The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team entered its game at London on Oct. 27 with plenty of motivation, as a share of the MSL-Ohio Division title and a Division II postseason berth were on the line for the Rams.
Whitehall responded with a 22-14 win over the Red Raiders, improving to 7-3 overall with its fifth consecutive victory and finishing 4-1 in the MSL-Ohio to tie Columbus Academy and London for the league championship.
The Rams are projected to finish third in Region 7, as the top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
London slipped to 8-2 overall, but had already secured a Division IV, Region 16 postseason berth.
Quarterback Raymell Byrd rushed for 111 yards and scored all three touchdowns for Whitehall.
“We’ve come a long way since week one against Watterson (41-6 loss),” Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. “We’ve learned a lot about each other and we learned how to play together since the (Columbus) Academy game (31-14 loss). It’s been a five-game season since the Academy game. Luckily our goals were still intact, to get a piece of the MSL championship and go to week 11. Our kids responded to what we’re doing as a program.”
London running back K.J. Price, who entered the game with 2,229 rushing yards, was limited to 46 in the first half and finished with 134 for the game.
The Red Raiders took advantage of a Whitehall fumble on the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, with quarterback Josh Handley connecting with Jimmy Dulin for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 7 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Rams answered to tie the score at 7 on their next possession, highlighted by a pair of trick plays that included running back Rasheed Muhammad’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Byrd with 6:24 left in the opening quarter.
Whitehall took a 14-7 lead to begin the second half as Byrd capped a 53-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run.
The Rams added to their lead on their next possession as Byrd scored on an 8-yard run and Joshua Travis recovered a fumble in the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 22-7 lead.
London closed within 22-14 on its next possession on Price’s 42-yard run, but could get no closer.
Whitehall sealed a share of the title with interceptions by Muhammad and Arjai Burress in the fourth quarter.
“Our guys play with a great competitive spirit. That’s what we preach,” London coach Kyle Cutler said. “That was a great football game between two really good teams. That’s what a conference title should be all about. It would be nice to have it outright, but we have to split it. We’re moving on and we’re looking to the postseason.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final WHITEHALL 7 0 15 0 22 LONDON
7 0 7 0 14
L—Dulin 8 pass from Handley (Kronk kick)
W—Byrd 6 pass from Muhammad (Carchure kick)
W—Byrd 12 run (Carchure kick)
W—Byrd 8 run (Travis fumble recovery)
L—Price 42 run (Kronk kick)