Week 8 of the football season traditionally has featured entertaining and important matchups, and this year was no exception.
There were rivalry games between the schools in Pickerington, Westerville and Olentangy, and Hartley seized control of the CCL with a blowout win over Watterson.
The playoff picture also came more into focus, particularly in the all-central Ohio Division I, Region 3, where four of the 18 teams have been mathematically eliminated, according to joeeitel.com, and 11 teams realistically are battling for eight spots.
Here are five things we learned in Week 8:
1. Hilliard Davidson’s season got a needed lift with its win over Dublin Coffman.
It’s never wise to pick against a Brian White-coached team, even though Davidson had lost three of four.
With a 15-14 victory over Coffman on Oct. 18, the Wildcats improved to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Central Division. Nick Dymek had an interception late in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
Davidson is in the hunt for its 17th playoff appearance in 21 seasons under White.
2. Dublin Jerome bounced back in a big way after an upset loss.
After falling to Delaware on Oct. 11, Jerome snapped a three-game skid against Hilliard Bradley with a 43-14 victory Oct. 18.
Ryan Miller rushed for three touchdowns and the Celtics came away with three interceptions as they built a 24-7 lead by halftime to continue their pursuit of a playoff berth and the OCC-Cardinal title.
3. Olentangy Orange continued to add to what is becoming an impressive résumé.
The Pioneers have won five in a row and are 7-1, with their 14-6 victory over Westerville Central on Oct. 17 possibly being their most impressive win, at least from a defensive perspective.
Jake Vanchieri rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown and also added a touchdown catch for Orange, which controls its hopes of making the playoffs and winning the OCC-Buckeye title.
4. Central used defense to again win the battle of Pickerington.
The Tigers improved to 13-3 all-time in their series against North, with the latest being a 16-7 decision Oct. 18 in which they committed no turnovers while the Panthers had two.
A 55-yard interception return by Gavin Edwards set up their first touchdown in the third quarter and a touchdown run from Demeatric Crenshaw sealed the win for Central, which is now 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio.
5. Gahanna Lincoln showed its heart in picking up its second consecutive victory.
The Lions beat Lancaster 28-25 for their second consecutive win despite dealing with the emotions of having teammate JaShawn Scott die following a car crash and another former player pass away last weekend.
It’s been a tough year for Gahanna. The Lions are 2-6 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio, but the teams they have lost to are a combined 38-10 and they showed they have not quit after losing their first six games.