Elder falls short of state title

CANTON, Ohio – Sometimes you have to tip your hat to great player. Elder fell short of winning its third state championship, but not because of effort. Pickerington Central quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw made every play he had to, including the ones with his teams back against the wall. That effort helped the Tigers take down Elder, 21-14.

It was the second state title in the last three years for Pickerington Central. Both have come with Crenshaw under center. The Tigers’ senior was tough as nails in this victory and it showed why he is the heart-and-soul of his team.

Elder took the opening drive of the second half 93 yards on 10 plays in 4:31. It culminated in Joseph Catania 2-yard touchdown run. It was his 11th rushing score of the year and it gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead. It looked like momentum was all on the side of Elder.

Crenshaw and the Tigers would trump that score with and 18 play, 73-yard drive that lasted 9:01 and into the fourth quarter. Pickerington Central and their star converted several fourth downs to keep the drive alive. The Tigers were 5-of-5 on fourth-down conversions in the contest. That turned out to be a big factor in the outcome.

After holding Elder and the score tied, Crenshaw would go to work one final time. He connected with Lorenzo Styles Jr. on a 49-yard touchdown pass with 3:41 left in the game. Crenshaw finished the night 14-16 for 197 yards, two touchdown passes and 62 yards rushing.

The high-powered Elder offense would get one more shot late. The Panthers could not convert on fourth down and turned the ball back over. Pickerington Central made a first down after Elder used its last timeout. That was enough to allow them to run out the clock.

The Tigers’ defense also rose to the occasion. They held Elder to a season low 14 points. It was the 11th time that Pickerington Central held an opponent to less than 20 points. Nobody scored more than 28 on the Tigers all year.

Elder quarterback Matthew Luebbe paced the Panthers with 111 yards passing and 118 rushing and a touchdown. It was the eighth straight game in which the senior ran and threw for more than 100 yards.

Pickerington Central 0-7-0-14-21
Elder 7-0-7-0-14

E: Matthew Luebbe 33 run (Sam Harmeyer kick)
P: Nick Mosley 19 run (Andrew Bookman kick)
E: Joseph Catania 2 run (Harmeyer kick)
P: Tyler Gillison 7 pass from Demeatric Crenshaw (Bookman kick)
P: Lorenzo Styles Jr. 49 pass from Crenshaw (Bookman kick)

RECORDS: Pickerington Central (14-1); Elder (12-3)

Attendance: 6,690

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