For the second year in a row, the Grove City High School football team ruined Pickerington North’s bid for a perfect regular-season record.
The visiting Dawgs opened a 16-0 first-half lead en route to defeating the unbeaten Panthers 34-24 in an OCC-Ohio Division game Nov. 1.
Grove City, which fell short of a Division I, Region 2 playoff berth despite pulling off the upset, finished 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the league. North, which has clinched a Region 2 playoff berth, dropped to 9-1 overall and finished 6-1 in the OCC-Ohio and must share the league title with Pickerington Central. The Tigers defeated Gahanna 48-28 on Nov. 1 in their league finale.
Grove City beat North 13-10 in week 10 last season and improved to 6-1 all-time against the Panthers.
“I’m so happy and proud of our staff and kids,” Dawgs coach Matt Jordan said. “We were 1-4 at one point and now we got it to 6-4 with this.”
North started junior Frankie Weirick at quarterback in place of starter Zeph Miller, who was sidelined because of illness. Weirick directed two drives that resulted in six plays and only 1 yard before being replaced by senior Tony Welch.
Welch completed his first pass attempt to Jay Williams for a 50-yard gain to the Grove City 5-yard line. His next pass attempt was intercepted at the goal line by Ryan Grooms and returned 100 yards for a touchdown.
The score gave Grove City a 13-0 lead midway through the second quarter, and the Dawgs added a 22-yard field goal by Jonah Monhemiaus to extend their advantage to 16-0.
North cut its deficit to 16-7 late in the second quarter when Welch scored on a 1-yard run and reached the end zone again early in the third quarter with a 5-yard run by Jabree Lather to make it 16-14.
Grove City answered with a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a 3-yard run by Ike Pack with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Pack ran for the two-point conversion to put the Dawgs ahead 24-14.
“North scored to start the second half and then we went right down and scored on them,” Jordan said. “That was huge. I really give credit to our kids.”
Grove City quarterback Cameron Meece rushed for 145 yards on 19 carries and completed his only pass attempt for 40 yards. Running back Corey Williams ran for 128 yards on 16 carries, including a 79-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to give the Dawgs a 31-17 lead.
Pack added 31 yards rushing and two touchdowns on nine carries.
“Meece has been a playmaker for them for a couple of years and, with Williams out there as well, that’s two playmakers,” North coach Tom Phillips said. “We came in allowing 11 points a game and they went out and got 34 on us tonight.”
Jordan was proud of the performance by his offense.
“Cameron managed the game, the offensive line started things up front and Cameron and all the running backs ran well,” he said. "They all opened up things for each other.”
Welch completed 13 of 22 passes for 271 yards and rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Also for the Panthers, wide receiver Chris McDowell caught seven passes for 168 yards.
GC – Pack 7 run (Capehart kick)
GC – Grooms 100 interception return (kick failed)
GC – Monhemiaus 22 FG
PN – Welch 1 run (Holland kick)
PN – Lather 5 run (Holland kick)
GC – Pack 3 run (Pack run)
PN – Holland 30 FG
GC – Williams 79 run (Capehart kick)
PN – Welch 5 run (Holland kick)
GC – Monhemiaus 25 FG