LANCASTER, Ohio - There comes a time in every Pickerington Central-Lancaster football game when the players find out what they are made of.

LANCASTER, Ohio - There comes a time in every Pickerington Central-Lancaster football game when the players find out what they are made of.

The Tigers' moment of truth came last night when the Gales were driving for a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter with a Homecoming crowd of approximately 6,500 looking on at Fulton Field.

Pickerington Central defensive lineman Keith Roberts stopped Isaiah Dexter inches short of a first down on fourth-and-5 at the 10-yard line.

The Tigers then drove 90 yards for a touchdown to take the lead to stay in winning the annual grudge match between Fairfield County schools 27-12 for the fourth straight season and sixth time in seven seasons.

Quarterback Colby Simkins ran for 130 yards on 11 carries, including a 19-yard touchdown, and set up another touchdown with an 8-yard run to the 1 in leading the Tigers to victory in an Ohio Capital Conference Ohio Division opener.

"You know how hard it is to win here?" Pickerington Central coach Jay Sharrett said when asked why the players were being lined up for pictures. "They played us tough. This game is a wild and wooly affair every year. It's a credit to our kids. When we needed a stop, we got it. When we needed a touchdown, we got it."

It will be easy for Tigers coaches to come up with corrections for next week's game against Reynoldsburg. The team had four turnovers, gave Lancaster the ball near midfield because of a bad snap on a punt and was penalized seven times for 80 yards.

Sharrett, though, pulled several players aside to tell them to keep their heads up.

"We told them that at 10 a.m. (when) they were sitting in class," he said. "And now we're here. They are students. They are just kids."

Trailing 13-12, Lancaster (2-2) was on the move until Roberts stopped Dexter - 6 feet and 225 pounds - in his tracks.

"I got him right around the legs - nothing fancy," Roberts said. "I just tried to make a sure tackle. We really weren't worried at that point. We know who we are. It's just tradition that got us through. That's Tiger Nation. That's how we play."

Then Pickerington Central went on an 11-play drive in which it converted three third downs. The capper was Simkins' 19-yard run around left end on a bootleg on third-and-5 for a 20-12 lead with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.

The play was designed to be a pass.

"It was a basic bootleg and we were looking to pass, but I saw some grass and took it," Simkins said. "I give all the credit to the line. It all starts with them. This is a tough place to win. We got it done."

Pickerington Central (2-1) got its final touchdown on a 91-yard drive. The big play was a 61-yard run around right tackle by Simkins to Lancaster's 32 in which he broke three tackles

Tawain Gordon got the touchdown with a 1-yard run into the middle of the line to make it 27-12 with 2:30 left in the game.

Lancaster coach Rob Carpenter said his team played hard.

"We had a lot of great individual efforts, but we just didn't do enough to win the game," he said.