The Pickerington High School Central football team routed visiting Dublin Coffman 55-14 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 5.
The Tigers won their eighth consecutive game to improve to 8-2 and will face Gahanna in a regional semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 12. En route to winning the OCC-Ohio title, Central went on the road to beat Gahanna 28-7 on Sept. 30. The Lions opened the postseason by defeating Westerville Central 38-21.
“We came out clicking and I think we may have caught them a bit down after they lost a couple of games late in the season,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. “Our quarterback (Nick Jensen-Clagg) threw the ball right where he had to, in tight spaces when he needed to, and we hit some big plays early to get a nice halftime lead.”
Central scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to go up 35-0 at the break over Coffman, which finished 8-3.
The Tigers hurt the Shamrocks with three big plays during that stretch, as Devone Penick scored on a 39-yard run, Jensen-Clagg threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Roger Lewis and Billy Eakins scored on a 41-yard run.
Lewis also opened the second half with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We knew we had to make big plays to beat Coffman,” Lewis said. “We work very hard on special teams, because that’s what wins games. I used a burst of speed to get open on my touchdown catch and I got great blocking on my touchdown return.”
Penick, who rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, scored again on a 41-yard run to make it 42-0 with 10 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarter.
“My team gave me nice blocks downfield and made those touchdowns easy for me,” Penick said.
Jensen-Clagg was 6-for-7 passing for 166 yards, and Christian Whitner rushed for 96 yards — including a 78-yard touchdown — on four carries.
With senior wide receiver Marcus Davis out of the lineup for violating a team rule, Coffman struggled offensively.
Coffman quarterback James Walsh was 12-for-17 passing for 125 yards, and the Shamrocks rushed for only 100 yards on 35 carries.
“It was a dominant performance on their part,” Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said. “I don’t know that they’ve played a better game all year. Their offensive line is big and aggressive, and they dominated. Their running backs didn’t get touched until they were 5 yards downfield.”
DUBLIN COFFMAN 0 0 7 7 -- 14
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL 7 28 14 6 -- 55
PC--Kincaid 4 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Eakins 1 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Penick 39 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Lewis 81 pass from Jensen-Clagg (Raymond kick)
PC--Eakins 41 run (Raymond kick)
PC--Lewis 98 kickoff return (Raymond kick)
PC--Penick 41 run (Raymond kick)
DC--Flinders 15 fumble return (Coffman kick)
DC--Knisley 44 pass from Walsh (Coffman kick)
PC--Whitner 78 run (kick failed)