Football

Pickerington North 37, Pickerington Central 0

Panthers crush Tigers for first victory over rival

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Eamon Queeney/The Columbus Dispatch
The Pickerington North team celebrates after beating Pickerington Central 37-0 for the first time Sept. 28.
By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Little brother finally found the strength, power, finesse and resolve to beat big brother.

The Pickerington High School North football team will remember Sept. 28 as the day it stood up to Pickerington Central, as the Panthers beat the host Tigers 37-0 for their first win over their rival in six tries.

Mason Olszewski threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, as North foiled Central’s strategy of putting nine defenders in the box in an attempt to shut down the Panthers’ standout running back, Godwin Igwebuike.

“We took what they gave us and I have a bunch of great receivers,” said Olszewski, who was 18-for-28 passing. “I’m more of a running quarterback, but we were able to throw it around some because my line gave me some time.”

“This is better than I would have dreamed,” said senior tight end Jake Butt, who caught six passes for 76 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown, as his future college coach, Michigan’s Brady Hoke, watched from the stands. “To win by shutout and to score 37 points against a tough Tigers defense is incredible. The difference is that we have a number of threats.”

Igwebuike rushed for 86 yards on 19 carries, but his darting moves on a 32-yard screen pass proved to be the score that knocked some wind out of the Tigers’ sails, as it made it 16-0 in the third quarter.

“We set that play up pretty well and I did make some moves, but the linemen also got me a few nice blocks,” said Igwebuike, who caught three passes for 75 yards. “This is just a great, great feeling to come and win like this for our first win and do it at their place.”

Olszewski and Igwebuike also played well on defense, as each intercepted Central quarterback Colby Simkins.

The Panthers totaled 428 yards and had a 21-9 margin in first downs as they improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Central had 142 yards before the benches were cleared with around two minutes remaining.

“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” said Central coach Jay Sharrett, whose team fell to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. “In the first half, they hemmed us in and didn’t give us much field position. Defensively, I thought we played pretty well in the first half against a good team that has a lot of weapons.”

North pulled away with a 21-point fourth quarter. After Butt’s touchdown made it 23-0 with 6:50 remaining, Olszewski connected on a 51-yard scoring pass to Tanner Gillum with 5:44 left. Cortez Goodwin tacked on a 14-yard scoring run with 1:26 left.

The Panthers took a 10-0 lead on their first two possessions as Karch Holland kicked a 32-yard field goal and Olszewski threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Justin Childers.

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final
PICKERINGTON NORTH 10 0 6 21 37
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL 0 0 0 0 0

PN--Holland 32 FG
PN--Childers 33 pass from Olszewski (Holland kick)
PN--Igwebuike 32 pass from Miller (kick failed)
PN--Butt 13 pass from Olszewski (Holland kick)
PN-- Gillum 51 pass from Olszewski (Holland kick)
PN--Goodwin 14 run (Holland kick)

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