There have been 11 players combined from the Pickerington Central football program's past three classes who earned scholarships to Football Bowl Subdivision colleges.

That trend has continued this season with senior Ohio State-commit Ty Hamilton, junior Notre Dame-commit Lorenzo Styles Jr. and senior Abraham Alabi, who has six FBS offers.

The future for senior middle linebacker Dom Marasco isn't as clear, but that has nothing to do with his contributions on the field.

As was the case with 2018 graduate Grey Brancifort, Central knows exactly who to turn to when it needs a big tackle.

"The leader of our defense is Dom Marasco," coach Jay Sharrett said. "To me, he knows his best years of high school football are going on right now and he's savoring it. He's our leading tackler, he plays running back for us, he's one of our captains. That's what high school football is about."

With Marasco and Hamilton leading the way, the Tigers have held three of their last five opponents to seven points or fewer.

Central improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division with a 40-14 win over visiting Reynoldsburg on Oct. 25. The Tigers have clinched a playoff berth in Division I, Region 3 and will close the regular season Friday, Nov. 1, at Grove City, which is 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the league.

Marasco, who also plays lacrosse, hopes to play football at the college level. However, at 5-foot-10 and about 215 pounds, he currently doesn't have any FBS scholarship offers.

"I just went on a visit to Akron and I'd like to play in the (Mid-American Conference) and study criminal justice," Marasco said. "My dad's friend is in the FBI, so I've got a good connection there. I'd like to either do SWAT or the FBI."

Brancifort left Central as its all-time leader in tackles, but didn't have any major college programs come calling. He elected to walk on as a long snapper and fullback at Pittsburgh and played one season with the Panthers.

Marasco, who contributed at linebacker as a sophomore when the Tigers won the Division I state championship, blossomed into the team's leading tackler last season. Through eight games this season, he had 44 solo tackles, 59 assisted tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss.

Marasco had one of his strongest games in a 16-7 win over North on Oct. 18, recording one sack, one pass breakup, four solo tackles and nine assisted tackles.

"He's an all-around tremendous athlete, a very good lacrosse player and he plays with that passion you look for in a high school football player," Sharrett said. "He doesn't bring anything back to the locker room."

Marasco has grown up in Pickerington and was set to attend North before his family moved heading into his freshman year.

"I was new here as a freshman and (Sharrett) welcomed me," Marasco said. "It was a great move."

Central has defeated Grove City each of the past nine seasons, including a 40-0 win in Week 10 last season to bounce back from a 24-21 loss to Reynoldsburg the previous week.

The Tigers haven't lost to the Dawgs since 2005, when Grove City won 12-6 in overtime. Central finished 6-4 that year for its only non-playoff season under Sharrett, who is in his 17th season.