The Pickerington High School Central football team brought the heat from its defensive line and applied pressure on Pickerington North’s passing game in a 16-7 win over the Panthers in an OCC-Ohio Division contest Oct. 12 at Gahanna.

The Tigers, who beat North for the 12th time in 15 meetings, improved to 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio, while the Panthers fell to 5-3 and 1-2.

“Our defensive line is pretty special and when you consider we had a total change in philosophy this week after gearing up to stop Lancaster’s running game (in a 31-30 loss on Oct. 5), it was pretty impressive,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. “We came in knowing we had to slow down their passing game and our line was tremendous and our secondary played lights out as well because some of our sacks were coverage sacks.”

Central pressured North quarterback Michael Lowery into 10-for-19 passing for just 62 yards. The Tigers sacked Lowery eight times and intercepted him once.

In addition to constant harassment from linemen DeWayne Carter and Karter Johnson, defensive back Lorenzo Styles Jr. had three tackles for loss and C.C. Gordon had a pair of sacks from the secondary. Linebacker Isaiah O’Connor had the interception, which set up Central’s second touchdown.

The Tigers’ Terry Simuel returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown.

North then had first-and-goal at the Central 9-yard line but was unable to overcome a chop-block penalty and turned the ball over on downs.

The Panthers also reached the Central 22 early in the second quarter but threw an incomplete pass on third down and were stopped for a loss when they ran out of the wildcat formation on fourth down.

Central also had a pair of miscues in the first half, as it lost a fumble at midfield and was denied points after having first-and-goal at the Panthers’ 1. On the latter drive, the Tigers attempted a 22-yard field goal but the snap went through the holder’s hands.

However, with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in the half, Tigers running back Jamir Jackson, who missed the Lancaster game with an injury and played sparingly against North, scored on a 7-yard run to give Central a 13-0 halftime lead. Jackson finished with 46 yards rushing on seven carries.

North, which was led by Larry Martin’s 140 yards rushing on 21 carries, scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Lowery to Tyler Foster midway through the third quarter to cut its deficit to 13-7.

But Central responded with a 13-play drive that took 6:44 off the clock and culminated with a 23-yard field goal by Drew Bookman to extend its lead to 16-7.

Quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw rushed for 66 yards in the fourth quarter to help the Tigers seal the outcome.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final PICKERINGTON NORTH 0 0 7 0 7 PICKERINGTON CENTRAL
7 6 0 3 16

PC—Simuel 79 kickoff return (Bookman kick)

PC—Jackson 7 run (kick failed)

PN—Foster 2 pass from Lowery (Pope kick)

PC—Bookman 23 FG