The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team ended two years of frustration against rival Columbus Academy with a 37-23 win Sept. 20 at home.

The Rams improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division, while Academy fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the league.

The Vikings won the previous two meetings, 31-14 last season and 21-20 in 2016.

“It’s always a war with this team,” Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. “We expected them to come back. We lost our poise late in the first half, but our kids responded in the second half and took care of business. Defensively, we hung on. …We’ve been waiting for this game for 365 days.”

Quarterback Raymell Byrd led the Rams, finishing with 446 all-purpose yards, including 247 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 27 carries.

Whitehall led 20-0 after the first quarter, including a 1-yard touchdown run by Byrd to open the scoring. Byrd also set up Jose Carchure’s 26-yard field goal in the second quarter with a 67-yard kickoff return.

Sam Massick kept Academy within striking distance in the first half with a pair of field goals of 36 and 34 yards, but Byrd scored on a 29-yard run in the third quarter as the Rams extended their lead to 30-9.

Quarterback Brady Hess, who completed 26 of 43 passes for 322 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, connected with Dorrian Moultrie on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to cut the Vikings’ deficit to 30-23, but Byrd sealed the Rams’ win with a 71-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.

“We can’t dig ourselves a hole. We have to play with more confidence,” Academy coach Robin Miller said. “We should have more confidence right from the start. Credit to Whitehall, they did what it took to win and that’s a heck of a team.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final COLUMBUS ACADEMY 0 9 0 14 23 WHITEHALL-YEARLING
20 3 7 7 37

WH—Byrd 1 run (Carchure kick)

WH—W. Blackshear 3 run (kick failed)

WH—Oney 2 run (Carchure kick)

CA—Massick 36 FG

CA—Massick 34 FG

WH—Carchure 26 FG

CA—Massick 36 FG

WH—Byrd 29 run (Carchure kick)

CA—Do. Moultrie 51 pass from Hess (Massick kick)

CA—Do. Moultrie 47 pass from Hess (Massick kick)

WH—Byrd 71 run (Carchure kick)