Record-wise, Pickerington North and Reynoldsburg are at the same place - 4-1 overall. But in other aspects, the Panthers and Raiders might be approaching their Friday, Sept. 30, OCC-Ohio Division meeting at Reynoldsburg differently.
Record-wise, Pickerington North and Reynoldsburg are at the same place - 4-1 overall.
But in other aspects, the Panthers and Raiders might be approaching their Friday, Sept. 30, OCC-Ohio Division meeting at Reynoldsburg differently.
North was 4-0 for the first time in the program's eight-year history, but Pickerington Central's last-minute scoring drive propelled the Tigers to a 24-21 win Sept. 23.
Reynoldsburg is coming off a 36-10 rout of winless Newark. The Raiders hadn't been 4-1 since 2001, the only season they've made the playoffs. Since then, they hadn't had a winning record at the halfway point of the regular season.
"I was yelling at them a little bit (after the Newark game and telling them not to) celebrate four wins," said Raiders coach Buddy White, whose team is 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio. "We still have a lot of work to do, especially if we want to talk about beating a team the caliber of Pickerington North. You know our kids are going to be pumped. They're going to be excited (this) weekend and I don't know whether we'll win or lose, but I guarantee we're going to come in expecting to win."
Reynoldsburg has followed a balanced formula the entire season. Junior Kumar Collins rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns against Newark, and classmate Mykel Traylor-Bennett, usually a standout receiver, added another 111 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
While North fell to 0-5 against Central, it is 3-0 against Reynoldsburg (27-13 in 2008, 17-7 in 2009 and 45-14 in 2010). The Panthers' myriad standouts include running back Godwin Igwebuike, quarterback Zach Olszewski, running back Alston Robertson, wide receiver Seth Gamby and offensive lineman Pat Elflein, an Ohio State verbal commitment.
Their diversity will be unlike most teams that Reynoldsburg has faced this season, but North coach Tom Phillips feels the same way about the Raiders, whose offense is run by sophomore Jordan Aekins.
"We won't have time to recover because our league is outstanding," said Phillips, whose team is 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio. "I have no doubt that our kids will be ready for the 'Burg (this) week."