WEST CHESTER — Other than in its two possessions that ended in turnovers, the Pickerington High School Central football team rarely was stopped during a 38-28 opening-round playoff victory over West Chester Lakota West on Nov. 9.
The Tigers piled up 481 yards of offense, with 200 coming on 13-for-18 passing by senior quarterback Colby Simkins, to improve to 8-2 and advance to a Division I, Region 2 second-round game Nov. 16 at a site to be determined.
Central, which is seeded 14th, will play sixth-seeded Cincinnati Colerain, which is 11-0.
Third-seeded Lakota West finished 9-2.
“We had a couple guys step up and came out (in the first quarter) like we do in the second half,” senior running back Isaiah Richmond said. “They couldn’t stop our run and Eric (Johnson) made a big (touchdown catch) in the second quarter.”
The Tigers scored on their first possession when Richmond ran in from 4 yards with 9 minutes, 56 seconds to go in the opening quarter to make it 7-0.
Lakota West answered just 1:11 later on a 24-yard run by University of Kentucky recruit Mikel Horton.
Johnson scored on a 45-yard touchdown reception from Simkins with 1:51 to go in the first quarter to make it 14-7, and running back Tawain Gordon ran for second-quarter touchdowns of 10 and 3 yards as the Tigers led 28-21 at halftime.
After the Firebirds tied it at 28 on a 17-yard touchdown run by Horton with 7:32 to go in the third quarter, Central kicker Devon McMillin made a 20-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the third to make it 31-28.
With 6:26 to play, Richmond ran for a 33-yard touchdown.
Richmond rushed for 72 yards on nine carries and also forced a fumble. Gordon rushed 16 times for 75 yards.
Horton finished with 128 yards rushing but was held to 53 in the second half. The Tigers limited Lakota West quarterback Malik Grove to 8-for-20 passing for 116 yards.
“They’re a really good team, but our line was dominating,” Simkins said. “I was just sitting back there and had all day to throw.”
|WEST CHESTER LAKOTA WEST||14||7||7||0||28|
PC--Richmond 4 run (McMillin kick)
LW--Horton 24 run (Martin kick)
PC--Johnson 45 pass from Simkins (McMillin kick)
LW--Neal 20 pass from Grove (Martin kick)
PC--Gordon 10 run (McMillin kick)
LW--Higginbotham 19 pass from Grove (Martin kick)
PC--Gordon 3 run (McMillin kick)
LW--Horton 17 run (Martin kick)
PC--McMillin 20 FG
PC--Richmond 33 run (McMillin kick)