What could be the first perfect regular season in program history hasn't included many rough moments for the Pickerington High School North football team.
The Panthers enter their regular-season finale Friday, Nov. 1, against visiting Grove City at 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division, outscoring opponents by an average of 37.6-11.
However, after beating Pickerington Central 49-14 on Oct. 4, the Panthers struggled at times on offense during a 20-3 win Oct. 11 at Reynoldsburg and held off a late rally to win 27-20 on Oct. 25 at Gahanna.
In addition to sharpening for the playoffs, North has one other incentive against Grove City -- revenge.
The Dawgs are 5-1 all-time against the Panthers, including a 13-10 victory in last year's regular-season finale to spoil the Panthers' bid for a perfect regular season.
"These games (like our win over Gahanna) do build character," coach Tom Phillips said. "(Grove City) has always been one of those games. Grove City has always had our number."
The Dawgs, who are 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the league, could make the Division I, Region 2 playoffs with a win and help.
North has clinched a playoff spot in Region 2 and could secure a home postseason game with a win over Grove City, which is led by quarterback Cameron Meece and running back Corey Williams. Meece has passed and rushed for more than 800 yards while Williams has rushed for nearly 700 yards.
The Panthers led Gahanna 27-7, but the Lions scored 13 unanswered points and had the ball at the North 11-yard line with 24.8 seconds left when Gahanna quarterback Mason Blancett threw incomplete on fourth-and-6.
North played without Chris McDowell and Quincy Storey, who are expected to be back at wide receiver and defensive back against the Dawgs.