PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — On Friday, Sept. 10 Pickerington North junior Harry Agonis lined up for a 25-yard field goal in overtime with a chance to take down rival Pickerington Central for the first time in eight years.
“It was nerve-wracking to kick it but I just knew,” Agonis said. “I could just feel that it was going to go in.”
He was right and the Panthers beat the Tigers 13-10 after trailing 10-0 in the third quarter.
Belief is a feeling that permeates throughout the Pick North team and that belief remained leading up to Friday’s game against their staunch rival despite losing to Marysville 31-6 one week prior.
“We knew it was a tough task, but before the game in the locker room we said the only people who think we are going to win this game are in this locker room,” said Pickerington North head football coach Nate Hillerich.
Even though the Panthers were down 10-3 with a minute and a half to play, the belief didn’t waiver. Pick North needed a turnover and the defense had a strategy to make that happen: have one player tackle the Central ball carrier while another comes in to strip the football.
“That’s exactly what happened, other than [the fact that] I was the one to wrap and strip,” Pick North junior linebacker Malik Ray said with a chuckle.
But forcing the turnover wasn’t all that happened. Ray also put points on the scoreboard.
“Scoop and score? That wasn’t part of the game plan,” Ray said with an ear-to-ear grin. “You don’t know how relieved everyone was on the sideline to see we are tied up and we have a chance.”
And that led to the overtime drama where Agganis, a soccer player who is in his second year kicking for the Panthers, gave his school a win eight years in the making.
“Two generations of kids in this high school have not beaten that team!” Ray said. “So it feels even better.”
“We’re going to fight every night. We’re going to come 100% and we’re ready,” Agganis said.
“The confidence to know that you can play with anybody,” Hillerich said with regards to how important this win was for his team and the program. “It’s not the belief now. It’s facts. We know we can do it.”