The Grove City High School football team will close out what has been a challenging season with its biggest test, as the Dawgs play host to Pickerington Central on Friday, Oct. 27.
Grove City is 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division, and Central is 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the league. The Tigers have won at least a share of 12 consecutive league titles and are closing in on their 12th consecutive playoff appearance.
"It's back to work," first-year coach Tennyson Varney said after Grove City's 62-35 loss at Gahanna on Oct. 20. "We have to make sure we're still working and getting better, that's what you have to concentrate on. We've gotten better every week, but we still have a long way to go."
Central was projected to be second in the Division I, Region 3 computer ratings this week, behind Centerville. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
The Tigers are led by sophomore quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw, who passed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-7 win over Reynoldsburg on Oct. 20. For the season, he has passed for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 699 yards and eight scores.
Jamir Jackson rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries against Reynoldsburg. For the season, he has 583 yards and 11 touchdowns on 100 carries.
"They're unreal on film," Varney said of the Tigers. "It's a different level. They've done a great job over the years with that program. Pick Central is a very good football program and a very good football team. Their sophomore quarterback is a special kid. He's talented, that's for sure."
Varney said the Dawgs played well at times against Gahanna. The Lions finished with a 482-464 edge in total yards.
Devin Dukes rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, and Austin Sigler completed 18 of 26 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns.
"At times, our defense played well, and at times I thought our offense played well, but at key times we didn't play well," Varney said. "We started the game on defense pretty well, but we didn't start very well on offense and then as the game went on we flip-flopped and the offense did OK and the defense lost its luster for a little bit."