Throughout a storied football history that includes 24 conference titles, 16 playoff berths and multiple NFL alumni, Centerville football players have accomplished numerous feats. Friday another one was checked off the list.
Catching six passes for 47 yards, senior receiver Jake Spiewak became the first Elk to topple 1,000-yards receiving in a season as Centerville blanked Hilliard Darby 35-0 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs at Centerville Stadium.
The Elks (10-1) will face Pickerington North (41-20 winners over Wayne) next Friday in the regional semifinals. The OHSAA will announce the location Sunday.
Centerville beat Pickerington North 27-26 in Week 3 on a last-second field goal.
Darby, making its sixth postseason appearance in eight years, finishes 7-4.
“He’s 6-4, 205,” Centerville senior quarterback Alec Grandin said of Spiewak. “It’s a dream to throw to a guy like that. I’m really proud of him. He’s a brother to me.”
Said first-year Centerville head coach Brent Ullery: “I never know when he’s targeted. We call whatever the defense gives us. We don’t try to pick a guy and throw at him, but he’s had a heck of a year.”
Spiewak broke JD Kennard’s single-season receiving record (897 yards set in 1999) in the regular season finale against Beavercreek with 148 yards and three touchdowns on six receptions. He also broke his own school record for receptions in a game (11) earlier this season with 13 in a win over Fairmont.
“Grandin does a great job with his reads and making my job easy,” Spiewak said. “We’ve got a great receiving corps. We all help each other. They deserve the credit.”
Grandin edged closer to a milestone of his own. Completing 19-of-26 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, Grandin is just 23 yards shy of Jacob Harrison’s single-season record for passing yards (2,379) set in 2015.
“Grandin is the engine that makes us go,” Ullery said. “He’s always making plays for us. Spiewak is one of those tools that he leans on. What people don’t see is what they do behind the scenes. They’re great leaders, role models and teammates.”
Defensively, Centerville was great too. And then some.
After gaining 54 yards on its first possession, which ended with a fumble on first-and-goal from Centerville’s 6-yard line, Darby managed minus-5 yards the rest of the game and finished with 49 total. Following the first drive, Darby didn’t gain another first down until less than 10 minutes remained in the fourth quarter.
It was the second straight shutout for Centerville, which beat Beavercreek 26-0 last week.
“(The defense has) played really well the last three weeks,” Ullery said. “Kudos to them. They kept us in it in the first half because the offense did not play well.”
Centerville held a slim 7-0 lead at halftime after two first-half turnovers and a failed fourth-down attempt inside the Darby 10. The Elks scored on their first four possessions of the second half to kick start a running clock with 7:12 left.
“We went in at half and the coaches were pretty mad at us,” Spiewak said. “We were pretty mad at ourselves as well, because we know what we’re capable of.
“Second half we did our jobs.”