The year of firsts continued for the Pickerington High School North football team.
Playing in its first Division I, Region 3 title game Nov. 17 at Ohio Wesleyan, North defeated Hilliard Davidson 21-0 to advance to a state semifinal game against Cincinnati Moeller on Saturday, Nov. 24, at a site to be determined. Two weeks ago, the Panthers earned the program’s first postseason win after beating Pickerington Central 24-0 on Nov. 3.
“I’m happy for the seniors, the program, the community,” North coach Tom Phillips said. “It is special. We have to continue to have that drive and stay hungry.”
North improved to 12-1. Davidson, which was making its fifth consecutive regional final appearance, finished 10-3.
North led 7-0 at halftime and extended its lead to 14-0 when reserve quarterback Zeph Miller scored on a 30-yard run with 5 minutes, 1 second remaining in the third quarter. The Panthers’ touchdown was set up by a fumble from Davidson running back D.D. Clark. North’s Warren Stoddard recovered that fumble at his team’s 47-yard line and four plays later Miller scored.
Davidson threatened early in the fourth when Nick Waters completed his only pass attempt of the game to Phillipie Motley for a 45-yard gain to North’s 10-yard line. On fourth-and-2, Wildcats running back E.J. Jennings was stopped for no gain by Igwebuike and Mason Olszewski.
The Panthers added a third score on Mason Olszewski’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Godwin Igwebuike with 4:28 left in the game.
North took a 7-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first quarter when Igwebuike capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Igwebuike finished with 49 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Olszewski finished 9-for-15 passing for 101 yards with a touchdown and an interception and he rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries.
Davidson senior running back Jennings, who was playing with a broken bone in his right foot suffered in a 29-14 win over Olentangy on Nov. 10, finished with 41 yards on 17 carries. Clark led Davidson with 98 yards on 24 carries.
“If we play a perfect game at full strength we’re still going to struggle mightily to beat them,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “We played as bad as we have in the last couple of weeks. Obviously, we weren’t at full strength, so that really didn’t give us much of a chance.”
PN – Igwebuike 3 run (Holland kick)
PN – Miller 30 run (Holland kick)
PN – Igwebuike 8 pass from Olszewski (Holland kick)