The Pickerington High School North football team earned a reputation for making big plays on offense during the season’s first six weeks, but its defense took center stage during a 20-3 win Oct. 11 at Reynoldsburg.
The game’s longest play from scrimmage occurred when North quarterback Zeph Miller hooked up with Chris McDowell for a 79-yard, first-quarter touchdown, and the Panthers’ defense did the rest, limiting the Raiders to 84 total yards.
North improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division, while Reynoldsburg lost its third in a row to drop to 3-4 and 1-3. The Raiders have averaged 11.3 points during the skid.
“Our defense kind of carried us, and it means a lot because our offense did struggle a little,” said Panthers defensive back Trezden Johnson, who had 5.5 tackles, including two for loss.
North took a 7-0 lead with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first quarter on McDowell’s touchdown, which capped a 99-yard drive. The Panthers added field goals of 24 and 47 yards by Karch Holland in the second quarter to take a 13-0 lead into halftime.
On the third play of the third quarter, Miller hit wide receiver Quincy Storey for a 58-yard reception to the Reynoldsburg 3. Two plays later, wide receiver Jordan Chambers scored on a 1-yard pass from Miller to make it 20-0.
The Raiders scored their only points on a 30-yard field goal by Jordan Watkins with 23.4 seconds left.
North played without starting defensive linemen Geno Rollo and Alex Reigle, who were serving mandatory one-game suspensions after being ejected from a 49-14 win over Pickerington Central on Oct. 4.
“We all came together as one,” said Panthers lineman Christian Charlton, who started at nose tackle in place of Rollo. “We’re very deep and we’re all one family.”
Miller finished 21-for-29 passing for 296 yards and two touchdowns to lead North, which was held to 72 yards rushing on 31 attempts.
Reynoldsburg was held to minus-2 yards rushing. Running back Zack Mehan led the Raiders with 28 yards on 13 attempts and running back David Moore was held to 5 yards on 13 carries.
“That was tough defense on both sides,” Raiders coach Buddy White said. “We couldn’t get anything going offensively, but I saw the kind of passion again that we’ve been looking for.”
PN--McDowell 79 pass from Miller (Holland kick)
PN--Holland 24 FG
PN--Holland 47 FG
PN--Chambers 1 pass from Miller (Holland kick)
R--Watkins 30 FG