The first two drives for the Gahanna Lincoln High School football team in the first half started from inside the 5-yard line. The Lions’ Sante Cook decided to return the opening kickoff from his own 3 and was gang-tackled at the 1. On the second return, Julian Lowe was stopped at the 4 after Gahanna attempted a trick play.
"It was really challenging," Gahanna coach John Snoad said. "We had to make the gut call to just go with what we saw. I thought we did some great things and were able to make some great reads."
•Gahanna's first-quarter field goal marked the first points Pickerington Central had allowed in the first quarter all season
•At halftime, Central had 191 total yards to Gahanna's 76 yards, and the Tigers also forced one turnover when Marcus Milton intercepted a Tyler Grassman pass.
"One thing our guys have done is tackle well all season," Central coach Jay Sharrett said. "Gahanna was able to hit a few creases on us with some nice passes, but our guys did a good job tackling in the open field."
•Central was called for 16 penalties for 166 yards. One penalty negated a first-half scoring play by Jake Raymond, and another wiped out a long run by Billy Eakins in the third quarter.
"We play a lot of playoff games," Sharrett said. "Playoff officials usually let the kids decide it on the field and I was surprised by some of the calls. Give credit to our kids, though. They bounced back and overcame.”
•Devone Penick led the Tigers with 161 yards rushing on 12 carries including touchdowns runs of 30, 36 and 7 yards.
"My receivers were blocking really good downfield," Penick said. “The receivers did a good job blocking downfield and the line was able to get downfield as well. We were just playing good on offense. Everybody was clicking."