The Pickerington High School Central football team did a little bit of everything during its 39-14 victory over visiting Middletown on Sept. 13.
The Tigers, who had a bye week following a 38-33 loss to Centerville in their opener, rebounded by making plays on offense, forcing turnovers on defense, and even mixing in some trick plays on special teams.
Central (1-1) finished with 388 yards of offense, including 235 rushing on 47 attempts, and 21 first downs. The success on the ground set up the passing game, as senior quarterback Colby Simkins completed seven of 17 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Middletown (1-2) gained 158 total yards and had three turnovers.
“Tonight was a good night for our seniors and our community,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. “We had a very nice night both running and passing, and our defense really did a nice job making sound tackles.”
After falling behind 7-3 with three minutes left in the first quarter, the Tigers scored on their next two possessions to take an 18-7 halftime lead. Senior Isaiah Richmond’s 1-yard touchdown run five minutes into the second quarter was set up by a 41-yard pass from Simkins to junior receiver Eric Marshall on third-and-13. Richmond scored his second touchdown on an 18-yard reception to open the second quarter.
The score came a play after a Central touchdown was called back because of an illegal procedure penalty.
“Our guys showed their poise (on that touchdown),” Sharrett said. “We knew that could be a big moment to get a good advantage on (Middletown) while we had the momentum.”
Junior defensive linemen Stan Parker set up the touchdown with a fumble recovery near midfield. Parker also returned a fumble 1 yard for the Tigers’ final score.
“We knew coming into the game that we could have success against their running game,” Tigers senior defensive back Rudy Stefanitsis said. “Every time another team’s running back has the ball, a Central helmet will be near it and so will 10 other defenders. That’s how we always strive to play on defense.”
In the third quarter, Richmond added a 2-yard scoring run, which was set up by Tawain Gordon’s interception, and Simkins connected with Chris Reyes for a 30-yard pass play.
The Tigers were also successful on a 2-point conversion by Gordon following Central’s second touchdown.
“The guys on the field make the call to go for those trick plays,” Sharrett said. “They decide whether or not to go for it after seeing how the defense sets up. They saw some opportunities and went for it tonight.”
PC -- McMillin 35 FG
M -- Glover 4 run (Green kick)
PC -- Richmond 1 run (McMillin kick)
PC -- Richmond 18 pass from Simkins (Gordon run)
PC -- Reyes 30 pass from Simkins (McMillin kick)
PC -- Richmond 2 run (McMillin kick)
PC -- Parker 2 fumble return (McMillin kick)
M -- Thomas 66 fumble return (Green kick)