A freshman not listed on the Pickerington High School Central football team’s roster to begin the season, Devon McMillin looked like a grizzled veteran Sept. 22 at Reynoldsburg after enduring the ultimate icing-the-kicker situation.
The night before, lightning suspended play between a tying touchdown by Central with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining and McMillin’s extra-point try.
When play resumed, McMillin calmly kicked what would be the winning point of a 21-20 victory.
“I had over eight hours to think about it,” McMillin said. “I got home and just tried to relax for a bit. It was pretty nice putting it through. I wasn’t too worried about it.”
A combination of poor field position and a Central defense that had two tackles for losses on the final drive sealed the win as the Tigers improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
Reynoldsburg, which slipped to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the league and has lost 11 in a row in the series with Central, led 20-7 heading into the final period.
Central cut it to 20-14 on a 5-yard touchdown run by Nygel Hairston with 9:54 left.
The Raiders were on the verge of increasing the lead during the final minutes, but on fourth down from the Central 2, Kumar Collins was stopped by Isaiah Richmond and Greg Basalyga for a 1-yard loss.
Reynoldsburg kicker Nick Hedrick, who got hurt while missing a first-quarter extra point, was not available to try a field goal, and coach Buddy White reasoned it would be difficult for Central to drive 97 yards if his team failed to get into the end zone.
On the ensuing drive, however, Central moved to its own 41 on a 20-yard reception by Eric Marshall. Reynoldsburg later was whistled for pass interference to move the ball to the Raiders’ 49, and Central quarterback Colby Simkins found Andrew Meyer in the end zone for a touchdown.
It was the first catch this season for Meyer, who has been out with back and glute injuries.
“Colby came up to me a couple plays earlier and said he was going to get me the ball,” Meyer said. “I was like, ‘All right. I’ll be ready.’”
After play resumed, Reynoldsburg was whistled for offside as McMillin attempted the extra point. On the second attempt, McMillin’s kick went through the uprights and the Raiders were charged with a 15-yard penalty for hitting the center. The penalty was assessed on the kickoff.
McMillin kicked off from the Reynoldsburg 45, and the Raiders’ Mykel Traylor-Bennett was stuffed at his own 11. Reynoldsburg moved to its 33 before the clock ran out.
Taco Charlton was in on two tackles for losses during the Raiders’ final drive, and Basalyga contributed to one.
“That was a hard one,” White said. “Who would have thought they’d go down (97) yards on us to score? We had it set up to block the extra point, but we just didn’t block it. This is hard because we had this one.”
Ken Kitchen contributed to this report.
R--Traylor-Bennett 40 pass from Aekins (kick failed)
PC--Gordon 4 run (McMillin kick)
R--Collins 5 run (Watkins kick)
R--Green 2 punt return (Watkins kick)
PC--Hairston 5 run (McMillin kick)
PC--Meyer 49 pass from Simkins (McMillin kick)