CENTERVILLE, Ohio - A furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Pickerington Central Tigers wasn’t quite enough as they fell to the Centerville Elks 38-33 on Friday night.
The only scoring in the first quarter came on a defensive touchdown, when Isaiah Richmond stripped the ball and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Centerville’s (1-0) triple option came alive in the second quarter. Quarterback Will Vance wrapped up a drive with a short two-yard touchdown run, tying the game at seven. Running backs Damien Popp and Tim Roop would both find the end zone, giving the Elks a 21-7 halftime lead.
Centerville’s Nick Bozzo scored the only points of the third quarter on a 20-yard field goal.
Damien Popp found the end zone again shortly in to the fourth quarter, giving the Elks a commanding 31-7 lead.
Just when it looked like Centerville was on their way to victory, Pickerington Central had other ideas. After narrowing the deficit to 31-14, Pickerington Central (0-1) recovered two consecutive onside kicks. The Tigers turned both recoveries in to touchdowns, making the score 31-26.
The Elks were driving before a costly red zone fumble gave the ball back to Pickerington Central with 4:14 left. It looked like the Tigers were going to complete a comeback for the ages when Centerville defensive back Xavier Motley intercepted a pass and returned it 88-yards for a touchdown.
The Elks led 38-26 when Pickerington Central added a late touchdown just before time expired, making the final score 38-33.
Centerville running back Damien Popp rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Pickerington Central quarterback Colby Simkins led the offense with 261 yards passing, 139 yards rushing, and two touchdowns.
Next week Centerville travels to Springboro while Pickerington Central returns home to face Middletown on September 13.