Game of the week: The battle of Pickerington

Friday’s matchup: Pickerington Central (6-1) at Pickerington North (6-1), is the most anticipated game for week 8.

North go in ranked at fifth in the state. Pickerington at 13th (MaxPreps).

North edges Central when it comes to schedule ranking. The Panthers come in at number three (18.68) in Division I, Region 3, whereas the Tigers place fifth (17.52), per Joe Eitel.

The statistics do not show for how important Friday night is on both sides of the ball. This aged rivalry is one of the best every year in Central Ohio, and this year is no different. In fact, this year is at the top of the list when it comes to key games.

Why is this year so important? Well, 363 days ago at Pickerington Central High School, the same two teams gave it everything they had. The game ended with a Central win, 17-14.

Not only did the Tigers defeat the Panthers in the regular season last year, they also met in the postseason. The Tigers won 38-24, knocking the Panthers out of the playoffs. They went on to the state semi-finals to be defeated by St. Xavier in overtime, 29-27.

With the past behind them, the Panthers are rolling this year. With dominating wins over Dublin Jerome (35-0), Reynoldsburg (35-7) and Olentangy Liberty (42-0), it looks as if they will be the team to beat.

Panther quarterback Jimmy Weirick ranks first in passing touchdowns (17), third in rushing

touchdowns (8), and third in passing yards (1,317) (Division I).

Other key players include defensive end Alex Williams, linebacker Nick Giardina, safety Ty Wiley, guard Jalen Bankston, tight-end Ben Johnson, and safety Eli Davis.

The Tigers are led by tight-end Trenton Gillison, cornerback Xavier Harrison, quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw, defensive tackle DeWayne Carter, and cornerback Jeremiah Wood.

Both teams come off week seven victories. North defeated Grove City 49-7 and Central slid past Lancaster in a tight 14-13 game.

As stated, the rivals both go into Friday’s game with a matching, 6-1 record. Following the game, no longer will they be matching. Who will it be?

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