The Bexley High School football team proved its 5-0 start was no fluke Oct. 4 against visiting West Jefferson in an MSL-Ohio showdown.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the point was made in a loss.
After taking a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game, Bexley (5-1 overall and 2-1 in MSL-Ohio) trailed 21-7 with just over nine minutes left. After cutting the deficit to 21-14 on Zach Ward’s 1-yard run with 5:32 left, the Lions defense forced a stop on third down but committed an illegial participation penalty on fourth down.
Bexley finally got the ball back with a minute left but threw an interception on its first play. The Lions had started 5-0 for the first time since 1982.
“We could have packed it in when it was 21-7, but these kids believe in themselves and gave themselves an opportunity to tie the game at the end,” Lions coach John Smith said. “Our kids are learning to understand how good of a football team they are, and I don’t think they quite realize what they did tonight against an extremely good team in West Jefferson. I told our young men what happens tomorrow and what happens next Friday will determine the kind of team we are.”
Rasheed Morgan took the opening kick 82 yards to set up a 14-yard scoring run by quarterback Andre Stewart.
West Jefferson (5-1, 2-0) tied the score on its second possession, as quarterback Logan Stepp hit Nick Mendenhall on a 59-yard post pass less than five minutes into the game.
With Bexley’s offense stuck in neutral for the rest of the half, the defense forced three turnovers on downs and recorded an interception by Stewart with 7:29 left in the half.
“We ran cover four a lot, which brings our safeties down on outside contain, so that’s how we kept them inside,” Lions defensive back Greg Miller said.
West Jefferon took their first lead with 3:32 left in the third when receiver Ross Brenneman recovered Stepp’s fumble in the end zone. Stepp added a 77-yard touchdown run in the fourth to push the lead to 21-7.
“'Believe' is what it says on the back of our helmets, and that’s what we need to do right now,” Miller said.
B--Stewart 14 run (Hirsh kick)
WJ--Mendenhall 59 pass from Stepp (Lollo kick)
WJ--Brenneman recovered fumble in end zone (Lollo kick)
WJ--Stepp 77 run (Lollo kick)
B--Ward 1 run (Hirsh kick)