Now that we’re officially at the midpoint of the high school football regular season, it’s not a bad time to take stock of the central Ohio teams that remain undefeated.
There are three teams at 5-0 in Division I, Region 3 in Olentangy Liberty, Reynoldsburg and Westerville Central, two in Division II, Region 8 in Canal Winchester and Walnut Ridge and three in Division III, Region 11 in Granville, Columbus South and London. Also unbeaten are Licking Valley in Division IV, Region 15 and Fisher Catholic in Division VII, Region 27.
Sure, Liberty has made it to three consecutive state semifinals and longtime Licking Valley coach Randy Baughman almost always has his team in the mix.
Some of the others, though, have emerged in recent years.
Here are five things we learned in Week 5:
1. Liberty put together a gutsy effort to beat Groveport on Sept. 27.
Despite not having several key players, including starting quarterback Corbin Parrish and Northwestern commit Ben Wrather on the offensive line, the Patriots beat the Cruisers 21-14.
Quarterback Jackson Roberts threw for three touchdowns, including a 20-yarder to Kyle Wilson for the game-winning score.
Groveport dropped to 4-1 a week after beating perennial power Pickerington Central.
2. In another matchup of unbeaten teams, Reynoldsburg got the better of Westerville South.
Coming off what it considered a disappointing performance in a 17-15 victory over Central Crossing on Sept. 20, Reynoldsburg controlled the action from the get-go while beating South 35-14.
Shon Strickland shined with eight receptions for 159 yards and two scores, and the Raiders’ defense forced six turnovers.
The Wildcats dropped to 4-1 and lost quarterback Peter Pedrozo to a collarbone injury.
3. Whitehall may have had the eye-opening performance of the night.
After losing three of their first four games following last year’s 10-2 finish, the Rams’ 60-13 victory over Grandview on Sept. 27 had to have been exactly what they were looking for.
Whitehall scored 34 second-quarter points against the Bobcats, who dropped to 4-1.
Juvaun Blackshear rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns, and the Rams’ defense scored two touchdowns.
4. Pickerington North’s season is alive and well.
Although the Panthers are 2-3 with three double-digit losses, they’ve handed two teams their only loss.
North rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Dublin Coffman 29-27 on Sept. 27 as Chris Scott had 168 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. Jack Sawyer passed for 170 yards and two scores and rushed for one touchdown.
5. Dublin Jerome got it done on both sides of the ball while winning a key league game.
There still are five weeks remaining in the seven-week OCC-Cardinal Division schedule, but the Celtics took a big step toward ending up on top with a 24-6 victory over Hilliard Darby that improved their record to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the league.
Adam Booth rushed for three touchdowns and was supported by a defense that recovered three fumbles against the Panthers, who have finished second or third each of the past three seasons in the OCC-Cardinal.