The Bexley High School football team has three program firsts this season and would like to add a fourth.

The Bexley High School football team has three program firsts this season and would like to add a fourth.

The Lions finished the regular season 10-0 for the first time after defeating Grandview 28-6 on Oct. 28 in an MSL-Ohio Division game. They went 9-0 twice, in 1926 and 1938.

Additionally, they reached the postseason for a program-best fourth consecutive season and also earned their first home playoff game.

Bexley now wants to win its first postseason game, but standing in the way is league rival Whitehall. The second-seeded Lions play host to the seventh-seeded Rams on Saturday, Nov. 5, in a first-round Division III, Region 11 contest.

"Obviously, not everyone thought we could (go 10-0) but once we started playing, everything just came naturally," said senior running back Micah Fliegel, who has 1,597 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on 168 carries. "We played as a team and not a lot of teams can do that. We have so much chemistry."

The Lions won their second consecutive league title, going 6-0 to finish ahead of runner-up Columbus Academy (5-1).

They defeated Whitehall 21-7 on Sept. 15 as Fliegel rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. The Rams are 8-2 overall and finished 4-2 in the league.

"(The Rams) are a team that we know, but we have both played so many times since that game we have to figure out what has happened since then," Bexley coach John Smith said. "It's weird. You don't normally get in this situation that you will play someone (in the playoffs) that you play during the regular season. I know it happens a lot (in Division I) in the OCC, but not as much at this level.

"It's kind of a different task. We need to go back and revisit that game and look at what they have done since we have played them. We need to look at what worked and what didn't, and what they have tweaked since then."

Since losing to Bexley and Academy 21-20 on Sept. 23, the Rams have won five in a row. They are led by running back by Siraj Muhammad, who has rushed for 1,354 yards and 19 touchdowns on 182 carries. He also has 21 catches for 231 yards and four scores.

Running back Wayne Blackshear has 257 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 58 carries. Quarterback DeShante Vaughn has completed 110 of 174 passes for 1,284 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions, and he has 239 yards rushing on 81 carries.

Defensive back TaQuan Williams has four interceptions.

"We got in our own way in the first meeting and we're hoping we can correct the mistakes that we made back in week 4," Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. "We're a different team in some respects and so is Bexley, but it's going to be a great showdown between a great rivalry.

"We have to cut the mental mistakes out in order to win this game against Bexley because they're very disciplined and our kids play with a lot of emotion and our kids need to channel that emotion in the right way. We have to take care of the ball."

Bexley quarterback Simon Kross has completed 47 of 57 passes for 684 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. The senior also has rushed for 532 yards and 17 touchdowns on 79 carries.

Senior Sean Early has 453 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 73 carries, and senior Kyle Benson is the top receiver with 18 catches for 222 yards and one touchdown.

"It's a home playoff game, but everyone is starting off at 0-0 again," Smith said. "We have to find a way to be successful against Whitehall and find a way to slow them down."

The winner plays third-seeded Hamilton Township or sixth-seeded Chillicothe in a regional semifinal Nov. 12 at a site to be determined.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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