The Westerville Central High School football team needed a number of things to go its way Oct. 26 in order to make the Division I, Region 3 playoffs.
Whether or not all those things happened, the Warhawks proved they wanted to keep playing.
In three overtimes, the host Warhawks defeated Dublin Jerome 24-21 when senior Charlie Moushey caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jared Drake in the left corner of the end zone on a third-and-8 play. Moushey faked a slant and, despite getting turned around, made a sliding catch of Drake’s underthrown pass.
It was the first time the Warhawks played an overtime game at home.
“I am so proud of these kids, I just can’t tell you,” Central coach John Magistro said. “We had several guys making their first starts tonight because of our walking wounded. They just kept battling.
“Charlie’s catch was exactly what we’ve talked about all season, fighting to the end. He dropped a sure touchdown in the first overtime that would have won it. He also had a few other drops in this rain, but he kept his head in there and kept battling and made the biggest play.”
Central improved to 7-3 overall and finished 4-3 in OCC-Cardinal Division play. Jerome finished 4-6 and 3-4.
The Warhawks fumbled away their first two possessions and trailed until tying the score at 15 on Hunter Robertson’s 30-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in regulation. The field goal was set up when Jordan Bratton blocked a Jerome punt and the Warhawks recovered on the Celtics’ 16-yard line.
Mitchell Keller gave the Celtics an 18-15 lead with a 31-yard field goal in the first overtime. After Moushey’s dropped pass, Robertson kicked a 23-yard field goal.
In the second overtime, Alex Linard blocked a 33-yard field-goal attempt by Robertson and the Celtics had the upper hand. But Keller’s 31-yard field-goal attempt came up short in the wind.
In the third overtime, Jerome had a first-and-goal at the 5 after Keller’s 15-yard run. But a holding penalty on the next play pushed the ball back and the Celtics settled for a 23-yard Keller field goal that made it 21-18.
“We missed an extra point, had a field goal blocked and allowed a two-point conversion pass after a bad snap,” Magistro said. “When we needed big plays, people stepped up. The defense began to slow (Jerome running back Donovan) Wilson in the fourth quarter to allow us the chance to get back into the game and they came up big after we missed the field goal in the second overtime. Everyone contributed and this was just a fun and exciting game.”
Alex Fisher had 31 carries for 120 yards and Drake was 8-for-15 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns, as he also connected with Moushey on a 23-yard scoring play midway through the fourth quarter to pull the Warhawks within 15-12. Moushey had four catches for 75 yards.
Jerome was led by Wilson, who had 161 yards on 52 carries, including touchdowns of 5 and 2 yards.
DJ -- Wilson 5 run (Zamary pass from Romanelli)
WC -- Drake 3 run (run failed)
DJ -- Wilson 2 run (M. Keller kick)
WC -- Moushey 23 pass from Drake (kick failed)
WC -- Robertson 30 FG
DJ -- M. Keller 31 FG
WC -- Robertson 23 FG
DJ -- M. Keller 23 FG
WC -- Moushey 18 pass from Drake