The Pickerington High School Central football team did something Friday, Sept. 16 that a Jay Sharrett-coached team had never done before, win a game at Lancaster.
Behind three first-half rushing touchdowns and a dominant defense the Tigers defeated Lancaster 21-0 to open OCC-Ohio Division play. The victory was also Central's first of the season as the Tigers improved to 1-2.
The loss dropped Lancaster to 2-2 overall and was its fifth loss in the last six games of the series. It also was the second in a row by shutout.
In 2010, Central defeated Lancaster 26-0.
"We've never beaten Lancaster at Lancaster," Sharrett said. "It's the first time we've done that. We wanted to make sure we took care of business, and that's what we did. To get out of here with a win, we've had some battles with Lancaster, it's just nice to get a lead and just try to sit on it and get that clock going in the second half."
Central's defense held Lancaster to 115 total yards.
"It's tough to win here, coach (Rob) Carpenter always has his guys prepared and ready to play and you have to come play four quarters. I think that's what our guys did. Two tough losses to start the year, to bounce back and win your first league game, I'm pretty happy about that."
Central's first touchdown was a 5-yard run by sophomore Jordan Pieczynski with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Pieczynski's score capped a drive that was highlighted by a 31-yard pass for a first down on a faked punt.
With a fourth-and-short and the ball on its own 32-yard line, Zach Beaver, the Central up-back in the punt formation, connected with Jake Raymond.
"Every play is a big play in this game," Carpenter said. "They caught us off guard. We didn't match their emotion, and we didn't match their physicality tonight. We got to get back on track."
Central's Billy Eakins rushed for 76 yards on seven carries including a 7-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the second quarter to push the lead to 14-0.
Jake Kincaid closed the scoring on a 1-yard run with six seconds remaining in the half.
Lancaster fullback Luke Roberts rushed for 47 yards on 11 carries and Russ King added 40 yards on 13 attempts. The Gales were without starting quarterback Riley Theiss, starting running back Ethan Bond and starting center Clayton Happeney. Theiss, who missed the contest with a concussion, is expected back Friday, Sept. 23, when the Gales travel to Gahanna (3-1 overall, 1-0 in the OCC).
Central will play host to Pickerington North (4-0, 1-0).
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL 7 14 0 0 -- 21
LANCASTER 0 0 0 0 -- 0
PC--Pieczynski 5 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Eakins 7 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Kincaid 1 run (Raymond kick)