Alexander puts victory before record
As Whitehall-Yearling High School football player Shaquille Alexander pursued a longtime program record Sept. 27 against Bexley, his first concern was the outcome of the game.
Bexley outlasted Whitehall 35-34 in two overtimes and the Rams lost their third consecutive game the following week, 42-40 on Oct. 4 against visiting Columbus Academy.
Against Bexley, Alexander scored five touchdowns, a program record that includes overtimes. He scored four touchdowns in regulation and one in the second overtime.
Dan Gartner held the 52-year-old program record for touchdowns in regulation with four. Gartner remains a member of the program as its equipment manager.
"I knew the record was four, but I wasn't focused on breaking the record," Alexander said. "When it went into overtime when I had four and then I scored again, everybody said I broke the record. I really didn't think about it because we still lost. I was just focused on that we lost, so to me the record really didn't matter. I just want my team to win."
Whitehall will look to get back on track when it visits Grandview on Friday, Oct. 11.
The Rams are 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division, while Grandview is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the league.
For the season, Alexander has rushed for 589 yards and 10 touchdowns on 150 carries.
The Rams are averaging 34.2 points but allowing 36.8 per game.
"We've been real happy with the offense as long as we're moving the ball and scoring points," Alexander said. "You just feel like the defense hasn't stopped the other offense, so the offense really has to struggle and fight back because the defense, we just didn't get the job done."
Grandview, which is in its first season in the MSL-Ohio, and Whitehall have played non-league games the past three seasons, with the Bobcats winning all three -- 33-23 last season, 24-0 in 2011 and 28-13 in 2010.
"The goal for the senior class is to win these last four games and see where that takes us," Alexander said. "Right now we're just focused on Grandview, but we hope to win the last four games."
Against Academy, the Rams had a 517-376 advantage in total yards and Alexander rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries.
Quarterback Cody Koons completed 10 of 18 passes for 168 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
For the season, Koons has completed 73 of 107 passes for 986 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for 616 yards and six touchdowns on 114 carries.
Running back/wide receiver B.J. Upchurch had five catches for 142 yards and one touchdown against Academy. For the season, he has 28 receptions for 464 yards and four touchdowns.
Girls volleyball team preparing for tourney
The girls volleyball team was 4-16 overall and 0-12 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on Oct. 8.
The Rams are seeded 17th in the Division II district tournament and play host to 20th-seeded Brookhaven on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The winner plays at top-seeded Hartley on Oct. 19.
The Division II district tournament begins Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Whitehall lost league matches last week to London (25-20, 22-25, 25-14, 21-25, 15-1 on Oct. 1), West Jefferson (25-8, 25-14, 25-18 on Oct. 3) and Bexley (25-21, 25-10, 25-13 on Oct. 5).
"The London loss took a lot out of us," coach Danielle Smith said. "We're having a tough time rebounding. We're trying to regroup to finish out the league and start to get ready for the tournament. The girls play so hard every match, but they haven't been able to pick up a (league) win and that's what we're hoping for before the tournament."
Boys soccer team loses close game
The boys soccer team was 1-10-1 overall before playing Heath on Oct. 8 and 0-5-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Grandview on Oct. 9.
The Rams lost a league game to London 2-1 on Oct. 1, as the Red Raiders scored the winning goal with three minutes remaining.
Forward/midfielder Nahom Hailu opened the scoring on an assist from midfielder Yuri Artega.
Whitehall led for most of the first half, until London scored with 18 seconds remaining.
"In the second half, we were very evenly matched," coach Dan Ensign said. "We had a lot of ball possession and worked the ball around fairly effectively."
Whitehall also lost a league game to Worthington Christian 4-0 on Oct. 3.
"Worthington Christian was on attack most of the game," Ensign said. "We had two shots on goal. I'm proud of my defenders for really stepping up. Angosom Weldu and Michael Berhanue did a great job as central defenders. (Defender) Charles Wrenn and (midfielder/forward) Justin Gass did a good job handling the speed of their forwards."
Whitehall is seeded 23rd in the Division II district tournament and plays at fourth-seeded Granville on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The winner plays sixth-seeded Bexley on Oct. 17.
The Division II district tournament begins Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Hailu wins race at Jonathan Alder
Hailu led the boys cross country team in the Ray Russell Invitational on Oct. 5 at Jonathan Alder, as he was first of 84 runners in 18 minutes, 1.95 seconds.
The Rams were fifth (125) of 11 teams behind champion Granville Christian (75).
Other runners for Whitehall were Kevin Diaz (26th, 20:46.43), Branham Kipruto (34th, 21:19.92), Tamagne Shiferaw (35th, 21:22.06), Natneal Dessa (40th, 21:36.69), Jaiwen Zhen (68th, 24:49.66) and Nick Cales (83rd, 28:52.53).
The girls team did not have enough runners to score.
Katheryne Ortiz was 15th (25:30.9) of 38 runners. Other runners were Samantha Litostansky (22nd, 27:03.6), Claudia Fuentes (34th, 31:43.93) and Ellie Wellman (36th, 35:00.07).
Tennis team ends season at sectional
The girls tennis team finished its season in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 3 at Reynoldsburg.
The Rams did not win a match.
Whitehall lost to Worthington Christian 5-0 on Sept. 30 and defeated Beechcroft 4-1 on Oct. 1 to finish 1-8 overall.
Against Beechcroft, winners were Fuentes 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Manalee Patel 6-1, 6-2 at second singles, Ariana Oldham and Courtney Price 6-3, 6-2 at first doubles and Zi Wong and Angela Li 6-1, 6-1 at second doubles.
"The season ended on a high note, as we beat Beechcroft handily," coach Ben White said. "Our doubles teams steadily improved all season and the kids had fun."
The Rams finished sixth (0 points) in the MSL-Ohio behind Columbus Academy (44), Bexley (31), Worthington Christian (27), Grandview (18) and London (11).
Price was honorable mention all-league.