Three plays gaining more than 60 yards helped the Bexley High School football team defeat visiting Africentric 22-16 on Friday.

Three plays gaining more than 60 yards helped the Bexley High School football team defeat visiting Africentric 22-16 on Friday.

Bexley epitomized the complete team concept, scoring points on offense, defense and special teams.

"We were faced with adversity at times and dealt with some first-game jitters, but I thought we did some good things tonight and found a way to win," Bexley coach John Smith said.

After Bexley stymied a promising Nubian opening drive with a stop a fourth-and-1 at its own 34-yard line, Lions running back D.J. Jones ran 62 yards to the Africentric 4 on their first play from scrimmage. Justin Grinter scored on a 4-yard run on the next play to give the Lions a 6-0 lead with 6 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first quarter.

"I'd be remiss not to mention our offensive line and their outstanding job tonight," Smith said.

Africentric responded when receiver Zach Wheat caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin McKee in the left corner of the end zone on third-and-8 with 9:31 left in the first half. McKee then ran for the two-point conversion after muffing the snap.

Bexley responded just 14 seconds later when Elijah Scott returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, giving the Lions a 13-8 lead. The play was vindication for Scott, who had an interception snatched away from him in the end zone by Wheat on the Nubian's touchdown.

"It was a good play for Elijah, because he was able to come back and deal with adversity right away, which is what we always talk about," Smith said.

"I was kind of embarrassed on the touchdown pass, so I told my teammates in the huddle that if they gave me a good hole I would take it to the house," Scott said. "I think it changed the momentum a lot, and making those big plays are going to be who we are this year."

Bexley increased its lead to 15-8 when Africentric was penalized for an illegal block in the back in its own end zone, resulting in a safety with 7:45 left in the half.

Lions quarterback Jalen Robinette appeared to put the game away in the fourth quarter when he ran 72 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw, extending Bexley's lead to 22-8 with 7:03 left.

Africentric cut its deficit to 22-16 with 2:59 remaining when Wheat scored his second touchdown on an 11-yard reception.

"I was happy that we mustered up some character at the end," first-year Africentric coach Eugene Barrett said. "Mistakes and turnovers cost us tonight, but we fought and showed a lot of heart."

The Nubian's last chance was thwarted when Bexley's Nick Daum recovered a fumble at the Lions' 42 with 2:12 left.