The Pickerington High School Central football team lost to its second consecutive Cincinnati opponent and headed into a bye week with a 38-21 setback to St. Xavier on Sunday, Sept. 4, in the opening game of Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic at Ohio State.
The Bombers, who are ranked 25th by USA Today and as high as 15th in the nation according to other rankings, overcame four turnovers to improve to 2-0. Central had five turnovers, including two in the fourth quarter.
Conor Hundley rushed for 156 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries and Griffin Dolle was 13-for-23 passing for 188 yards and one touchdown to lead St. Xavier.
"Effort-wise, I couldn't ask for anything more from my team," said Central coach Jay Sharrett, whose team dropped its Aug. 27 opener 14-0 to Cincinnati Moeller. "It was uncharacteristic of them to have that many turnovers and it was uncharacteristic of us. But we have nothing to hang our heads about."
The Tigers took a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 12 seconds left in the opening quarter when Nick Jensen-Clagg hit Roger Lewis for a 43-yard touchdown on third-and-20. The score came after an interception by Addison Clopton.
The Bombers tied it at 7 with 11:36 to go in the first half when Hundley ran in from 3 yards to complete a 42-yard drive.
Central and St. Xavier combined to commit four turnovers during the remainder of the second quarter and went to halftime tied at 7.
On the second play of the third quarter, Billy Eakins had a 78-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
The Bombers responded on the ensuing drive, with a 2-yard run by Hundley tying it at 14. St. Xavier made it 17-14 on a 37-yard field goal by Nick Roemer with 2:41 to go in the third quarter, but Central answered on the next drive with a 39-yard touchdown reception by Lewis.
The Tigers were forced to wait through a 35-minute lightning delay for the extra point before taking a 21-17 lead.
The Bombers went ahead 24-21 with 10 seconds to go in the third when Dolle connected with Evan Ballinger for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
Hundley added touchdown runs of 13 and 10 yards for the Bombers.
"They had a pretty good defensive line and a pretty good running back," Lewis said. "I think we learned a lot from this."
ST. XAVIER 0 7 17 14 -- 38
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL 7 0 14 0 -- 21
PC--Lewis 43 pass from Jensen-Clagg (Raymond kick)
St.X--Hundley 3 run (Roemer kick)
PC--Eakins 78 run (Raymond kick)
St.X--Hundley 2 run (Roemer kick)
St.X--Roemer 37 FG
PC--Lewis 39 pass from Jensen-Clagg (Raymond kick)
St.X--Ballinger 60 pass from Dolle (Roemer kick)
St.X--Hundley 13 run (Roemer kick)
St.X--Hundley 10 run (Roemer kick)