Division I state semifinal: Pickerington Central 38, Mentor 31

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group

NEW PHILADELPHIA — Pickerington Central jumped out to an early lead before holding off Mentor for a 38-31 win in a Division I state semifinal Nov. 6 at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium.

The Tigers scored on their first three possessions for a 21-0 lead and then regained control in the third quarter after Mentor tied the game at 21.

Lorenzo Styles Jr.’s 70-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 37 seconds left in the third quarter snapped the tie. Styles finished with 130 yards rushing on 10 carries.

“When the game is on the line, (No.) 3 is going to have the ball,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. “Those offensive linemen knew, our backs knew, everyone knew. You just keep grinding and grinding. You offset the penalties against us. There were some tough calls, but did anyone panic? No. The team that panics loses and that’s why we’re moving on.”

Pickerington Central's Garrett Meek (51) and Keaton Snyder (53) run off the field in celebration after a 38-31 win over Mentor in a Division I state semifinal Nov. 6 at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia.

The Tigers will play Cincinnati St. Xavier in the state final Nov. 13 at Fortress Obetz.

Central ran its winning streak to 22 games in improving to 11-0. Mentor finished 9-2 after suffering another playoff loss to the Tigers, who defeated the Cardinals 56-28 in the 2017 state championship game and 28-21 in a state semifinal last season.

The Tigers are seeking their second consecutive state title and third overall.

The Cardinals played without starting quarterback Ian Kipp, who Mentor coach Matt Gray said was unavailable. Kipp threw for 2,048 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for seven scores this season.

Sophomore Jacob Snow replaced Kipp and completed 15 of 35 passes for 193 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his first varsity start.

The Tigers struck quickly as Sirron Smith scored on a 14-yard run for a 7-0 lead with 10:01 remaining in the first quarter.

Central again began its next possession in Mentor territory, with Nick Mosley capping the 34-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal.

The Tigers added to their lead on the first play of the second quarter when quarterback Garner Wallace broke free for a 92-yard touchdown and a 21-0 advantage.

Riley Coughlin scored on a 2-yard run to account for the Cardinals’ lone first-half touchdown.

The Cardinals tied the game on Snow’s 5-yard touchdown to Hutch Baird and Coughlin’s 1-yard run.

Wallace rushed for 136 yards on 21 carries. He was 8-for-9 passing for 116 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown to Gavin Edwards in the fourth quarter.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank

MENTOR: 0-7-17-7--31

PICKERINGTON CENTRAL: 14-7-7-10--38 

PC—Smith 14 run (Vollmer kick)

PC—Mosley 4 run (Vollmer kick)

PC—Wallace 92 run (Vollmer kick)

M—Coughlin 2 run (Smith kick)

M—Baird 5 pass from Snow (Smith kick)

M—Coughlin 1 run (Smith kick)

PC—Styles 70 run (Vollmer kick)

M—Smith 37 FG

PC—Edwards 31 pass from Wallace (Vollmer kick)

M—Norwood 11 pass from Snow (Smith kick)

PC—Vollmer 25 FG