The Brookhaven High School football team is hoping the second half of its regular season features stability.
After the Bearcats beat Northland 29-28 in overtime in their City League-North Division opener Sept. 20, senior Bruce Foster was moved from quarterback to fullback and sophomore Macyah Fleming took over behind center.
On the other side of the ball, Brookhaven spent the season's first half adjusting to a new defensive coordinator for the first time in more than a decade.
Wes Edwards, who played defensive back for Brookhaven before graduating in 2008 and then went on to play for Urbana University, assumed that role during the offseason after Steve Ayers left to be an assistant at Walnut Ridge.
The Bearcats, who were 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the City-North after beating Whetstone 46-24 on Sept. 27, travel Friday, Oct. 4, to Linden-McKinley.
"It's been a real good experience so far," Edwards said. "I really enjoy being around the guys, and Brook-haven is home for me. It's a really good group of young men. We didn't have a lot of players with a lot of playing experience, but it's been coming along. Our defense is completely different this year with us now running a 3-3-5, which is what we ran when I was at Urbana."
Offensively, the Bearcats struggled in losses to Marion-Franklin (27-2 on Sept. 6) and Central Crossing (10-7 on Sept. 13) but improved the last two weeks.
Fleming, who also is the team's punter, ran for a first down on a fake against Northland and also pinned the Vikings inside their 5-yard line twice.
The Northland-Brookhaven game was tied at 22 at the end of regulation. The Vikings scored on their first overtime possession but failed to complete a two-point conversion. Brookhaven tied it at 28 and won the game when senior Terry Barker, who plays wide receiver and linebacker and was the team's No. 2 kicker, made the extra point.
Against Whetstone, running back David Peoples rushed 21 times for 272 yards and three touchdowns and returned an interception for a score. Fleming rushed for two touchdowns and threw for one.
"I feel like we're a solid team," senior tight end and linebacker Paul Hughes said. "We've still got room for improvement, but I feel pretty good about our defense. I feel like the stuff (Edwards) has put in is working and it feels like we've got athletes all over the field.
"(Beating Northland) boosted the team. It shouldn't have been as close as it was."
Tennis teams play in City tourney
The Beechcroft and Northland girls tennis teams will compete at the sectional level Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5.
The Cougars will participate in a Division II sectional at Columbus School for Girls, where the top four singles players and top four doubles teams advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 and 12 at CSG.
The Vikings will play in a Division I sectional at Hilliard Davidson. The top four in singles and doubles qualify for district Oct. 11 and 12 at the same site.
On Sept. 23 and 25, Beechcroft finished sixth (16.5 points) and Northland was last (4.5) of 11 teams in the City League tournament. Whetstone was first (95.5).
The doubles team of juniors Malika Clinton and Jobita Masariegos won both of its matches Sept. 23 at Linden to advance to the quarterfinal round Sept. 25 at Wolfe Park, but didn't make it to the finals. Also winning a match in the City tournament was junior Allexis Weaver in singles.
"Malika and Jobita are both brand new players so I'm very excited they made it (to the second day of competition in the City tournament)," coach Daphne Hess said. "Allexis lost in the second round, but she played very well."
Beechcroft was 4-3 in duals before playing Whitehall on Oct. 1.
Weaver is expected to be joined in singles at sectional by juniors Karleyia Washington and Christine Wolff. Clifton and Masariegos will comprise one doubles team, and the other will feature juniors Reagan Thomas and Katrina Search.
For Northland, senior Janelle Ragland won her first match and lost her second and classmate Jocelyn Shaw lost her opener in the City tournament.
The Vikings, who went 0-8 in duals, will have juniors Jalina Davis and Dylis Gymiah and sophomore Sapphire Watson playing singles at sectional, with Ragland and Shaw and juniors Asia Coles and Dalina Miller comprising the doubles teams.
"It's been a fun year," said Dan Zedeker, who took over as Northland coach in early August. "It was one of those years where we needed to get the word out a little better that we have a team. We're looking for better things next year."
City championships to be held in 4 sports
The City tennis tournament kicked off the league championship season for teams throughout the conference.
The City golf tournament will be held Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Airport. The boys soccer and girls soccer finals are scheduled for Oct. 10 and the girls volleyball championship match will be held Oct. 12.
Football | Week 6
BEECHCROFT at MIFFLIN
•When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3
•Last meeting: 2012, Beechcroft 34-19
•Beechcroft (3-2 overall, 2-0 in City-North) to date: Defeated Dayton Dunbar 14-0; lost to Dublin Jerome 26-14; lost to Walnut Ridge 24-0; def. Whetstone 15-8; def. Linden-McKinley 81-8
•Mifflin (3-2 overall, 2-0 in City-North) to date: Lost to Licking Heights 40-6; def. Westland 24-0; lost to Watkins Memorial 26-12; def. Columbus East 48-12; def. Centennial 53-21
•Top Cougars: Adonis Davis (RB/LB), Darius Ford (WR/DB), Khalor Franklin (RB/LB), Rayshawn Norah (WR/DB) and Mike Powers (WR/DB)
•Top Punchers: Marsaan Banks (QB), Montrese Frazier (WR), Michael Gause (OL/DL), Jakob Green (WR/DB) and Stanley Jackson (WR/DB)
BROOKHAVEN at LINDEN-McKINLEY
•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4
•Last meeting: 2012, Brookhaven 35-8
•Brookhaven (3-2 overall, 2-0 in City-North) to date: Def. Columbus West 49-20; lost to Marion-Franklin 27-2; lost to Central Crossing 10-7; def. Northland 29-28 (OT); def. Whetstone 46-24
•Linden (1-4 overall, 0-2 in City-North) to date: Def. Africentric 28-0; lost to West 33-22; lost to Columbus South 48-6; lost to Centennial 28-18; lost to Beechcroft 81-8
•Top Bearcats: Bruce Foster (QB/LB), Paul Hughes (TE/LB), Davonte Lewis (RB/LB), David Peoples (RB) and Takeyvion Simmons (RB/LB)
•Top Panthers: Nick Battle (RB/LB), Davounte Cox (WR/DB), Marquise Mann (WR/DB), Jeff Schwalbauch (OL/DL), Josh Spelhaug (OL/DL), Hasan Vance (TE/DL) and James Williams (WR/DB)
CENTENNIAL at NORTHLAND
•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4
•Last meeting: 2012, Northland 38-0
•Centennial (3-2 overall, 1-1 in City-North) to date: Def. Grandview 20-7; def. Franklin Heights 48-47; lost to Bexley 34-22; def. Linden-McKinley 28-18; lost to Mifflin 53-21
•Northland (3-1 overall, 1-1 in City-North) to date: Def. Independence 20-18; def. Cincinnati Taft 36-30; lost to Brookhaven 29-28 (OT); def. Columbus East 64-20
•Top Stars: Jirequez Fair-Harris (TE/LB), Jeremy Johnson (QB/P), Kenny Lambert (OL/DL), Noah Martin (OL/DL), Tyler Patterson (WR) and Darsean Watts (RB/LB)
•Top Vikings: Jhustus Cornley (WR/DB), Nateshawn Hargrove (RB/LB), Malcolm Marshall (WR/DB), Glenn Smith III (WR) and Abu Turay (RB/DB)