Rams football team focusing on Grandview
The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team was one of the few that managed to contain Grandview's offense last season.
The Bobcats defeated the Rams 24-0 in week three, but it was the second fewest points Grandview scored in a game last year. The Bobcats, who defeated Liberty Union 20-10 in week 10, averaged 37.3 points per game last season.
Whitehall plays Grandview on Friday, Sept. 7, at Reynoldsburg.
The Rams, who were 1-0 before playing Bloom-Carroll on Aug. 31, are looking forward to the challenge.
"Last year, we were clicking," coach Jake Kuhner said of the Grandview game. "We were in the game and then the second quarter came and we didn't have any answers. I don't think our halftime adjustments were the greatest and they did great halftime adjustments against us. We have the same offensive coordinator (Jarrod Pruiett) this year, so he knows what he's looking for in those guys. We're running a more high-tempo defense with a lot of fronts that we're going to throw at them."
Grandview was 1-0 before playing East Knox on Aug. 31. The Bobcats defeated Centennial 42-20 on Aug. 24 behind junior quarterback Nick Schopis, who threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Luke Miller and had scoring runs of 1 and 11 yards.
Last season, the Bobcats finished 10-1 after losing to Ashland Crestview 45-29 in the first round of the Division V, Region 19 playoffs. It was Grandview's first unbeaten regular season since 1955 and first postseason berth since 2005.
The Bobcats also won the MSL-Cardinal Division at 7-0.
"Grandview graduated a great class last year," Kuhner said. "They have a heck of a running back (Payton Jones) this year. It's a solid team, a blue-collar team, so obviously we're not going to look past them because of the class that they graduated."
Kuhner said an early season concern has been the players' dedication to training. The Rams beat Central Crossing 40-7 in their opener Aug. 24.
"We've had to get on the kids a little bit for conditioning and lifting," Kuhner said. "They know what we expect day in and day out. I told them we need to put in four hard days of work a week before we go to payday on Friday. I pride myself on conditioning and lifting. Those are the building blocks. It's very important to be in shape and at least maintain your strength, if not get stronger, during the year."
Defense a concern for boys soccer team
Boys soccer coach Dan Ensign said defensive breakdowns have been a concern so far this season, as the Rams allowed 15 goals while losing their first three games.
"I haven't been happy with our defensive breakdowns and some of our poor decision-making," Ensign said. "There have been unforced turnovers that have resulted in goals as well."
Whitehall lost to Northland 5-1 on Aug. 28, as senior midfielder Abiel Kiflu scored for the Rams.
"We've had stretches where it looks like we're playing some good combination soccer; we're controlling the ball and we're possessing the ball," Ensign said. "We're having some trouble in our final third and in their final third. I would also like to see more shots on goal by us and maybe more corner kicks."
Volleyball team wins first league match
After opening the season by losing to Hamilton Township 26-24, 25-18, 25-15 on Aug. 27, the girls volleyball team bounced back to defeat Columbus Academy 28-30, 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 in its MSL-Ohio opener Aug. 28.
"I only have 10 girls and of the 10, eight are pretty much the solid (ones) that play, so for them to play back-to-back nights, that's a lot to start off the season," coach Danielle Smith said. "They pulled it together."
Last season, Whitehall swept the season series with Academy, winning 25-11, 25-20, 25-10 and 25-3, 25-21, 25-13 to finish 2-12 in the league. Academy was 0-14.
Smith hopes her team can improve its league record.
"The girls want to start beating some of the elite teams in the league," she said. "If we keep hustling the way that we hustle, there's going to be some teams that we knock off just by outplaying them."
Smith pointed to the efforts of senior outside-hitter Melanie Gilmer and junior libero Andrea Seberig as keys to the team's early success.
The Rams play host to Licking Valley on Thursday, Sept. 6.
Last season, Licking Valley defeated Whitehall 25-12, 25-11, 25-10 and 25-14, 25-20, 25-19.
Licking Valley and Newark Catholic tied for first in the league at 12-2. The Rams played Newark Catholic on Sept. 5.
"Newark Catholic is always at the top of the league," Smith said. "Valley is usually right up there. The top two are usually Granville and Newark Catholic. (Licking Valley) will be a good test for us. It will let us know exactly what we need to work on to make the corrections to try to win."
After two matches, Kayla Williams had 21 assists, Gilmer had 12 kills, Marissa Ware had 10 kills and Amber Lucas had nine kills.
Boys golf team sees scores drop
First-year coach Jeff Bills said he's pleased with the progress of the boys golf team.
Before competing against Licking Valley on Aug. 30, Whitehall had a season-best 212 in a 160-212 loss to Heath at Burning Tree on Aug. 29.
The Rams lost to Newark Catholic 164-251 on Aug. 20 and to Lakewood 150-224 on Aug. 23.
"We're looking to get to 200," Bills said. "We're starting to make our way to where I want to go."
Against Heath, Schuyler Wright led Whitehall with a 45. Malik Mock had a 54 and Jakob Kilhefner had a 55.