The Westerville Central High School football team will seek its third consecutive win when it visits Pickerington North on Friday, Sept. 15.
After struggling in a season-opening 24-3 loss to Gahanna on Aug. 25, the Central offense has been effective in wins over Upper Arlington (31-21 on Sept. 1) and Eastmoor Academy (57-28 on Sept. 8).
The Warhawks’ defense, meanwhile, is getting ready to face an opponent with similar offensive weapons in North, which is led by senior quarterback Jimmy Weirick.
The Panthers are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, as they fell to Centerville 27-26 on Sept. 8.
Weirick completed 15 of 27 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards and one score on 14 carries.
“They’re real good,” coach John Magistro said of the Panthers. “Their quarterback is good. He can beat you with his legs and he throws a real nice ball, and they have good receivers. They’re strong on defense. I know a lot of people think they’re one of the better teams in the state and I can see why everybody thinks that.”
Both teams utilize a spread offense.
The Panthers have won three of the four previous meetings, including 45-16 last season. Central won 7-0 in 2006.
North is seeking a return trip to the Division I playoffs after it reached a Region 3 semifinal last season before losing to Pickerington Central 38-24 to finish 8-4.
The Warhawks finished 4-6 a year ago and last made the playoffs in 2015.
The winner should receive a solid boost in their postseason aspirations.
“If you want to be considered good, you have to play these teams,” Magistro said. “With central Ohio football, I don’t know if there is any better football in the state of Ohio. This is awfully good football right now.”
The Warhawks racked up 547 yards of offense against Eastmoor. Running back Allen Smith rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, and quarterback Isaiah Healy passed for 80 yards and a score and rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns.