Over the last three seasons, the Huber Heights Wayne High School football team has sent five Central District programs home for the winter.

Over the last three seasons, the Huber Heights Wayne High School football team has sent five Central District programs home for the winter.

Now it's time for Pickerington Central to take its shot.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the third-seeded Tigers will look to extend their season and earn the Division I, Region 3 championship trophy when they play the top-seeded Warriors at London.

Wayne last lost to a central Ohio opponent in the 2013 Region 3 final when it fell 37-7 to Hilliard Davidson. Since then, the Warriors are 6-0 against area teams, including 5-0 in the playoffs.

After blowing past eighth-seeded Lancaster 52-7 on Nov. 4 in a first-round game, the Warriors put a similar hurting on fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman, winning 52-10 in a regional semifinal Nov. 11 at London.

While Wayne is 11-0-1 and has won 11 games in a row since tying Warminster (Pennsylvania) Wood on Aug. 26 when the game was halted in the second quarter because of lightning, Central improved to 11-1 with a 38-24 victory over seventh-seeded Pickerington North in a regional semifinal Nov. 11 at Gahanna.

The regional champion advances to a state semifinal Nov. 25.

"We get to play for a regional championship," coach Jay Sharrett said. "You can tell (Wayne is) playing with a lot of confidence. I really like the energy of our team. Our goal is to take this into the fourth quarter and see where we're at. When you win two playoff games and have a chance, you're pretty excited."

Central is averaging 31.3 points and is coming off one of its best offensive performances of the season.

Senior running back Morgan Ellison rushed 23 times for 273 yards and four touchdowns and senior quarterback Darius Coker had 16 carries for 180 yards and one score as the Tigers improved to 9-3 all-time against North.

Ellison had touchdown runs of 85 and 91 yards and Coker's touchdown run went for 80 yards.

"My line blocked great," Ellison said. "There were a couple times I had to break tackles, but we just had to run behind them."

Junior cornerback Xavier Henderson, who was named district Defensive Player of the Year, had eight tackles and senior linebacker Garon Howard had 5.5 tackles and two tackles for loss to lead the Tigers' defense.

The Tigers will be tasked with stopping a Wayne offense that is averaging 42.3 points.

The Warriors, who were state runners-up in 2010, '14 and '15 and, like the Tigers, are looking for their first state title, scored 31 first-half points against Coffman.

Quarterback Rashad McKee has completed 141 of 198 passes for 2,098 yards and 23 touchdowns and running back Fred Pitts has rushed 149 times for 1,166 yards and 18 touchdowns to lead the Wayne offense. Wide receiver L'Christian Smith has 41 catches for 705 yards and nine touchdowns and Matt Wilcox has 39 receptions for 480 yards and three scores.

Pitts rushed for 158 yards and four touchdowns against Coffman, which was limited to 2-for-11 on third-down conversions.

"Their quarterback is an effective passer, but you can tell he runs the show," Sharrett said. "They've got two powerful backs who are off the charts athletically. They like to go three-wide, sometimes four-wide, and they like running the ball. It's the same situation we've had in the past where (our opponent is) going to have a size advantage, so we'll have to neutralize their size."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek