Members of the Pickerington High School Central football team know they have big gaps to fill in the lineup afterlosingfour Division I college recruits to graduation.

Members of the Pickerington High School Central football team know they have big gaps to fill in the lineup afterlosingfour Division I college recruits to graduation.

With Zach Boren (Ohio State),Blaine Burgess (Harvard), Patrick White (Michigan State) and Jamie Wood (Ohio State) helping leadthe way, the Tigers went 13-2 in 2006,11-1 in 2007 and 13-1 last year, winning OCC titles each season.

Central advanced to the Division II state title game in 2006, where it lost 26-7 to Piqua, and reached a Division I state semifinal last season before losing 24-10 to Cincinnati Elder.

Regardless, coach Jay Sharrett said the Tigers aren't feeling any pressure to follow up on that success.

"We never use the word pressure -- instead we say that we just have great expectations for our team after the kind of seasons we've had in recent years," Sharrett said. "We hope that these experiences and expectations have instilled more confidence in our players. They're definitely motivated.

"We don't have to chase them into the weight room because they have seen the guys who were ahead of them and understand that they need to work hard if we're going to be in contention to win our league and make the playoffs."

The Tigers rolled through the regular season a year ago, winning every game by 17 points or more en route to the OCC-Ohio Division championship, their eighth league title in 10 seasons.

The Tigers beat Delaware 38-21 to open the playoffs, then defeated Upper Arlington24-16 in a regional semifinal and Hilliard Davidson 7-3 in a regional final to set a program record with 13 consecutive victories.

It was Central's third regional title after also winning in 1999 and 2006.

"We don't have the standout names that we had last year, but we're really coming together as a unit and we still expect ourselves to make the playoffs and win championships," said senior tight end/free safety Josh Kristoff, who threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to White in the regional championship against Davidson.

Four starters return in Central's multiple-formation one-back offense. They are seniorreceiver Jarred Miller,junior tailback Tyler Hammond,sophomoreright guardJacoby Boren (6-foot-2, 255 pounds) andsenior left guard Bill Hinterschied (5-8, 185).

Hammond rushed for 1,134 yards and eight touchdowns and was special mention all-district. Miller had 20 receptions for 286 yards and three touchdowns.

Starting at quarterback will be junior Grant Hammond (6-2, 170), while senior twins Willie Tatum (6-2, 210) and Wuan Tatum (5-11, 210) and sophomore Devone Penick (5-11, 175) will see action as running backs.

Willie Tatum has made a verbal commitment to Bowling Green.

Junior Brad Kinnison (6-0, 190) will be at center and junior Aric Barker (6-5, 305) will start at right tackle. Kristoff (6-1, 195) will be the tight endand sophomore Nick Wilson (6-3, 285) will start at left tackle. Juniors Tyler Burch (6-1, 230) and Jake Holbrook (6-0, 175) will also see action on the line.

"Speedy Hammond was the first sophomore we've had rush for 1,000 yards since I've been here," Sharrett said. "We'll still spread the ball around to a lot of guys, though, because we've got a lot of players who can contribute in different ways."

Three starters return in Central's multiple-front defense -- Kristoff,junior strong safety Eilar Hardy andsenior cornerback Malcolm Pannell.

Kristoff, who had four interceptions and two fumble recoveries, was second-team all-league a year ago. Hardyhad three interceptions.

Pannell has made a verbal commitment to Ohio University.

Rotating in at the other cornerback position will be seniors Miller and Jim Poole andjuniors Tamani Carter and Kris Strange.

At linebacker will be seniors Zach Clouse, Jorden Lascola and the Tatum brothers.

Anchoring the defensive line are senior Alan Burden (5-8, 215), junior David Stephens (5-11, 230) and Boren.

Sophomore Nick Ellis is the punter. Several players are vying to do the kicking.

"Our motto on defense is still 'pressure beats coverage,'" Kristoff said. "We aren't as big as we were last year, but we've got more speed, so we're confident we can still get to the ball."