An uneven start to its season doesn't necessarily mean the Beechcroft High School football team isn't on track to remain the dominant team in the City League-North Division.

An uneven start to its season doesn't necessarily mean the Beechcroft High School football team isn't on track to remain the dominant team in the City League-North Division.

It's just taking more time to come together than coach Trevor White had hoped because of having to replace last year's stellar senior class.

Beechcroft has won at least a share of the league title in four of the past five seasons, including last year when it went 6-0 in the City-North, outscoring league opponents by an average of 42.8-7.7.

The Cougars are 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the league after beating Mifflin 36-6 on Sept. 25, with their loss coming against Central Crossing, 28-6 on Sept. 11.

"We've been learning how to win," White said. "We had a lot of big shoes to fill after last year and we've taken a few bumps and time to fill some big holes."

Beechcroft, which opened with a 7-0 win over Marion-Franklin on Sept. 4 and began league play with a 47-0 victory over Linden-McKinley on Sept. 18, has another league game Friday, Oct. 2, at Columbus East.

Despite being 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the City-North, the Tigers hung with Northland before falling to the Vikings 20-14 on Sept. 18.

The only close league game the Cougars had last year was a 21-7 win over Northland 21-7 to conclude the regular season. They won't face the Vikings until Oct. 30.

"I think (we learned) a little more from the loss (to Central Crossing)," White said. "We knew with Marion-Franklin being our first game that we were going to have to work through some first-game mistakes. Then, going into Central Crossing, we made some of the same mistakes and we ended up losing by 22 points. Against Linden, we came out a little bit sluggish, but we took some strides in the right direction."

Among the positives early on has been the play of senior Peter Darko, who also plays for the boys soccer team.

He has been serving as kicker for the Cougars and, according to White, had several touchbacks over the first five games in addition to making 10 of his first 11 extra-point attempts.

Seniors Rodell Rahmaan (WR/LB) and Amin Kamara (LB) also have impressed White.

Junior quarterback Macyah Fleming has thrown for six touchdowns, and senior Mike Powers (WR/DB) had 10 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns through three games.

"Over the first three games, we were negative-six (in turnovers)," White said. "That's definitely a point of emphasis moving forward."

White shines for West football team

To call the numbers that Byron White of the West football team put up early this season eye-popping might be an understatement.

In a 70-56 win over Africentric on Sept. 18, the senior rushed 35 times for 389 yards and nine touchdowns.

White had 19 touchdowns and had rushed for 1,017 yards through four games before being held to 15 yards in a 56-0 loss to Walnut Ridge on Sept. 25. He left the game against the Scots with an apparent injury.

After junior quarterback Demetrious Brown went down with an injury during a 37-30 win over Mifflin in the season opener Aug. 28, White was moved from running back to quarterback.

The Cowboys are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the City-South heading into their home matchup against Marion-Franklin on Friday, Oct. 2. The Red Devils are 2-3 and 1-1.

"(White's) a running back who's been playing quarterback," West coach Mike Flusche said. "He had nine touchdowns and almost 400 yards (against Africentric) and he'd have had more if it wasn't for a bunch of penalties. He had an outstanding game."

Last season, the 6-foot, 180-pound White rushed for about 1,000 yards as West finished 5-5 overall.

"It's mostly been Byron doing it," Flusche said. "Last year, he had 1,000 yards in 10 games and this year he (had) more than 1,000 yards in four games. Our (offensive) line is better, but it's mostly sophomores and juniors who are blocking for him."

76ers boys soccer team breaks through

With a 9-5 win over Eastmoor Academy on Sept. 22, the Independence boys soccer team moved one step closer to uncharted territory for its program.

The 76ers, who never have won a City championship, were 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the City-South before playing Marion-Franklin on Sept. 28 and South on Sept. 29.

Wins over the Red Devils and Bulldogs would put Independence in the City final Oct. 8 at Mapfre Stadium, formerly known as Crew Stadium.

"I just have a good group of kids," coach Bobby Kolenz said. "Those kids have been working hard and practiced all summer on open fields. Even when they weren't practicing, per se, they were playing pickup soccer with their friends."

Kolenz, a teacher at Briggs and Brunswick native, is in his first season with the 76ers.

Senior midfielder Emile Ndiaye has been the team's leader.

Other key players have included seniors Kevin Hernandez (forward), Andrew Santurello (center back) and Abdel Tcham (forward), junior Cheich Tagoulra (forward) and sophomore Nfally Diallo (forward). Freshman Matthew Santurello is the starting goalkeeper.

"(Ndiaye) has held us all together," Kolenz said. "He's got foot skills and has been able to connect the whole team together. Nfally Diallo has been scoring goals and putting up assists, and another fantastic player has been Cheich Tagoulra. We also have a freshman goalkeeper who has been playing well."