The return of football to Whitehall-Yearling High School featured one of the wildest games Rams coach Jake Kuhner has been involved in.
Playing at home for the first time since 2011, Whitehall lost to Bloom-Carroll 52-51 in three overtimes Sept. 6.
Last season, Whitehall played its home games at neutral sites because of a school renovation project.
"That was probably one of the best games I've ever been a part of," Kuhner said.
"We were down by two touchdowns. Our kids fought for it."
The renovation project included stadium upgrades to the bleachers and press box, a new track surface and extensive work on the field.
"The stadium was packed, the students were loud, the crowd was loud," senior quarterback Cody Koons said. "It felt nice to be home again under lights that are ours. It felt good to be back home."
Alex Peirano scored on a 2-yard run in the third overtime and Dominic Garris added the extra point to lift Bloom-Carroll (2-0) past the Rams (1-1).
The Rams had taken a 51-45 lead on the first possession of the third overtime when Koons connected with Tristen Ritchie for a 16-yard touchdown. However, Ritchie's extra point was deflected and glanced off a goal post.
Whitehall trailed 21-7 at halftime before rallying in the third quarter to tie the game at 21.
B.J. Upchurch returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown and Shaquille Alexander scored on a 3-yard run.
Koons' 25-yard touchdown pass to Ritchie and Ritchie's 30-yard field goal as time expired in regulation forced overtime.
Koons passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a 4-yard score in the second overtime, and Alexander rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
"Bloom-Carroll is a great team," Koons said.
"I have nothing but respect for them. We just battled hard and going into three overtimes, I've never been a part of anything like that. That was one of the best things I've ever experienced in my life. That was phenomenal."
Whitehall plays at home Friday, Sept. 13, against Whetstone, which improved to 2-0 with a 40-0 win over Africentric on Sept. 6. Quarterback Ramroth Finnegan had two touchdown passes and ran for another score.
Last season, Finnegan passed for 2,458 yards and 20 touchdowns and was special mention all-district in Division II. He has received interest from several colleges, including teams from the Mid-American Conference.
"They have a great quarterback," Kuhner said.
"They have some weapons on offense. Defensively, they're a solid team."
Whitehall opened the season by winning 29-25 at Central Crossing on Aug. 30. The Rams trailed 12-7 entering the fourth quarter before scoring 22 unanswered points.
Alexander's 16-yard run gave Whitehall a 21-19 lead and Koons' 52-yard touchdown run provided an insurance score.
Koons rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns and completed 13 of 24 passes for 148 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown to Ritchie in the fourth quarter.
Alexander rushed for 77 yards on 25 carries, and Upchurch had six receptions for 69 yards.
"We proved a lot about ourselves," Koons said of the loss to Bloom-Carroll.
"We're a good football team and we think we can play with anyone. It stinks that we had to lose that game, but now it's just keep our heads up and work hard and get ready for Whetstone."
Girls tennis team edged by Centennial
After being shut out by Columbus Academy and London to begin the season, girls tennis coach Ben White was pleased with his team's effort in a 3-2 loss to Centennial on Sept. 3.
The Rams were 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Bexley on Sept. 10.
Against Centennial, winners were Courtney Price and Ariana Oldham 6-4, 6-4 at first doubles and Angela Li and Zi Wong 6-4, 6-4 at second doubles.
"Each girl is making strides with individual skills," White said.
"After a disappointing loss at London, where we could have done better, our doubles teams have focused on implementing strategies that include crashing the net and using lobs for defense, which they used in their match against Centennial."
Hailu wins Northland meet
Nahom Hailu finished first (17 minutes, 12 seconds) in the Northland Invitational on Sept. 7, holding off runner-up Hayden Palmer (17:14) of Whetstone.
The Rams finished fifth (130) behind champion Watterson (54) as 15 teams scored.
Hailu also finished first (18:46) in the Whitehall Invitational on Aug. 24.
The girls team didn't score in the Northland Invitational.
Boys soccer team ties West Jefferson
After beginning the season 0-3 and being outscored 30-1, the boys soccer team tied host West Jefferson at 1 on Sept. 5.
The Rams were 0-3-1 overall playing Columbus West on Sept. 9. They are 0-1-1 in the MSL-Ohio.
Against West Jefferson, Hailu scored and goalkeeper Ethan Miller had 12 saves.