The Westerville Central High School football team secured the program’s first postseason berth with a 20-7 win over host Dublin Jerome on Friday, Oct. 28.
The Warhawks are 8-2 overall and finished 5-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, tying Olentangy Liberty and Westerville South for the league title.
The Celtics finished 4-6 and 2-5.
Central entered the game fourth in the Division I, Region 3 computer ratings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
Central earned the program’s first league title since 2006. Liberty earned a share of the title with a 40-35 win over South on Oct. 28.
“This team is ready,” Central senior quarterback and linebacker Cody Kondas said. “We definitely know what it takes to win. I think everyone knows we have what it takes to win some games (in the playoffs). We’ll definitely be ready for next week.”
The Warhawks led 7-0 at halftime and took control in the second half. On the first possession after halftime, the Warhawks went 86 yards on 13 plays and scored on a 1-yard run by Kondas with 7 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
Central scored on another long drive on its next possession. Kondas connected with Max Shawver for a 12-yard touchdown four seconds into the fourth quarter, capping an 11-play, 84-yard drive.
Kondas completed 11 of 20 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
The Celtics avoided the shutout when Joe Bano and senior wide receiver Cameron Wilson teamed up for a 38-yard touchdown with 2:20 remaining.
Junior Donovan Wilson, Cameron’s brother, had 159 yards rushing on 39 carries for Jerome.
“That was our game plan going in,” Jerome coach Mark Hundley said. “We wanted to pound Donovan at them because we knew that they were a fast defense, an aggressive defense, and we didn’t think we had enough speed to outrun them. We thought we had to pound Donovan and that’s what we did.”
A Jerome turnover led to the first half’s lone score.
Alfred Colson recovered a Cameron Wilson fumble on a punt return, giving the Warhawks the ball at the Jerome 41-yard line. Five plays later, Kondas scored on a 6-yard run with 9:24 left in the second quarter.
“These seniors got it done,” Central coach John Magistro said. “Since day one, since we started (last) December, this is what they wanted. They were willing to do whatever it took to get it done. I can’t say enough about them.”
The game was delayed approximately 20 minutes in the fourth quarter when Jerome senior linebacker Austin Duncan sustained an apparent shoulder injury. Duncan was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons, according to Hundley.
WESTERVILLE CENTRAL 0 7 7 6 -- 20
DUBLIN JEROME 0 0 0 7 -- 7
WC--Kondas 6 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Kondas 1 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Shawver 12 pass from Kondas (kick failed)
DJ--C. Wilson 38 pass from Bano (M. Keller kick)