The Columbus Academy football team bounced back from its first loss of the season to defeat Whitehall 31-14 on Sept. 22 at home.

The Vikings, who lost 38-28 at London on Sept. 15, improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

The Rams fell to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio.

“It’s huge,” Academy coach Robin Miller said. “You never want to lose two in a row. You never want to lose one, but two in a row can sink your season pretty fast and it snowballs and our kids really responded well and they took care of business.”

After the teams traded turnovers on the first two plays from scrimmage, the Vikings opened the scoring on Matt Saling’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Matt Schiano with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter. Schiano made a one-handed catch near the Whitehall 40-yard line and raced to the end zone.

Davis Friedman’s interception set up the Vikings second touchdown, with Herman Moultrie scoring on a 16-yard run.

After Whitehall pulled within 14-7 on Raymell Byrd’s 16-yard touchdown pass to O.C. Wellman, Academy opened a 17-7 lead at halftime on Sam Massick’s 35-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Vikings struck quickly in the second half as Moultrie caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Saling with 10:59 left in the third quarter.

Whitehall cut the deficit to 24-14 on Rasheed Muhammad’s 4-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the fourth quarter and then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Dorrian Moultrie ended the rally with a 70-yard interception return for a score with 45 seconds remaining.

Saling completed 10 of 20 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns and Herman Moultrie had 60 yards receiving and 56 yards rushing.

“We were in survival mode a few times, but our kids did enough to win and credit Whitehall, they kept fighting and they have some very dangerous players,” Miller said. “Our kids did enough to win and did what we asked them to do.”

Byrd passed for 177 yards and rushed for 80 yards, Wellman had 128 yards receiving and Muhammad rushed for 105 yards.

“We have some talented kids on this team and tonight we proved we can move the ball whenever we want to,” Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. “But when things go south, our kids have got to learn to pull together and overcome some of the obstacles that come our way, and tonight it didn’t happen a couple times. Our kids are pretty resilient. They’re going to learn from this.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final WHITEHALL 0 7 0 7 14 COLUMBUS ACADEMY
14 3 7 7 31

CA—M. Schiano 60 pass from Saling (Massick kick)

CA—H. Moultrie 17 run (Massick kick)

W—O.C. Wellman 16 pass from Byrd (Carchure kick)

CA—Massick 35 FG

CA—H. Moultrie 55 pass from Saling (Massick kick)

W—Muhammad 4 run (Carchure kick)

CA—D. Moultrie 70 interception return (Massick kick)