The last time the Reynoldsburg High School football team beat Pickerington Central, the Tigers were only known as Pickerington and Pickerington North had yet to be built.
The Raiders turned a fumble recovery into a touchdown late in the fourth quarter on their way to a 24-21 victory that gave the program its first win over Central since 2001.
“This was a special win,” said coach Buddy White, whose team also beat Pickerington North 33-31 earlier this season. “Reynoldsburg, Ohio, is flying high tonight.”
Reynoldsburg likely has locked up just the third playoff berth in program history, with the first coming in 2001 when it last beat the Tigers and the other coming in 2015.
The Raiders are 8-1 overall, and at 3-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division sit one game behind Lancaster in the league race.
Camby Goff provided the biggest highlights, scoring a pair of touchdowns and picking up a fumble at the Tigers 16 with 6 minutes, 1 second remaining.
On the drive after Goff’s fumble recovery, Reynoldsburg quarterback Michael Whatley hit Goff for a 23-yard touchdown for the game’s final points.
After forcing the Tigers to punt on the ensuing drive, Guy Cowans-Wright ran for 1 yard on fourth-and-1 from the Central 44 with 2:16 to go to seal the victory.
Central, which dropped to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Ohio, had its 12-year run of winning at least a share of a league title snapped.
“This means history for us,” Goff said. “We haven’t beaten them in (17) years and it’s the start of a new trend. I’m so excited.”
The Raiders built a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
With five minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Whatley threw from just behind the line of scrimmage to a wide-open Goff for a 67-yard touchdown.
Then late in the period, Reynoldsburg’s Darien Abron blocked a punt to set up the Raiders at the Central 6. Dezman Cooper ran for a 5-yard touchdown two plays later to make it 14-0.
The Tigers cut their deficit to 14-7 with 5:48 left in the first half when Demeatric Crenshaw hit Lorenzo Styles Jr. for a 20-yard touchdown at the back of the end zone.
Reynoldsburg’s Cocy Goff made a 24-yard field goal with 8:47 to go in the third quarter, but Central scored on the ensuing kickoff when Jaquwon Crawford picked up a fumble and ran 76 yards to make it 17-14.
The Tigers took a 21-17 lead on a 1-yard run by Lance Matthews that capped a 17-play, 92-yard drive with 7:45 remaining. Central then forced the Raiders to punt on the ensuing drive, but Goff’s fumble recovery came on the next play.
“At times, we weren’t sharp,” Tigers coach Jay Sharrett said. “We turned it over at crucial points in the game and Reynoldsburg is playing at a high level. We’ve got two losses, but we’ve got seven wins, too. When we made a mistake, Reynoldsburg made us pay for it.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final PICKERINGTON CENTRAL 0 7 7 7 21 REYNOLDSBURG
14 0 3 7 24
R—Camby Goff 67 pass from Whatley (Cocy Goff kick)
R—Cooper 5 run (Cocy Goff kick)
PC—Styles Jr. 20 pass from Crenshaw (Bookman kick)
R—Cocy Goff 24 FG
PC—Crawford 76 fumble return (Bookman kick)
PC—Matthews 1 run (Bookman kick)
R—Camby Goff 23 pass from Whatley (Cocy Goff kick)