In a 17-0 victory over Whitehall in its MSL-Ohio Division opener Sept. 17, the Bexley High School football team was able to make the Rams one-dimensional by shutting down their passing game.

In a 17-0 victory over Whitehall in its MSL-Ohio Division opener Sept. 17, the Bexley High School football team was able to make the Rams one-dimensional by shutting down their passing game.

But duplicating that feat may be tougher Friday when the Lions travel to Granville for a league contest. The Blue Aces, who fell to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio after a 36-35 loss to Columbus Academy on Sept. 17, passed for more than 2,800 yards last season.

Bexley held Whitehall quarterbacks Ronnie Ward and Taylor Hutchinson to a combined 0-for-10 passing performance and intercepted two passes en route to its first shutout since a 54-0 decision over Lakewood on Oct. 17, 2003.

"(The win over Whitehall) was a nice team defensive effort," coach John Smith said. "We were fortunate to get some pressure with a three-man rush. We were able to make them a little one-dimensional and we had a good feel for when they were going to throw the ball.

"Our underneath coverage was there to help with those picks. We're going to need that a lot (this) week. The nice thing is there has been a constant improvement in our defense in this four-week period."

The biggest play of the game was made by sophomore defensive back D.J. Jones. With Bexley holding a 7-0 lead late in the third quarter, he picked off a pass by Hutchinson and returned it 60 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.

"We just stuck to our coverages and did our best," Jones said. "The ball just came to me and I grabbed it. Then I just started running. This win means a lot for us. This is our first league win, so we are happy about it."

Jones began the season as a backup, but was pressed into the starting lineup when senior Ziyad Khaloufi suffered a broken arm in a 43-0 loss to Canal Winchester in the opener Aug. 29.

"The thing with D.J. is he's very coachable and a very talented young man," Smith said. "Every snap he gets better. He may get beat once on a play, but he's not going to beat on the same play a second time. It's nice to watch him mature in front of my eyes."

The Lions were able to contain Whitehall's offense with only a three-man rush, but they may need more than that to shut down Granville, which is averaging 38.8 points a game. Running back Tyler Link complemented the Blue Aces' passing game by rushing for 226 yards and three touchdowns against Academy.

The Blue Aces, who squandered a 27-7 cushion midway through the third quarter against the Vikings, amassed 468 total yards.

•The girls tennis team is 0-2 against Columbus Academy, but coach Shelby Cheses likes her team's chances of beating the Vikings when they meet in the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio tournament Oct. 3 at Academy.

"In the three years that I've coached here, we haven't been this close to winning the league," said Cheses, whose team fell to 6-5 overall after losing to the Vikings 3-2 on Sept. 17. "We have a shot at winning the league, and hopefully we can make the most of that."

Maddie Morton and Corrine Rauck, who placed third in the Division II state doubles tournament last year, helped Bexley win the top two singles courts against Academy.

Morton defeated Lindsay Hughes 6-3, 6-1 and Rauck defeated Nisha Nataraj 6-1, 6-3. The Vikings sealed the win when the second-doubles team of Mallika Marar and Julia Souba defeated Casey Edelstein and Lindsey Staub 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8).

Bexley also lost to Academy 3-2 on Aug. 31 in the first round of the OTCA Division II tournament. Morton defeated Nataraj 6-0, 6-2 at second singles and Becky Landon, who transferred from Academy to Bexley during the summer, defeated Neha Patel 6-2, 6-3 at third singles.

"The biggest thing is we have to fight to the end and believe in ourselves," Cheses said. "In any tournament, there's a lot of waiting around. The girls need to watch their opponent and come up with a strategy before they go on the court. They need to keep their composure and stay focused."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Bexley boys and girls cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and field hockey teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Wednesday -- Competed in Whetstone Invitational

Wednesday -- Home vs. Columbus Academy

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 15 -- Defeated Whitehall 7-3. Matt Asensio scored three goals.

Last Monday -- Def. Canal Winchester 3-1

*Today -- Home vs. Lakewood

Saturday -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson

*Oct. 1 -- At Heath

Of note: The Lions are 4-1-1 overall and 1-0 in MSL-Ohio.

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 15 -- Def. Columbus Academy 1-0. Leah Levey scored.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Grandview

Saturday -- At Hartley

Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Heath

Of note: The Lions were 5-0-2 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio before last Tuesday.

FIELD HOCKEY

Sept. 15 -- Def. Olentangy 8-0

Sept. 17 -- Tied Academy at 2. Alli Ezzo and Sam Urell scored. Diane Zanner had eight saves.

Last Tuesday -- Played Watterson

Last Wednesday -- Played Worthington Kilbourne

Saturday -- At Cincinnati St. Ursula Academy and Cincinnati Ursuline Academy

Wednesday -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

Of note: The Lions were 6-0-1 overall before last Tuesday.

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 16 -- Lost to DeSales 4-1

*Sept. 17 -- Lost to Columbus Academy 3-2

Last Monday -- Postponed vs. Dublin Jerome

Last Wednesday -- Played Columbus School for Girls

*Today -- At Whitehall

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Granville

Wednesday -- At Reynoldsburg

Oct. 1 -- Home vs. New Albany

Of note: The Lions were 6-5 overall before last Wednesday and are 2-1 in MSL-Cardinal/Ohio

*MSL-Ohio contest

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Bexley boys golf and girls volleyball teams:

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 15 -- Lost to Licking Valley 172-178.

Sept. 17 -- Lost to Columbus Academy 154-164

Last Tuesday -- Played at MSL-Ohio postseason tournament

Today -- At Westchester vs. Grandview

Tuesday -- At Division II sectional tournament at the Players Club at Foxfire or Granville Golf Course. The top three teams and top three individuals on non-qualifying teams advance to the district tournament Oct. 5 at River Greens.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 15 -- Lost to Newark Catholic 25-14, 25-12, 25-9

Sept. 16 -- Lost to Hamilton Township 25-13, 25-20, 25-16

*Sept. 17 -- Lost to Lakewood 25-16, 28-26, 25-12

*Last Tuesday -- Played Licking Valley

*Today -- Home vs. Columbus Academy

Saturday -- At Westfall with Teays Valley

*Tuesday -- At Heath

*Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Whitehall. The Lions beat the Rams 25-21, 25-17, 25-21 on Sept. 8.

Of note: The Lions were 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the MSL-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*MSL-Ohio contest