Many Central Ohio high school fans who didn’t mind getting a little wet Sept. 21 got a big treat.
Particularly for those involving high-profile matchups, the games were about as good as you could hope for.
Pickerington Central’s matchup against Hilliard Davidson went into overtime, with the Tigers squeaking out a 17-14 victory despite trailing until the final minutes of regulation. They remained unbeaten while the Wildcats dropped to 4-1.
Dublin Coffman held off a late rally from Pickerington North in the other matchup of unbeatens, winning 31-28.
The game that was affected the least by the weather was Hartley at Clarksville Clinton-Massie, and it was everything you’d expect with two run-first teams slugging it out. The Hawks came up short 34-31.
Here are five things we learned in Week 5:
1. Coffman does the little things well enough to be in the conversation of being central Ohio’s best team.
The Shamrocks trailed 14-7 at halftime and ended up being outgained 467-306 by North, but they committed no turnovers, won time-of-possession by nearly nine minutes, averaged nearly 41 yards on seven punts and made a field goal.
This isn’t the same Coffman team that you might be accustomed to with college-level play at the quarterback position — Ethan Brown threw for just 84 yards — but getting the ball to Mike Drennen and letting Brown get loose occasionally with his feet is working.
2. Central proved it can win a close game against a great opponent.
After cruising to double-digit wins over a pair of high-profile out-of-area foes earlier this season, the Tigers had their first white-knuckler Sept. 21.
Central got a 24-yard touchdown pass from Demeatric Crenshaw to Jaquwon Crawford on fourth-and-8 with 1 minute, 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then got a fumble recovery and made a field goal in the extra session.
It figures to be a great step of preparation for the Tigers as they prepare for a league — the OCC-Ohio Division — in which four of the five other teams are a combined 14-6.
3. Eastmoor Academy took the early advantage in what should be a tough City League-South race.
By returning a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown after a bad snap on a field goal on the game’s final play, Eastmoor beat previously unbeaten Walnut Ridge 26-20 as both teams moved to 4-1.
The Warriors are now 2-0 in the league while the Scots are 1-1, and both teams figure to stay in the league title race. Marion-Franklin and Columbus South also are 4-1 and Independence is 2-2 against OHSAA opponents and 3-2 overall, meaning there should be plenty of computer points available the next few weeks.
4. Delaware and Dublin Scioto looked like playoff teams.
In a key early OCC-Cardinal matchup, Scioto improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the league while Delaware dropped to 4-1 and 1-1 with the Irish’s 45-31 victory.
This was a close game, which should provide encouragement to followers of the Pacers that they might have something special going on under new coach Scott Wetzel.
Both teams’ offenses look for real when you consider there was one punt the entire game and neither committed a turnover.
5. Small-school programs Harvest Prep and Grandview continued their impressive starts.
Harvest Prep and Grandview are MSL teams off to great starts.
The Warriors have made four consecutive playoff appearances and are well on their way to making it back in Division VII, Region 27 after beating Zanesville Rosecrans 38-0 on Sept. 21 to improve to 5-0. Rosecrans also was a Region 27 playoff qualifier last season.
The Bobcats also have been impressive, beating Bexley 35-13 on Sept. 21 to improve to 5-0. Among their wins were Rosecrans and another 2017 playoff qualifier in Ready.