PICKERINGTON - As one of the bullies of central Ohio football, Pickerington Central has grown accustomed to taking opponents' best shots. So when Reynoldsburg struck first with a 78-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Aekins to Demetris Givens on the opening play last night, the Tigers didn't flinch.
PICKERINGTON — As one of the bullies of central Ohio football, Pickerington Central has grown accustomed to taking opponents’ best shots.
So when Reynoldsburg struck first with a 78-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Aekins to Demetris Givens on the opening play last night, the Tigers didn’t flinch.
“Our guys have just come to understand that when a team comes to play Pickerington Central, you’r e always going to get their ‘A’ game,” coach Jay Sharrett said. “They zinged us early, but our kids know that if we just play our game, things will turn out fine.”
Isaiah Richmond ran for three touchdowns, and Pickerington Central wiped out a three-point halftime deficit for a 28-17 victory in one of the area’s longest rivalries. Pickerington/Pickerington Central has won 12 straight in the series.
“It wasn’t going to end on my watch,” said Richmond, who gained 106 yards on 15 carries, including touchdown runs of 1, 2 and 35 yards. “They had the momentum early, but all it took was for us to drive the field on them a few times for us to take it back.
“The difference in the second half was the offensive line came out and got meaner and meaner as the game went along. We just overpowered them with the run. Our offense continues to get better each week. Everybody’s producing, from (quarterback) Colby (Simkins) to the backs to the linemen.”& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
Simkins also played a pivotal role with clutch runs and passes. He found receiver Eric Johnson on a 29-yard touchdown pass with 4:58 remaining in the third quarter to stretch the Tigers’ lead to 21-10.
Hard-running David Moore cut the Raiders’ deficit to 21-17 on a 7-yard touchdown run on fourth down early in the fourth quarter, but Pickerington Central responded with an eight-play, 81-yard drive. Richmond slammed in from 1 yard for the Tigers (3-1, 2-0).
Simkins completed three passes on the drive, including a 36-yarder to Cris Reyes.
“Reynoldsburg hit us with their best shot tonight, but we don’t get rattled very easy,” Simkins said. “We just had to do what we do, and things would work out. Our line really got after it, and our backs hit the holes hard. Isaiah is an animal.
“He’s huge and fast and hard to get down.”
Sharrett said his staff made some slight adjustments to spring the running game.
“We were just missing it in the first half,” he said. “We went to a little tight end offset wing and started finding some creases. People try to make this game more complicated than it is.
“We’re just running hard and blocking hard.”
The Raiders (3-2, 1-1) hurt their cause with numerous penalties that stopped drives or sustained Tigers drives.
“I’m proud of the way we battled tonight, but we lost our composure in a few situations and you can’t do that against a team the caliber of Pickerington,” Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White said. “We had some penalty-killing drives, and Pickerington took advantage. They did a great job of moving the football. We didn’t get enough stops in the second half.”