Morning Huddle: Pickerington Central breaks into Top 25 teams in country

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JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Middletown’s sophomore QB Marshall getting lots of looks

• Kory Wiita honored by Browns, astronaut

• Schafrath born to play football


Pickerington Central breaks into Top 25 teams in country: “We want no first downs and no scores,” says star safety Eilar Hardy, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound Notre Dame commit from Pickerington Central. Hardy has helped Pick Central shut out six teams so far this year including a stifling 30-0 win over Westerville South (9-2) Saturday night. The Tigers held Westerville South’s star running back Jayshon Jackson to 103 yards on 31 carries, and the team moved into the No. 25 spot on the nationwide MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Football Rankings. “If a team is going to score on us, we’re going to make them earn it,” coach Jay Sharrett said before the game. “We are an attacking defense. We flood gaps and cause pressure points. We want to give the quarterback the least amount of time to see what his options are.” Cincinnati Colerain and Cleveland Glenville both dropped off the nationwide rankings after tournament losses this weekend.

Middletown’s sophomore QB Marshall getting lots of looks: After helping lead the Middies to an undefeated regular season as a sophomore, Middletown’s Jalin Marshall, a 6-foot, 195-pound quarterback, has added to his offer list after Pittsburgh put their name in the hat on Nov. 5, according to Middies coach Jason Krause. Marshall rushed for 1,426 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 693 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, his first as a starter, and the Cincinnati Bearcats have already offered him a verbal.

Kory Wiita honored by Browns, astronaut: After fracturing three vertebrae in his neck last year while he was making a tackle in a game for Highland High School in Medina County, Kory Wiita has been working hard to walk again after being paralyzed from the chest down. He was on the field at the Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday where NASA astronaut and Northeast Ohio native Michael Good presented Wiita with a signed jersey of Browns receiver Brian Robiskie before the game’s kickoff. Good took the jersey into space this past May aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. “It’s got about five million miles on it,” Good said. “It’s been around the earth about 183 times.”

Schafrath born to play football: Dick Schafrath starred on Ohio State’s 1957 national championship team and was a Pro Bowl offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns when they won the NFL championship in 1964. It’s hard to believe now, but he had never heard of football until he attended Wooster High School. “My mom and dad never went past the eighth grade,” Schafrath said. “They wanted me to be the first (in the family) to go to high school. I’ll never forget that first day. It was a rainy, rainy day, and I was coming home on the bus. I looked out and saw 40 or 50 kids rolling around in the mud with helmets on, and I thought, boy, what’s that?” After learning it was a game called football, he decided he wanted to get involved, but first he needed a physical. The family didn’t have a doctor or dentist. So Schafrath’s mom set him up with a veterinarian. “In between (checking) the calves and pigs, he had me sit down,” Schafrath said. “He said, ‘Can you see lightning.’ Yeah. ‘Can you hear thunder?’ Yeah. He said OK and signed my (physical) card.”

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