The Bexley High School football team has been looking forward to Friday, Aug. 30, for some time, and not just because it's opening night.
For the second consecutive season, the Lions open against Harvest Prep, and they're determined to improve on last year's 34-6 loss to the Warriors.
"We know they were a good football team last year," senior two-way lineman Jack Needles said. "We've been thinking about this game all summer. It's really been motivation for us. We're all really excited."
While the Lions finished 2-8 a year ago, the Warriors went 6-4.
First and foremost for Bexley will be attempting to slow down Harvest Prep quarterback/receiver R.J. Johnson, who also is a standout track and field athlete. Last spring in the Division III state meet, Johnson placed second in the 200 meters, third in the 400 and fifth in the 100.
"We definitely have the speed to contain him," Needles said. "If all of our defensive players maintain our discipline, we should be able to slow him down."
The Lions also will be focusing on Robert King, who plays on the offensive line, occasionally lines up at fullback and is a standout linebacker. He had 11 tackles and a sack in last year's game.
"I know they had a very good football team last year, with some very talented people," Lions coach John Smith said of the Warriors.
On offense, Bexley returns several of its top players from a year ago, including junior quarterback Andre Stewart, senior running back Rasheed Morgan, senior fullback Jacob Old and senior receiver Chad Meyer.