Pickerington Central at Reynoldsburg: Top-ranked Tigers trying to remain unbeaten
Some heat was added to one of central Ohio’s longest-running rivalries when Reynoldsburg snapped a 16-game losing streak to Pickerington Central with a 24-21 win in 2018.
Last year, however, the Tigers avenged that loss with a 40-14 victory in Week 9 of the regular season, then beat the Raiders again 20-14 two weeks later in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs.
Both teams have moved into the OCC-Buckeye this fall, and Central already has clinched the league championship.
On Thursday, Oct. 1, Central will try to make it three in a row in the series when they play at Reynoldsburg in the final game before the Region 3 playoffs start.
The Tigers are 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the league after beating Lancaster 35-0 on Sept. 25. They’ve outscored their opponents by a combined 209-12, and were ranked first in last week’s Division I state poll ahead of No. 2 Dublin Coffman.
Against the Golden Gales, senior running back Nick Mosley rushed for 75 yards and one touchdown on nine carries, and senior quarterback Garner Wallace had 76 yards and three touchdowns on seven rushes.
For the season, Mosley has 446 yards and 12 touchdowns on 75 carries and Wallace has 304 yards and five touchdowns on 44 carries. Junior Olando Kamara and sophomore Dylan Bryan also have been key running backs.
Senior wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. has six catches for 127 yards and one touchdown and also has one punt return for a score.
The Raiders improved to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye with a 34-10 win over Central Crossing on Sept. 25.
Sophomore defensive back Chris Karr had 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks to lead the Raiders, and senior lineman Mekhai Woodfork had six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Junior quarterback Dijon Jennings has completed 57 of 104 passes for 1,026 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions and also has rushed for 191 yards on the season. He threw for 284 yards and three scores against the Comets.
Senior running back Daniel Broomfield has missed time with injury and had just three carries against Central Crossing but still leads the Raiders in rushing.
Junior running back Jeremiah Crawford-Smith had 149 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries against Central Crossing.
Junior wide receiver Markez Gillam has emerged as a go-to target for Jennings, finishing with six catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns against the Comets. For the season he has 24 receptions for 460 yards with five scores, and he also has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Central, which returned eight key contributors from last season on defense, posted its third shutout Sept. 25.
The Tigers have gotten a boost from the play of sophomore defensive back Alex Styles, who has two interceptions,
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL at REYNOLDSBURG
•When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1
•Last meeting: 2019, Central 20-14
•Central (5-0 overall, 4-0 in OCC-Buckeye) to date: Defeated Pickerington North 35-9; def. Newark 49-0; def. Central Crossing 47-0; def. Groveport 43-3; def. Lancaster 35-0
•Reynoldsburg (3-2 overall, 2-2 in OCC-Buckeye) to date: Def. Gahanna 48-14; lost to Groveport 45-14; def. Newark 48-14; lost to Lancaster 41-40; def. Central Crossing 34-10
•Top Tigers: C.J. Doggette (DL), William Dukes IV (LB), Tyler Gillison (LB/TE), Nick Mosley (RB), A.J. Sanders (DB), Sirron Smith (DB/RB), Keaton Snyder (OL), Lorenzo Styles Jr. (WR/DB) and Garner Wallace (QB)
•Top Raiders: Justin Barko (WR), Terrell Burton (DL/OL), Jeremiah Crawford-Smith (RB), Markez Gillam (WR), Dalton Hall (OL/DL), Dijon Jennings (QB), N’Rique Love (WR/DB), Patrick O’Brien (DL) and Mekhai Woodfork (DL/RB)