After becoming a starter midway through his sophomore season for the Pickerington High School North football team, Ty Wiley began a track in which he's developed into one of the greatest wide receivers in program history.

The senior believes his role, though, goes beyond some of the numbers he's racked up the last two-plus seasons.

"I like being a playmaker, the one who makes all the plays, does all the showtime and makes the crowd go wild," Wiley said. "I'm going to keep on working hard at it and keep on doing it."

Wiley has caught at least one pass in 23 consecutive games.

The Panthers are 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division after losing to Central 24-21 on Oct. 13. The Tigers have beaten the Panthers five times in a row, including twice last season.

Wiley has noticed only subtle offensive differences scheme-wise since Nate Hillerich took over as coach in the offseason.

"(The offense has) got a little shake and bake into it, Hillerich-style," Wiley said. "(It's a) fast-paced, fast-movement, hurry-up offense."

After finishing with 23 catches for 262 yards and three touchdowns in 2015, Wiley teamed with 2017 graduate Connor Gessells to form a one-two punch at wide receiver last season. While Gessells set program records with 74 catches for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, Wiley had 47 catches (fourth in program history) for 946 yards (second in program history) and eight scores (third in program history).

Wiley, who also has a program-record five 100-yard receiving games, has 38 receptions for 655 yards and nine scores this season. He is North's all-time leader in yards receiving (1,863) and ranks second in receptions (108) and third in touchdown receptions (20).

"He's just a gamer," Hillerich said. "His hands are unbelievable and he comes up with crazy catches. He plays the ball better than anybody maybe that I've ever coached."

North plays host to Lancaster on Friday, Oct. 20, as it looks to continue battling for the OCC-Ohio title and playoff positioning in Division I, Region 3.

The Panthers close the regular season with a Thursday night televised game Oct. 26 at home against Gahanna.

The Golden Gales and Lions also are in contention for playoff spots.

"We wish we could be undefeated, but we fought hard, kept our heads in," Wiley said. "(If we) just (keep) playing hard as a team and following what coach Hillerich is doing for us, it'll be great. (Quarterback) Jimmy (Weirick) just always finds me when I'm open and I've just got to make a play on the ball, so that's what I do."

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Wiley, whose full first name is Ty-kelynn, has scholarship offers from West Virginia State, Ohio Dominican and Indiana Wesleyan and also has received interest from Football Bowling Subdivision schools such as Toledo, Rutgers and Ohio University.

Also a key player for the Panthers' boys basketball team, he grew up in Columbus City Schools before moving to Pickerington as a freshman.

"I actually played quarterback my whole life until my eighth-grade year and then I started a wide receiver role and just took it on from there," Wiley said. "At first, I liked basketball more until my sophomore year in football and my dad was like, 'Football is the one.' I never wanted to believe it, but ... everybody started to say you're going to go to college for football.

"We're a competitive team. We've still got to fight to get Lancaster and Gahanna and hopefully make the playoffs and hopefully win the state championship."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek