After a sloppy, low-scoring first half, the Pickerington High School Central football team dominated host Groveport in the second half to win an OCC-Ohio Division game 35-0 on Friday, Oct. 7.
The Tigers scored on their first four possessions of the second half.
Central used a balanced attack, passing for 204 yards and rushing for 260 yards while improving to 4-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. It was their fourth consecutive win.
“We came out with a purpose in the second half,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. “We executed well, the backs hit the creases and the wideouts held their blocks.”
Senior running backs Billy Eakins (10 carries, 104 yards, one touchdown) and Devone Penick (nine carries, 90 yards, two touchdowns) led the way for the Tigers.
Senior quarterback Nick Jensen-Clagg was efficient. He completed seven of nine passes for 161 yards and a touchdown.
“We were sloppy in the first half,” Jensen-Clagg said. “We knew we had to clean it up in the second half and be sure to play our game. In the first half, we had silly penalties and mistakes and at the half, we listened to our coaches and just dialed it up in the third quarter.”
The Tigers committed six penalties for 50 yards in the first half, including two that nullified touchdowns.
They finished the game with 10 penalties for 90 yards.
Groveport had 300 total yards but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.
The Cruisers dropped to 3-4 and 1-3.
Quarterback Shane Denny completed eight of 18 passes for 118 yards with two interceptions.
Running back Melvin Smith gained 97 yards in the first half and finished with 116.
“Pickerington Central executed and it was a lack of execution by us,” Groveport coach Tim Brown said. “We committed turnovers and made mistakes and had a lack of execution, and you can’t do that against a good team like that. They also ‘out-athleted’ us and made some plays.”
Central got the scoring started with an eight-play, 85-yard drive on the second possession of the game.
Eakins ran 3 yards on fourth-and-3 from the Groveport 28-yard line. On the next play, Jensen-Clagg passed to Jake Raymond for a 25-yard touchdown with five minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Each team had a first-half touchdown nullified by penalty.
Eakins ran for a 26-yard touchdown 34 seconds into the third quarter.
Five minutes later, Penick ran for an 8-yard touchdown. Three minutes after that, Penick ran for a 5-yard touchdown.
Brent Walton closed the scoring with a 7-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Sharrett said despite the lopsided score, it was a tough game.
“Groveport is a physical team and it was closer than the score would indicate,” he said. “There are some tough kids for Groveport, but they have lower numbers and may have worn down a little in the second half.”
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL 7 0 21 7 -- 35
GROVEPORT 0 0 0 0 -- 0
PC--Raymond 25 pass from Jensen-Clagg (Raymond kick)
PC--Eakins 26 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Penick 8 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Penick 5 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Walton 7 run (Raymond kick)