The Bexley football team has been victorious only once in its last 21 games. Luckily for the Lions, the win came against their next opponent.
Bexley plays host Friday, Sept. 6, to Campbell Memorial, which it defeated 16-0 in Week 2 last season.
Coach Mike Golden said the winner likely will be determined by preparation.
"(The Red Devils) are really young like us," said Golden, whose team lost its opener to Waynesville 42-7 on Aug. 30. "It comes down to which team has the best week of practice."
Memorial won its opener over Youngstown Valley Christian 25-6 on Aug. 30 behind the play of quarterback Kayvon Moore, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. The sophomore was only 2-for-6 passing for 68 yards, but he threw a 31-yard score to Christian Stores and a 37-yarder to Daniel Ifft. Moore also scored on a 1-yard run as part of his 28 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Dallas VanCobb led Memorial with 63 yards rushing on 10 carries, and James Shaffer added 55 on 13 carries.
"(The Red Devils) are a young team (and they have) a new head coach (Mickey Sikora) just like us," running back/linebacker Patrick Beck said. "We need to keep grinding, and I think we can do big things."
Beck had the big play for the Lions in the opener, scooping up a fumble and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown with 9 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first quarter to give his team a 7-0 lead.
"They were running the option and had a bad pitch," Beck said. "I was there in the right spot to pick it up and go."
Waynesville came out with an option attack after operating from a spread formation in the past. The change caught the Lions by surprise.
"If (the Spartans) had run a spread (offense) like we prepared for, I think we would have been fine," Golden said. "We thought that's what they were going to run, but they were a true option team. We have been doing a lot of that in the summer with things like scooping and scoring like Patrick did for us. I was hoping that would discourage them from running the option, but it didn't.
"You have to give them credit because they stuck to their game plan and they were (more) physical. ... We would be in the right position and they would break a tackle or their blocker would get our guy. Their physical maturity had a big impact on the game."
Strong chemistry fuels cross country teams
In his 32nd season coaching the boys and girls cross country teams, Eric Acton has been impressed with the maturity and camaraderie shown by his squads.
Both teams are coming off Division II state meet appearances, with the girls returning all but one of the seven runners who competed at National Trail Raceway.
The girls began the season by winning their first three meets, starting with the New Albany Invitational on Aug. 19 with 21 points as the host Eagles finished second (56).
Sophomore Claire MacDonald was runner-up (19 minutes, 49.7 seconds), followed by juniors Hannah Hayden (third, 20:03.8) and Maria Steinke (fourth, 20:06.7), freshman Lily Keller (fifth, 20:38.6), juniors Karleigh Place (seventh, 21:03.5) and Ally Grieshop (ninth, 21:19.2) and senior Ella Hayden (13th, 21:40.0).
"I have been doing this for more than three decades and it's not often that you get a team like this," Acton said. "When you watch them practice, they work so hard to prepare.
"They come to practice together, and they leave together. When you see kids come and leave together and hang out together, you know they have good chemistry."
The girls won the four-team Dan Reid Invitational on Aug. 24 at Whitehall with 22 points, ahead of runner-up Teays Valley (52). MacDonald won in 20:52.1, followed by Steinke (third, 21:32.4) and Place (fifth, 21:40.1).
On Aug. 28, MacDonald again was runner-up (19:17.9) as the Lions (40) won the 14-team Canal Winchester Invitational ahead of second-place New Albany (77). Steinke was seventh (20:13.3) and Keller finished ninth (20:24.4).
The girls team is looking to win its third consecutive MSL-Ohio Division title.
"This team is so mature, so tough and so together," Acton said. "They really care about each other and bringing each other along and they have high expectations."
The boys team returns five from last fall's state lineup in seniors Dylan Abel and Miles Feinknopf, juniors Elliot Roe and Spencer Stevenson and sophomore Miller MacDonald.
"I'm impressed with their drive," Acton said. "Three years ago, (the seniors) were part of a team that went to state and they didn't make it two years ago. Last year, they made it to state. The seniors have been around great athletes and great leaders and I'm pleased with where they are at this point. Just like the girls, these guys are close and work to make each other better."
The boys opened by finishing third (87) at New Albany behind the host Eagles (35) and Hilliard Darby (44). Feinknopf (ninth, 17:46.1) led the way, followed by Roe (12th, 18:15.3), MacDonald (13th, 18:16.3), Abel (26th, 18:50.0), Stevenson (27th, 19:00.5), junior Rob Donahey (33rd, 19:15.3) and freshman John Laing (50th, 20:16.4).
The Lions finished third (55) of nine teams at Whitehall behind Lakewood (21) and Teays Valley (50). MacDonald (seventh, 18:34.9) and Roe (eighth, 18:35.1) led the way.
At Canal Winchester, the boys were third (123) behind New Albany (51) and the host Indians (67). Feinknopf (ninth, 17:05.4) and Roe (21st, 17:43.7) were the top performers.
Field hockey team 'a work in progress'
After having nine seniors last fall, the field hockey team has only four this season as it looks to improve on a finish of 10-9 overall and 3-5 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East.
The Lions have five starters back in senior midfielder/forward Andi Meyer, juniors Audra Fleming (defender), Eimear McCann (forward/midfielder) and Phoebe Snowdon (midfielder) and sophomore goalkeeper Sally Sauer.
"We lost a lot of talent from last year, but we have a lot of freshmen, which is nice," 17th-year coach Kara Whitlatch said. "They might be forced into action early."
Sauer will be out until late September after having surgery to correct a circulation problem. Junior Abby Solove has replaced her in goal.
Whitlatch said Fleming, sophomore Lainey Dorrian and freshman Evie Holzhall will be key in helping Solove on the defensive end. Meyer, Snowdon and sophomore midfielder Adelaide Zamensky are the top scoring threats.
Seniors Allison Bernstein (forward/midfielder), Angelina Coles (defender) and Tessa Ziegler (defender/midfielder), juniors Dasi Bandler (defender/midfielder), Lucy Rosen (forward) and Juliette Schiff Rosen (forward) and freshmen Lanie Fleischer (goalie), Maddy Krasnow (forward/midfielder), Bea Meeks (midfielder), Lily Vincent (forward) and Caroline Whitlatch (forward) round out the roster.
The Lions opened with a 7-0 loss to New Albany on Aug. 21 in league play. Snowdon then scored two goals and Solove had two saves in a 3-0 win over Kettering Fairmont on Aug. 24.
Bexley lost to Hartley 2-1 on Aug. 26 in league play before defeating Olentangy Berlin 3-0 on Aug. 29. It also played Dublin Coffman on Sept. 4.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 8 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 5 -- DeSales at Westchester
Sept. 7 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 10 -- Watterson at Westchester
*Sept. 5 -- Columbus School for Girls at Blacklick Woods
*Sept. 9 -- Buckeye Valley at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 10 -- Hartley at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 11 -- Canal Winchester at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 5 -- At Bloom-Carroll
*Sept. 7 -- At Columbus Academy
*Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Grove City
*Sept. 7 -- At Zanesville Rosecrans
Sept. 10 -- Home vs. DeSales
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 11 -- At CSG
*Sept. 5 -- At Buckeye Valley
Sept. 7 -- At Olentangy Berlin with Delaware Christian
*Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Grandview