The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team will face a familiar foe in its first postseason game since 2003.

The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team will face a familiar foe in its first postseason game since 2003.

The Rams visit MSL-Ohio Division rival Bexley on Saturday, Nov. 5, for a Division III, Region 11 first-round game.

The second-seeded Lions wrapped up a 10-0 regular season by defeating Grandview 28-6 on Oct. 28. That same night, the seventh-seeded Rams secured their playoff berth by defeating Fisher Catholic 44-6.

The Lions won the regular-season meeting 21-7 on Sept. 15. That game also was played at Bexley.

"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."

In 2003, Whitehall defeated Youngs-town Chaney 18-15 in a Division II, Region 7 first-round game before losing to eventual state semifinalist Brookhaven 33-27 in a regional semifinal.

The Whitehall-Bexley winner plays third-seeded Hamilton Township or sixth-seeded Chillicothe in a regional semifinal Nov. 12.

When Lightfoot took over the program before last season, a goal was to guide the Rams back to the playoffs.

He was an assistant under former coach Jake Kuhner the previous two seasons, serving as offensive coordinator in 2014. He also was the defensive coordinator under Scott Gordon in 1995 and had coaching stints at Gahanna, Olentangy Liberty and Thomas Worthington before returning to Whitehall in 2013.

Lightfoot said the playoff berth is not only for the players but for the community, which supported the team through some lean years.

"We've had tremendous support from the staff, administrators, from the community, and our parents support has been outstanding," he said. "We have a great following and great support."

Bexley is making its fifth playoff appearance, including its fourth in a row, but is seeking its first postseason win.

Running back Micah Fliegel led Bexley in the first meeting against Whitehall, rushing for 138 and three touchdowns on 16 carries. For the season, he has rushed for 1,597 yards and 20 touchdowns on 168 carries.

Quarterback Simon Kroos is 47-for-57 passing for 684 yards and nine touchdowns.

Lightfoot said a key to beating the Lions is containing their wing-T scheme and being fundamentally sound.

"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 emotions and our kids need to channel that emotion in the right way," Lightfoot said. "We have to take care of the ball."

Senior running back Siraj Muhammad led the Rams in the first meeting, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. For the season, he has rushed for 1,354 yards and 19 touchdowns on 182 carries.

"We've lost to them two years in a row," Muhammad said. "We're going to come out strong this week. They're very aggressive up front ... that's the core of their defense."

Whitehall quarterback DeShante Vaughn has completed 110 of 174 passes for 1,284 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Rams went 4-2 in the MSL-Ohio to finish third behind Bexley (6-0) and Columbus Academy (5-1) and ahead of Grandview (3-3), West Jefferson (2-4), London (1-5) and Madison Plains (0-6).

"We had two goals, one was to win the MSL and the other was to play in week 11," Lightfoot said. "The opportunity of winning the league was pretty much vanquished after week 5, but we still had that goal of playing in week 11 ahead of us. We're proud of them. We're excited to play (this) week."

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