The Pickerington High School Central football team used a slew of offensive contributors to take advantage of mistakes by Marion-Franklin and win a game between perennial playoff contenders 45-24 on Aug. 31.
Brent Walton rushed 14 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns, Colby Simkins completed eight of 10 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown and Taco Charlton had a fumble recovery and caught a touchdown pass to help Central improve to 1-1.
Marion-Franklin slipped to 1-1 in its first meeting against Central since it lost to the Tigers 44-20 in the first round of the Division II playoffs in 2004.
“We’ve been working hard all week because we had to sit through a week after we lost,” Charlton said. “Everybody stepped up to win that game. (Marion-Franklin) is a real good team. From Greg Basalyga to Brent Walton, the seniors stepped up.”
The Tigers led 17-16 at halftime and pulled away with a 21-point third quarter.
Simkins hooked up with Charlton for a 15-yard touchdown with 9 minutes, 5 seconds to go in the third.
Marion-Franklin fumbled it away on the next play, and Central took advantage by scoring four plays later on a 1-yard run by Walton to make 31-16.
The Red Devils cut it to 31-24 on a 62-yard run on a direct snap to Joe Alverson with 5:29 to go on the third quarter, but Central responded on the next possession.
Eric Marshall returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to the Marion-Franklin 42, and Brenden Doyle ran for a touchdown on the next play to make it 38-24.
The Tigers sealed the win with a 4-yard run by Jordan Pieczynski with 10:40 remaining.
Alverson rushed for 127 yards and quarterback Corry Benson rushed for 75 yards on 19 attempts. Benson passed for 96 yards and one touchdown in the first half but didn’t complete a pass during the final two quarters.
“That’s a good football team and we hope they win the rest of their games,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. “It was a physical game.”
“It felt like at the beginning that we had them and in the second half I don’t know what happened,” Marion-Franklin wide receiver and defensive back Darien Williams said.
MF--Alverson 10 pass from Benson (Benson run)
PC--Walton 2 run (McMillin kick)
PC--Basalyga 28 run (McMillin kick)
MF--Benson 26 run (Alverson pass from Benson)
PC--McMillin 26 FG
PC--Charlton 15 pass from Simkins (McMillin kick)
PC--Walton 1 run (McMillin kick)
MF--Alverson 62 run (Alverson run)
PC--Doyle 42 run (McMillin kick)
PC--Pieczynski 4 run (McMillin kick)