After losing three of its first four games, the Whitehall-Yearling football team is beginning to hit its stride.
Whitehall improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division with a 20-14 win at Liberty Union on Oct. 4.
The Rams now are preparing for their annual clash with Bexley, as the teams will meet Friday, Oct. 11, at Whitehall.
Bexley also is 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the league after beating Buckeye Valley 24-13 on Oct. 4.
"We have four tough games coming up and we have Bexley who is pretty tough," Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. "They have the same record that we have, so it's going to be an interesting homecoming game for us. Bexley is Whitehall's rival. There's been some great games. Bexley would like nothing more than to come in and spoil homecoming week. We have to be ready."
After racking up 592 total yards in a 60-13 win over Grandview on Sept. 27, Whitehall again moved the ball against Liberty Union but wasn't able to capitalize on several scoring chances.
The Rams finished with 515 yards, but scored only three touchdowns.
"We didn't execute the way we did (against Grandview)," Lightfoot said. "We left a lot of points on the field. We left a lot of first downs on the field. One of the bright spots was our defense. We put them in some tough situations, but they found a way to bail us out. We were pleased with their performance."
Juvaun Blackshear rushed for 158 yards on 28 carries and Christian Gordon added 112 yards and scored twice.
"We're doing much better now," Blackshear said. "We're playing as a team and we're following the game plan. We're together and we're playing as hard as we can."
Ni'Kai Cameron passed for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Lightfoot said a strong effort by linebacker Melvin Tinsley was another key in the win.
"They have good speed and they have a lot of different sets on offense," first-year Bexley coach Mike Golden said. "They are very aggressive on defense."
Troy Redmond rushed for 201 yards on 25 carries and Patrick Beck added 90 yards on 20 carries to lead Bexley past Buckeye Valley.
"They're bigger than they were last year," Lightfoot said. "They're a very disciplined team, which you would expect from a coach Golden team. We have to be ready for anything because he is going to have his kids ready. It's going to be a challenge."
Boys soccer team set for postseason
The boys soccer team was 4-5-4 overall and 1-2-2 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Buckeye Valley on Oct. 9.
The Rams, who lost to Wellington 2-1 on Oct. 7 in league play, close the regular season Monday, Oct. 14, at home against Tree of Life.
On Oct. 5, Whitehall played Worthington Christian to a scoreless tie in a league game as goalkeeper Jared Alvarez had five saves.
The Rams are seeded 37th of 52 teams for the Division I district tournament and will visit 25th-seeded Chillicothe in the first round Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Girls tennis team earns two wins
After going 0-13 last season, the girls tennis team showed improvement, finishing 2-11.
The Rams defeated Independence 4-1 on Sept. 10 and Cristo Rey 4-1 on Sept. 23.
Whitehall competed in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 3 at Upper Arlington but did not win a court.
Seniors Cali Justice and Izzy Simmons and junior Anna von Dolin went 0-1 in singles. Sophomore Shaye Parsley and freshman Lyric Boyer and senior Kamdon Pauley and sophomore Leslie Gonzalez went 0-1 in doubles.
"The girls worked very hard at sectionals and I was very proud of our growth and passion," coach Anthony Paletta said. "We are going to work over the offseason to build skills."
Justice was named the team's Most Valuable Player and Pauley earned the most improved award.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall cross country, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 12 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Buckeye Valley
Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Mifflin
Oct. 16 -- At top-seeded Bloom-Carroll in first round of Division II district tournament. The Rams are seeded 16th of 16 teams.
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley. The Rams lost to the Barons 25-5, 25-17, 25-16 on Sept. 17.
Oct. 16 -- At fourth-seeded Utica or home versus 22nd-seeded Linden-McKinley in second round of Division II district tournament. The Rams are seeded 20th of 22 teams.