The Whitehall-Yearling High School football team earned a signature win Oct. 26 against visiting London.
Quarterback Raymell Byrd rushed for 233 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries and threw a touchdown pass in leading the Rams to a 34-15 win and the outright MSL-Ohio Division championship.
Whitehall, which improved to 9-1 overall with its ninth consecutive win and finished 5-0 in the league, also secured a Division II, Region 7 playoff berth, according to joeeitel.com. The Rams entered the game seventh in the region, with the top eight teams qualifying for the postseason.
London, which already had secured a Division IV, Region 16 playoff berth, fell to 9-1 overall and finished 4-1 in the league.
“We’ve been through a lot this season,” Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. “We kept our goals intact and we made it happen tonight. I can’t say more about this senior class. It’s beyond our expectations. Every one of those kids lives for games like this. They’ve been waiting for this game for six weeks. They have a lot to be proud of.”
Whitehall took advantage of a London fumble to open the scoring in the first quarter as Byrd scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead.
The Red Raiders answered quickly as K.J. Price broke free on the next play from scrimmage for a 62-yard touchdown run and added the two-point conversion to give London an 8-6 lead. That would be the Red Raiders’ only lead of the game.
Byrd matched Price’s effort with a 62-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage and tacked on the two-point conversion to give the Rams a 14-8 lead with 4:33 left in the first quarter.
Faced with fourth-and-5 on his team’s next possession, Byrd connected with Christian Gordon for a 30-yard touchdown pass to give Whitehall a 20-8 lead three plays into the second quarter.
London appeared to be headed to another touchdown after recovering a muffed punt at the Whitehall 10, but the Rams’ Juvaun Blackshear recovered a fumble near the goal line to end the scoring threat.
Byrd then capped the first-half scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Rams a 28-8 lead at halftime.
Price, who added a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, rushed for 107 yards and two scores on 28 carries to lead the Red Raiders.
Isaiah Oney capped the scoring for Whitehall with a 90-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
The Rams finished with 336 yards rushing on 50 carries.
“We wanted to play to the best of our ability,” London coach Kyle Cutler said. “We never chase accolades or honors or any of those things. I don’t think we played our best tonight, but we got beat by a really good football team.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final LONDON 8 0 7 0 15 WHITEHALL 14 14 0 6 34
W—Byrd 1 run (kick failed)
L—Price 62 run (Price run)
W—Byrd 62 run (Byrd run)
W—Gordon 30 pass from Byrd (kick failed)
W—Byrd 2 run (Williams from Byrd)
L—Price 5 run (Noble kick)
W—Oney 90 run (pass failed)