Whitehall-Yearling High School football coach Jake Kuhner and his players admit they still have bad memories of last season's 52-51, triple-overtime loss against visiting Bloom-Carroll.
The Rams will be looking to avenge that loss when they visit Bloom-Carroll on Friday, Sept. 5.
Both teams opened Aug. 29. Whitehall played Ready and Bloom-Carroll played Heath.
"That's not something we're going to forget," senior lineman J.D. Hornberger said. "Last year's game will definitely be motivation. I can guarantee it will be a pretty hard week of practice. That was the first triple-overtime game I was ever in. It was pretty hard fought, we just came up short."
Alex Peirano scored on 2-yard run in the third overtime and Dominic Garris added the extra point to give Bloom-Carroll the victory.
The Rams had taken a 51-45 lead on the first possession of the third overtime when quarterback Cody Koons, a 2014 graduate, connected with Tristen Ritchie for a 16-yard touchdown. However, Ritchie's extra point was deflected and glanced off a goal post.
Whitehall rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit, and Ritchie's 30-yard field goal as time expired in regulation forced overtime.
Ritchie has moved from receiver to quarterback.
The Bulldogs won their first four games last season and went on to finish 6-5, losing to Gnadenhutten Indian Valley 25-21 in the first round of the Division IV, Region 13 playoffs. It was the second consecutive first-round postseason exit for Bloom Carroll.
Coach Wade Bartholomew is in his first season at Bloom-Carroll. He replaced Phil Mauro, who resigned following two seasons to return to Canal Winchester.
Under Bartholomew, the Bulldogs are using an up-tempo offense that lost three key players to graduation in quarterback Kelly Milliser, running back Jarrett Peters and receiver Tyler Sorg.
Senior Tristen Epp and sophomore Justin Harvey competed for the quarterback job in the preseason. Senior Taylor Ball is a key receiver.
"The biggest thing with (Bloom-Carroll) is they always have tough kids over there," Kuhner said. "They always have a good squad. I don't know much about the new coach they have since Mauro left, but they've always been a disciplined bunch since we've been playing them."
Last year's game against Bloom-Carroll was the Rams' first home contest since 2011, following the completion of a school renovation project.
Volleyball coach happy with start
The girls volleyball team was 2-4 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Madison Plains on Sept. 2.
Whitehall opened league play by losing at home against Columbus Academy 15-25, 25-11, 25-23, 25-20 on Aug. 28.
Coach Danielle Smith said she was pleased with her team's start.
"The girls are making great progress with learning to work together and trust each other on where to be on the court," Smith said. "Before you know it, we will be a well-oiled machine."
The Rams lost at Reynoldsburg 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 on Aug. 25 and at home against Teays Valley 25-16, 26-24, 29-27 on Aug. 26.
Before playing Academy, Tyra James had 25 kills, Mykela Hollinshead had 16 kills, Sarah Seberig had 13 kills and Sam Day had 73 digs over the previous three matches.
"Things could be better, but considering that we have a freshman (Seberig) and a sophomore (Tia Sanders) on our team, we're doing really well this year," senior Madison Schmidt said. "It was sad that we lost our senior players last year, but we have a pretty good team this year. It's going to take time to bond together because this is a new team."
Sanders and Seberig are starting setters in the team's 6-2 attack.
Soccer team loses first four games
The boys soccer team was 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on Sept. 2.
The Rams lost at home to Northland 3-0 on Aug. 26. Goalkeeper Daveon Jemmott had eight saves.
"We had a few close chances of scoring that we should have capitalized on," coach Dan Ensign said. "Mateo Miranda had a great free kick off the crossbar. We're looking forward to adding a few players with school starting up so we can add some depth to our bench."
Whitehall opened league play by losing at Bexley 7-0 on Aug. 28.
Ensign pointed to strong play from defenders Michael Berhanue, Angosom Weldu, Natneal Dessa and Miranda as a bright spot so far.
Cross country teams open season
The cross country teams opened Aug. 23 by playing host to the Whitehall Invitational.
The boys team finished third (80) behind Bexley (21) and Columbus South (74) and ahead of Eastmoor Academy (97), Northland (117) and Grove City Christian (130).
Tamagne Shiferaw was ninth (19 minutes, 50 seconds) of 72 runners, followed by Filimon Weldemelak (13th, 21:14), Dessa (17th, 21:52), Michael Thompson (18th, 22:08) and Jemmott (24th, 22:26).
The girls team was third (72) behind Bexley (15) and Northland (50).
Hannah Wright was 25th (31:13) of 35 runners, followed by Vivian Akot (26th, 31:28), Maryssa Russell (29th, 33:18), Sarah Rubin (31st, 36:03) and Claudia Fuentes (33rd, 36:31).
"We were very happy with the way the meet ran," coach Robert Taylor said.
"Both our boys and girls teams are on the young and inexperienced side, but they gave great effort and I was very proud of their results. I feel these squads have a lot of upward mobility and we hope to be more competitive as the year goes on."