The Pickerington Central Tigers clawed their way to an undefeated season, an Ohio Capital Conference (OCC) Cardinal Division title, and another appearance in the state high school football playoffs.
The 10-0 Tigers will face rival Lancaster in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at Pickerington Central’s historic Tiger Stadium.
It is the Tigers’ fourth playoff appearance in five years (including being state runner up last year) and third OCC title in five years. The team has lost only one regular season game the past two years.
Tiger Head Coach Jay Sharrett said the team improved week by week this season.
"Our success is player driven," said Sharrett. "Sometimes it’s best to stand back and just make sure you’ve got them in the right sized uniforms."
He said the winning attitude and playoff experience from last year’s state runner up team carried over to this season.
"Our guys enjoy playing football. We just don’t feel like the season should end at week 10," said Sharrett.
A rugged schedule
Sharrett said the Tigers’ undefeated season featured some tough wins, particularly on the road with a double overtime 15-9 victory at Groveport and a tight 10-7 win at Olentangy.
"Anyone who has ever played at Olentangy will tell you how tough it is to play there," said Sharrett.
The season also included a 24-13 win over Lancaster, the team the Tigers will face in the first round of the playoffs.
Sharrett said the win over Lancaster this season was the first over the Gales for the Tigers since Pickerington High School split into Central and North high schools.
"It’s hard to win a first round playoff game no matter who you play," observed Sharrett. "Our first round game last year against Canfield was a dog fight."
Sharrett said Pickerington Central’s historic Tiger Stadium, located in downtown Pickerington, also played a role in the team’s undefeated season.
"It’s a great atmosphere with rowdy fans, we love playing there," said Sharrett.