During its first nine seasons, the Pickerington High School North football team had a total of two games in which one of its running backs rushed for at least 200 yards.
After three games of their 10th season, the Panthers now have five such performances thanks to senior Godwin Igwebuike.
The Northwestern recruit put together his third consecutive game of more than 200 yards rushing while leading North to a 41-13 victory over visiting Fremont Ross on Sept. 7 in the first meeting between the programs.
Igwebuike finished with 223 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries, with 209 yards and the four scores coming in the first half. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery.
North improved to 3-0 and Ross dropped to 2-1.
“We’ve been working hard all year and of course our line has stepped up a lot,” Igwebuike said. “I’ve been working a lot on my burst.”
Igwebuike showed his explosiveness on the first play from scrimmage, breaking through a hole virtually untouched for a 65-yard touchdown after receiving an option pitch.
After Ross scored on its third offensive play on a 25-yard run by Jabree Lather, the teams exchanged touchdowns late in the opening quarter.
North backup quarterback Zeph Miller hit Tanner Gillum for a 52-yard reception with 3 minutes, 10 seconds to go in the first quarter and then ran for a 9-yard touchdown three plays later to make it 14-7.
Ross’ Dylan Starks returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to make it 14-13, but the Little Giants missed the extra point and didn’t score again.
Igwebuike added touchdown runs of 20, 39 and 41 yards before the end of the first half to help the Panthers build a 34-13 lead.
Miller finished 4-for-6 passing for 85 yards and starting quarterback Mason Olszewski threw for 118 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to Jamie Hence.
Lather rushed for 182 yards on 26 carries to lead Ross.
“Godwin’s special, and I’m just happy with our defense only giving up seven points,” North coach Tom Phillips said.
PN--Igwebuike 65 run (Holland kick)
FR--Lather 25 run (Relfer kick)
PN--Miller 9 run (Holland kick)
FR--Dylan Starks 95 kickoff return (kick failed)
PN--Igwebuike 20 run (Holland kick)
PN--Igwebuike 39 run (Holland kick)
PN--Igwebuike 41 run (pass failed)
PN--Hence 64 pass from Olszewski (Holland kick)