Pickerington Central loaded with big-time recruits, expectations

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Pickerington Central Tigers
The Tigers were the state runner-up in Division II in 2006 before
moving to D-I last year. Central downed rival Lancaster 21-7 in its
playoff opener before falling to Dublin Coffman 35-9 in a second-round
match-up.

Jay Sharrett, back for his sixth year as the Central head coach, has
just three starters back on offense and four on defense. But most of
them are well known players.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

RB/LB Zach Boren (6-1, 240, Sr.), WR/CB Patrick White (6-1, 175, Sr.), WR/DB Jamie Wood (6-2, 190, Sr.), TE/LB Blaine Burgess (6-3, 250, Sr.), QB Nick Raymond (5-8, 170, Sr.), QB John Montgomery (5-11, 170, Sr.).

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 11-1, Regional semifinalist

The Tigers were the state runner-up in Division II in 2006 before moving to D-I last year. Central downed rival Lancaster 21-7 in its playoff opener before falling to Dublin Coffman 35-9 in a second-round match-up.

Jay Sharrett, back for his sixth year as the Central head coach, has just three starters back on offense and four on defense. But most of them are well known players.

Wood is considered one of the nation’s top defensive back prospects. He is rated as Ohio’s No. 10 overall prospect, according to Ohio High magazine. He has verbaled to Ohio State.

Also headed to Ohio State is Boren, a two-way standout at fullback and linebacker.

White, rated as the state’s No. 30 prospect, has verbaled to Michigan State.

“You could almost group them together,” Sharrett said. “They have all been starters since their freshman year. They have started on some pretty good football teams. They have won some big games and they know what it takes to prepare.”

Raymond and Montgomery split time at quarterback last year and could do so again in 2008.

“We could see one of them win that job,” Sharrett said. “We run basically the same offense with the two of them. One is a little taller and throws the ball better. One is shorter and runs the ball better.”

Even with so few starters returning, Sharrett believes Central will again be competitive.

“I think we will be all right,” he said. “We are playing one of the toughest schedules we have had. We play Upper Arlington. They were a playoff team with a lot of good juniors last year. A lot of people are talking about that game.

“Then, they just realigned our league. We play Lancaster, Grove City and Gahanna as part of that.”

As noted, Central just made the conversion from Division II to Division I last year.

“It sounds strange, but we always played a Division I schedule since our school district split several years ago,” Sharrett said. “Division II is not that much different except for the depth. You will see teams play five or six guys both ways in Division II. Division I is a little bit more difficult.

“We were able to go toe-to-toe for a half or maybe even three quarters. But in our second-round playoff game against Coffman they just kind of wore us down in the second half.”

SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 at Upper Arlington
Aug. 29 at Springfield Consolidated
Sept. 5 Westerville North
Sept. 12 Lancaster
Sept. 19 at Pickerington North
Sept. 26 Gahanna Lincoln
Oct. 3 Groveport-Madison
Oct. 10 at Newark
Oct. 17 Grove City
Oct. 24 at Reynoldsburg

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