The Pickerington High School North football team spoiled defending Division III state champion Watterson's return to the field Friday, Aug. 26, with a 38-3 victory.
The host Panthers fell behind 3-0 when Watterson's Brennan Clegg made a 39-yard field goal with 5 minutes, 15 seconds to go in the opening quarter but put together a 75-yard scoring drive on the ensuing possession.
Godwin Igwebuike ran for a 43-yard touchdown to make it 7-3, and the Panthers added 17 second-quarter points. North entered 0-3 all-time against the Eagles.
"When we gained some field, we gained momentum," North coach Tom Phillips said. "(Watterson is) a disciplined team and I was worried about their play-action, but I thought we played outstanding (defense) against them."
North took a 14-3 lead when quarterback Zach Olszewski threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Roland Ladipo with 10:30 left in the second quarter.
A turnover by Watterson led to the Panthers' next score. Stephon Goodwin intercepted a pass from Eagles quarterback Andy Elberson and returned it 35 yards to the Watterson 1 with 6:22 left in the first half. Olszewski ran it in on the next play to make it 21-3.
Zach Monhollen made a 49-yard field goal on the final play of the first half for a 24-3 lead. It was the longest field goal in school history, Phillips said.
The Panthers increased the lead to 31-3 with 1:04 to go in the third quarter on a 3-yard run by Alston Robertson. During the drive, Olszewski hit Jamie Hence for 32 yards.
"We've got to get better," Eagles coach Dan Bjelac said. "We had some growing pains that showed."
WATTERSON 3 0 0 0 -- 3
PICKERINGTON NORTH 7 17 7 7 -- 38
W--Clegg 39 FG
PN--Igwebuike 43 run (Monhollen kick)
PN--Ladipo 19 pass from Olszewski (Monhollen kick)
PN--Z. Olszewski 1 run (Monhollen kick)
PN--Monhollen 49 FG
PN--Robertson 3 run (Monhollen kick)
PN--Chambers 7 run (Holland kick)