As with many football players who strap on their pads to begin two-a-day workouts in early August, Brookhaven High School senior Vincent Meek couldn't have felt more excited when he put his on for the first time this year.

As with many football players who strap on their pads to begin two-a-day workouts in early August, Brookhaven High School senior Vincent Meek couldn't have felt more excited when he put his on for the first time this year.

He also experienced another emotion - relief - that he was given the opportunity to do so at all.

Last season, Meek sustained two concussions that caused him to miss four full games and parts of two others.

This season he's been among the bright spots on a defense that has given up a combined 35 points during the Bearcats' current three-game winning streak.

Brookhaven, which beat Northland 35-14 on Sept. 23 to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the City League-North Division, plays host to Whetstone on Friday, Sept. 30.

"I was just excited to get back on the field again, because (doctors) said at first that I might not be able to again," Meek said. "The first couple times it was hard, but as I kept tackling, I wasn't having any more headaches."

Meek's toughness likely never has been questioned by anyone in the Brookhaven locker room.

After seeing limited varsity action as a freshman, Meek got his first start at linebacker during his sophomore season and played that entire year with torn ligaments in his shoulder. He underwent surgery after the season.

Last fall, Meek suffered a concussion during a 27-2 opening loss to Marion-Franklin and didn't return until a 3-0 victory over Northland in Week 4 to begin City-North play.

He contributed to consecutive victories over Whetstone (44-8), Linden-McKinley (44-8) and Centennial (36-6) before enduring another concussion during a 26-10 loss to Beechcroft.

The first concussion came while he was making a tackle and the second occurred when his head hit the ground. The second caused him to have headaches for the next several weeks and ended his season prematurely.

"The second one was worse because I'd already had one," Meek said. "After the second one, I was out for the rest of the year and was just working to try to get back on the field this year. They had me take it easy, lay off the phone and computer and let my brain rest. I had real bad headaches for a while, but about six months later they finally started getting better."

In an effort to help Meek face fewer potentially dangerous hits, the Brookhaven coaching staff elected to move him from linebacker to the defensive line.

He's become a key player at defensive tackle on a line that also includes Savon Banks, Antwan Bell, Andrew Clark and Tyler Frazier. Senior Jesse Curry, who was a returning starter on both sides of the line, is out for the season with an injury.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Meek also is sharing the carries at running back with Antonio Bell. He had a 35-yard run during the Bearcats' 28-27 loss to Marion-Franklin on Aug. 26.

His cousin, Jonzelle Meek, is a senior at Columbus East who formerly played for the Bearcats.

"(Vincent Meek) played linebacker pretty much his whole life, but we knew it was a delicate situation and we weren't sure how much he could withstand," coach Trevor White said. "We wanted to try and avoid some of the collisions, and he's been probably our most consistent defensive lineman. He's got a laid-back, low-key personality, but his personality doesn't match how he plays on the field. He's just physical and a good run-stopper, and he's also a good short-yardage running back. He could be an every-down back if we had that type of offense."

•Beechcroft is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the City-North after beating Whetstone 50-14 on Sept. 23.

The Cougars travel Friday, Sept. 30, to Linden looking for their fourth consecutive victory.

Beechcroft, which opened with a 33-0 win over Independence on Aug. 26 but lost to Watterson 42-14 on Sept. 2, also has beaten St. Charles 14-7 on Sept. 9 and Centennial 69-0 on Sept. 16.

Against Whetstone, quarterback Maurice Hale was 18-for-29 passing for 396 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 97 yards and one score.

Linden earned its first victory Sept. 23 when it beat Centennial 28-20.

Quarterback Chajaz Davis scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns and added two two-point conversions to help the Panthers rally from a 20-6 deficit. Davis rushed for 73 yards on 10 carries.

Linden is 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the City-North. It opened league play with a 43-14 loss to Northland on Sept. 16. Beechcroft beat the Panthers 63-0 last season.

•Northland is 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the City-North.

The Vikings were outscored by a combined 102-19 during three consecutive losses to open the season before beating Linden.

Northland plays host Friday, Sept. 30, to Columbus East, which lost to Mifflin 41-6 on Sept. 23 to fall to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the City-North. The Tigers' lone win came Sept. 2 over winless Columbus South (28-0).

Northland, which beat East 35-0 last season, trailed 28-6 after three quarters against Brookhaven. Sam Turay scored on a 1-yard run and quarterback Marquan Napper added a two-point conversion to make it 28-14.

The Bearcats sealed the win with a 70-yard scoring run by quarterback Tajuan Green.

Brookhaven outgained Northland 239-157 on the ground and also held the Vikings to 52 yards passing.

Northland's other score against the Bearcats came on an 11-yard pass from Napper to Wesley Green during the second quarter.