As Schuyler Wright winds down his golf career at Whitehall-Yearling High School, he points to a pair of changes before his senior season as keys to his development in the sport.
First, Jeff Bills took over as coach during the summer after Mike Munroe resigned. Bills is the golf professional at Eagle Eye in Whitehall, and Wright credits him with adjusting his swing and thus improving his game.
"I know the game much better now and coach has really switched my swing around," Wright said.
Also, the Rams switched home courses, moving from Walnut Hill to Eagle Eye.
"With coach Bills, we got a big upgrade with our home course," Wright said. "It has helped me some."
Those adjustments resulted in Wright shooting a career-best 42 three times this season, with the latest coming against Columbus Academy in a 161-203 loss at Eagle Eye on Sept. 6.
Before this season, Wright's career best for nine holes was 45.
"The golf swing that he's learned and I have taught him will be fine for the rest of his life," Bills said. "He's at least going to excel in playing with other people, in outings with friends. Whatever business he decides to get in, he'll at least be very comfortable when he steps on the golf course for the rest of his life because he can shoot a decent score."
The Rams achieved a team goal of shooting below 200 in a 163-199 loss to Licking Valley at Eagle Eye on Aug. 30. Wright had a 42.
Wright, whose team competed in the MSL-Ohio Division postseason tournament Sept. 18 at Clover Valley, is hoping to earn his first district berth in his four seasons in the program.
"I have to remember the keys that my coach has told me -- play smart and stay out of trouble in the fairway," Wright said.
The Division I sectional tournaments will be held Oct. 2. The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team from each sectional advance to district Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Last season at sectional, Wright had rounds of 50 and 51 as Whitehall was 14th (481) at Granville Golf Course behind champion Upper Arlington (298).
Jared DeSanto, a 2012 graduate, led the Rams with a 98.
Wright shot a 108 at sectional as a sophomore and 144 as a freshman.
Wright is the only senior on the team and has been looked upon for leadership, according to Bills.
"I'm tying to help them understand the game better," Wright said. "I'm giving them help that I wish I had from my teammates when I was a freshman and sophomore. I did get some help, but there were things that I'd wished I had known before."
Wright, who also competes on the bowling team, has a 4.0 GPA and is considering attending Otterbein or Ohio Dominican, where he hopes to continue his golf career.
"Schuyler is a great kid. I wish I had another year with him," Bills said.
"He's one of those fantastic ones. He's very respectful. If you had five of those you'd be living a dream."
Football team to visit Heath
The football team will look to end a three-game losing streak when it visits Heath on Friday, Sept. 21.
Both teams are 1-3.
After opening with a 40-7 win over Central Crossing on Aug. 24, the Rams have lost three consecutive games, including a 34-7 decision against Licking Valley on Sept. 14 in the MSL-Ohio opener at Reynoldsburg.
"This team wants to get better, they want to win games," coach Jake Kuhner said. "They want to improve. That's a good sign."
Heath's win came at home against Utica 34-6 on Sept. 7.
Heath is led by senior tailback Donyelle Simpson, who had 260 yards rushing and four touchdowns against Utica.
Last season, he rushed for more than 1,800 yards and scored 16 touchdowns and was first-team all-district.
"They have a great running back," Kuhner said of Simpson. "We played them last year. He's a real tough kid, real hard-nosed."
Whitehall defeated Heath 15-8 last season on its way to a 6-4 overall record and 4-3 finish in the league. Heath finished 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the league.
Heath defeated Whitehall 45-19 in 2010 on its way to the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs, where it lost to Hartley 39-26 in a semifinal.
Against Licking Valley, Whitehall had 90 of its 154 total yards and three first downs on a late drive, scoring with 50 seconds left on a 24-yard run by Paulus Thomas.
Whitehall had just one first down in the first half.
Licking Valley's Drew McArtor had 22 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns, and Hunter Hartshorn had 15 carries for 110 yards and a score.
"Licking Valley was what we expected, a tough, hard-nosed team," Kuhner said. "We had to make big plays and we ended up coming up without any of them."