The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team faces its biggest challenge of the season as it looks to win a share of the MSL-Ohio Division title and clinch a Division II, Region 7 postseason berth.
Coming off a 32-2 win over visiting Ready on Oct. 20, the Rams travel to London on Friday, Oct. 27. Whitehall is 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Ohio, and London is 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the league.
"London is going to be a monumental challenge for us," coach Rod Lightfoot said. "Their offensive line mauls people and they control the line of scrimmage, and we have to find some way to deal with that."
Whitehall took control early against Ready, opening a 24-0 halftime lead.
In a good sign for the Rams, Ready handed London its lone loss, 27-23 on Oct. 13.
The Rams were projected to be sixth in the Region 7 computer ratings this week. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs and the top four play host to first-round games.
"If you would have asked me after (we started 0-2), I wouldn't have been sure, but we knew preseason coming in we had a pretty good shot of competing for the league (title) and trying to get to Week 11," Lightfoot said. "But we got in our own way early on."
London was projected to be seventh in Division IV, Region 16 this week and had clinched a playoff berth, according to joeeitel.com.
The Red Raiders feature running back K.J. Price, who rushed for 270 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries in a 38-0 win over Bexley on Oct. 20. For the season, he has rushed for 2,203 yards and 24 touchdowns on 216 carries.
Price has rushed for more than 200 yards six times this season, with a season-high 433 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-47 win over Washington Court House on Sept. 8.
Lightfoot hopes his defense can turn in another solid performance after holding Ready to just 5 yards in the first quarter and 146 for the game.
Quarterback Raymell Byrd passed for 109 yards and two scores and rushed for 105 yards. O.C. Wellman had 105 yards receiving on two catches, with both going for touchdowns.
"(The Ready) game is over," Wellman said. "We have to get ready for London. We have to come ready and practice hard. They're a good team, they have a good running back, but our defense is ready for anything and the offense is ready to execute."
Whitehall went undefeated at home for the second consecutive season, going 5-0. The Rams have won 13 consecutive home contests.
"It's emotional because I played here for four years, it's my last (regular-season) home game and we did it with a bang," Wellman said.
Whitehall has won four consecutive games since a 31-14 loss at Columbus Academy on Sept. 22.
"I told these kids it was a five-game season after Academy," Lightfoot said. "We had to hit the reset button and start over and they've responded well."
Academy also is looking for a share of the league title, as it is 3-1 entering its home game against Grandview on Oct. 27.