It took 11 years, but the Westerville Central High School football team finally earned its first playoff victory.
The fifth-seeded Warhawks defeated 12th-seeded Solon 55-7 in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 playoffs Nov. 9 at home. Central improved to 10-1 and advanced to play fourth-seeded Austintown-Fitch in the second round Nov. 16 at a site to be determined.
Solon, which was making its 12th playoff appearance since 2000 and its 18th overall, finished 6-5.
"I'm happy for our program and I'm happy for these seniors," Warhawks coach John Magistro said. "We set up goals. Last week, we won game nine and never did that before. This week, we won game 10, (we) never did that before, and won our playoff game. I'm happy for these guys."
Making only its second playoff appearance, Central dominated Solon on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Comets 611-231 in total yards.
"That's been the chemistry of these guys all year," Magistro said. "We've been a pretty consistent team all year."
Central took an 8-0 lead with 6 minutes, 59 seconds left in the first quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by running back Alex Fisher and the two-point conversion on a run by quarterback Jared Drake. The score capped a five-play, 54-yard drive and gave the Warhawks all the points they would need.
The Warhawks reached the end zone four times in the second quarter to extend their lead to 35-0, as Drake threw touchdown passes to wide receivers Cedric Frierson (61 yards) and Tommy Mansfield (8 yards) and ran for a 6-yard score and running back Benny Snell scored on a 32-yard run.
Solon scored late in the second quarter to make it 35-7 at halftime.
Central added two touchdowns in the third quarter, with Fisher scoring on a 33-yard run and Snell scoring on a 1-yard run, to increase its lead to 49-7.
Fisher finished with 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns on nine carries and Snell ran for 78 yards and two scores on five carries.
"My linemen led me through the (running lanes)," Snell said. "It feels great to be a sophomore and get into the (running back) rotation. It's a good feeling."
Drake completed nine of 14 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
"He's a playmaker," Magistro said. "He's a heady guy. His quarterback skills continue to get better. He's awful good."
Fitch improved to 11-0 with a 31-21 win over 13th-seeded Marysville in the first round Nov. 9.
"Austintown is a good football team," Magistro said. "They've been good for years. We'll look at film on them. I'm sure we'll have our hands full."
WC--Fisher 19 run (Drake run)
WC--Frierson 61 pass from Drake (kick failed)
WC--Drake 6 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Snell 32 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Mansfield 8 pass from Drake (Robertson kick)
S--Stanton 14 pass from Gallagher (Sebuke kick)
WC--Fisher 33 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Snell 1 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Jenkins 36 run (kick blocked)