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Game of the Week #3: Pickerington North vs. Marysville Preview

By Danny Fogarty, 09/02/21, 9:00AM EDT

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A preview of this year's third Game of the Week between Pickerington North and Marysville

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The OCC has some of the best teams in central Ohio.

Not only are the conference's five divisions filled with D-I teams and talent, but these teams are always seen going far into the postseason.

Two programs that exemplify this are Pickerington North and Marysville who will play this Friday at 7 p.m. at Pickerington North's Panther Stadium.

This will be Pickerington North's home opener, and Panthers coach Nathan Hillerich said that there is a lot of enthusiasm going into this game, and there will likely be no empty bleachers.

"There's a lot of excitement for this game," Hillerich said. "We expect it to be one of those 'standing room only' type of events."

Marysville coach Brent Johnson said that his team will focus on its own game plan while also preparing for the electric atmosphere Friday night.

"We're gonna take the same approaches we always do," Johnson said. "We've talked to them [the players] about the challenge."

Both Pickerington North and Marysville had successful seasons in 2020.

The Panthers went 6-2 while winning the OCC-Capital Division, and the Monarchs went 6-2 winning the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Pickerington North is 2-0 this season and has only allowed 10 points through two games.

Marysville is currently 1-0 after blanking Lancaster in its only game thus far.

Both teams have talented defenses that may be the reason neither has lost a game or allowed many if any points this year.


Class of 2021 senior running back Idris Lawrence runs past defenders in a 2020 game against New Albany.(Photo Credit: John Hulkenburg, ThisWeekNews).

Marysville's defense is lead by linebacker Gabe Powers who graduates this year and has already committed to play at Ohio State.

Johnson said that Powers leads is at the center of the Monarchs' defense and they will try to move him around and use his versatility.

"He's our Sam linebacker and we're putting him in different spots you know," Johnson said. "He is a great talent."

Johnson added that his defensive line is filled with veteran players who are all returning from last year.

Pickerington North has a similarly successful defense with talented players like linebacker Eli Coppess and safety Kaedyn Dunbar.

Hillerich said that his defense has all-around talent making it hard for opposing offenses to reach the endzone.

"We're really good across the board," Hillerich said. "We're physical, (we) make it really difficult on on teams to score on us."

With both defenses containing such effective talent, it will be a daunting task for either team to score on offense.

Johnson said his offense's strategy will be to understand the talent Pickerington North has while giving all they have to score during Friday's game.

"We recognize their defense is very athletic," Johnson said. "We've got to be really sound and good in our courses, and we really just got to play for 48 minutes all offensively."

Hillerich said his focus will be on getting his team success at the line of scrimmage centering around the run game and getting through Marysville's talented defensive line.

"We've got to be able to get a push from with our offensive line, (we've) got to be able to find a way to run the football," Hillerich said. "(It's) really gonna be a test to find out who will win the line of scrimmage."

Friday night at 7:00p.m., Panther Stadium will be packed to the brim with fans hoping to see an intense matchup between two elite OCC programs.

The only thing left to do now is wait and see which team will come out on top.