The Westerville Central High School football team continued its recent domination of Westerville South by beating the host Wildcats 35-23 in an OCC-Buckeye Division contest Oct. 18.
Since losing their first six games against South, the Warhawks have won six consecutive matchups to even the series.
Central improved to 5-4 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye and kept its postseason hopes alive, while South dropped to 3-6 and 1-3.
The Warhawks entered the game fifth in the Division I, Region 2 computer ratings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
“This is when all that hard work pays off that we’ve been putting in for the last four months,” Central coach Brent Morrison said.
Rickey Hyatt led the Warhawks, rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and making two interceptions.
South trailed 14-0 late in the second quarter, but rallied to take a 17-14 lead early in the fourth before Central scored 21 unanswered points to regain control. Quarterback LaBronz Davis II connected with Jace Jarvis on a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Warhawks the lead for good at 21-17.More video
•Westerville Central’s Dontay Hunter II
Hyatt and Kylin Byrd later added short touchdowns runs to help Central pull away.
“Our defense has been playing hard all year and they had a little bit of a letdown, but it was nice to see our offense step up,” Morrison said. “We’ve been waiting for that all year. We had some guys step up and do what we know they can do. It was a team effort.”
Central opened the scoring with Myles Williamson’s 16-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Davis then connected with Byrd for a 14-yard touchdown to extend the Warhawks’ lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter. The score was set up by Zeke Healy’s 34-yard run on a fake punt that gave Central a first down at the South 14.
South cut its deficit to 14-7 as Ta’Veon Falls scored on a 2-yard run with 1 minute, 4 seconds remaining in the first half.
Wildcats quarterback Peter Pedrozo threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jesse DeVore in the third quarter to tie the game at 14 and Matthew Bame made a 23-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give South its lone lead of the game.
Falls led the Wildcats, rushing for 163 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
“We did a good job coming out in the second half and scoring to tie it up and taking the lead,” said South coach Matthew Christ, whose team committed three turnovers in the game. “We have to take care of the football in big moments.”
Prior to the game, South unveiled and dedicated a victory bell memorial to honor fallen Westerville police officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.
Joering and Morelli were shot and killed Feb. 10 while responding to a 911 hang-up call involving potential domestic abuse.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final WESTERVILLE CENTRAL 7 7 0 21 35 WESTERVILLE SOUTH
0 7 7 9 23
WC—Williamson 16 run (Borcila kick)
WC—Byrd 14 pass from Davis II (Borcila kick)
WS—Falls 2 run (Bame kick)
WS—DeVore 18 pass from P. Pedrozo (Bame kick)
WS—Bame 23 FG
WC—Jarvis 4 pass from Davis II (Borcila kick)
WC—Hyatt 2 run (Borcila kick)
WC—Byrd 2 run (Borcila kick)
WS—P. Pedrozo 9 run (kick failed)