five touchdowns on 108 carries.
Noah Stephens has 41 catches for 430 yards and three touchdowns and Michael Traversa has 31 catches for 372 yards and a touchdown.