Pickerington Central state championship preview

Football Friday Nite

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Pickerington Central Tigers are on the cusp of making history once again this Friday. The Tigers won their first state title in 2017 and they can do so again if they beat the Elder Panthers in Canton.

One of the players who was part of that 2017 state championship team is senior quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw who has led the Tigers to 38 wins and only five losses in three seasons.

“Go out with a win the state championship. Can’t nothing be better than that,” Crenshaw said. “I’m the only quarterback here that’s won states so just be the only quarterback who won two states.”

Pickerington Central also has plenty of coaching experience in Jay Sharrett. The 17-year head coach has led Pick Central to 12 straight playoff appearances and four straight regional championships. He’s also led the Tigers to three state title games.

“Just looking over the body of work from the last 15-plus years we’ve had teams that did things that are extraordinary and kind of set the table for this,” Sharrett said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

This game will come down to Pick Central’s ability to exploit Elder’s defense. The Panthers allow 24.5 points a game and have given up at least 24 points in eight of their 14 games. That bodes well for a Tigers team that averages 31.4 points a game. Pick Central has also been solid on defense only allowing 13.4 points a game giving the Tigers an average victory margin of 18 points while only losing one game to Groveport in week four.

“It’s been a great time this year just because we overcame so much,” senior safety Arshan Williams said. “A lot of people counted us out at the beginning of the season so for us to just rally back has been great.”

Both of these teams have been tested in the postseason with Pick Central winning two postseason games by seven points or less and Elder winning three playoff games by seven points or less.

“I mean they’re sharp on offense, they’re sharp on defense, sharp on special teams and you can tell their kids know it’s just about advancing,” Sharrett said. “I think it’s going to be a heck of a ball game.”

Elder has had plenty of success in recent history going to the playoffs in six of the last seven years, and the Panthers have two state titles with both coming in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003. But that does give Pick Central’s seniors and juniors something Elder doesn’t have: experience in a state championship game.

“It’s neat for those guys who were sophomores like Demeatric,” Sharrett said. “These other guys who were sophomores on special teams they know how special it is and it was evident in the way we played on Friday [against Mentor].”

Kickoff for the Division I state championship game is set for 8:00 at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

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