When Harvest Prep joined the MSL-Ohio Division before this season, Whitehall football coach Rod Lightfoot anticipated his team's Week 9 game against the Warriors would have a bearing on the league title chase.
The teams will meet Friday, Oct. 25, at Harvest Prep with first place on the line. The Warriors are 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the league, and a win would give them at least a share of the league championship after they won the past five MSL-Cardinal titles.
"Harvest Prep will be a big challenge for us," Lightfoot said. "They have a lot of tools at their disposal. They'll be ready for us. We have to put some work in this week and see if we can get better and just keep moving forward."
The Rams have won four consecutive games to move to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the league.
"Our kids are really responding to challenges a little better than they did earlier in the season," Lightfoot said. "We seem to be playing together as a team more than not. Let's see if we can keep moving forward."
The Rams are coming off a 20-10 win against Ready on Oct. 18. Ni'Kai Cameron passed for 138 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 112 yards, and Melvin Tinsley rushed for 76 yards.
"Whitehall is extremely athletic," Harvest Prep coach Milan Smith said. "They're very talented. Rod gets his guys motivated. He knows what he's doing."
Harvest Prep remained perfect in the league with a 33-0 win over Bexley on Oct. 18. The Warriors outgained the Lions 392-82.
Jaylen Jennings rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown and had two touchdown passes. Aidan Rogers rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries.
"There are some similarities to our offenses," Lightfoot said. "They're going to get the ball into the hands of the guys who have been playmakers and we'll probably do the same thing. They're going to have some speed that we're going to have to contend with. I'm pretty sure our kids are going to be up to the challenge."
Smith is a former offensive coordinator for the Rams.
"I'm absolutely looking forward to this game," he said. "Rod Lightfoot is a good friend of mine. He does a great job over there. They have had success in the Ohio Division. We're new to the division, so it's going to be a really good game. It's going to be really exciting."
Boys soccer team enjoys success
The boys soccer team had a successful season, highlighted by winning a game in the Division I district tournament.
The 37th-seeded Rams won at 25th-seeded Chillicothe 2-1 in overtime Oct. 15 before losing at 15th-seeded Groveport 1-0 in the second round Oct. 17 to finish 5-6-5 overall.
The Rams went 1-2-3 in the MSL-Ohio to finish fifth behind co-champions Wellington and Worthington Christian (both 4-0-2).
Senior goalkeeper Jared Alvarez and senior defender Casey Hernandez were first-team all-league, and senior midfielder Cesar Artica and junior midfielder Jefferson Martinez were second-team all-league.
Senior Alex Herrera (midfielder) and juniors Ebrima Jorbateh (midfielder) and Yared Yesuf (defender/midfielder) were honorable mention all-league.
"It was a pleasure to witness this year's team form its identity as a team and overcome obstacles as the season progressed," assistant coach Geral Leka said. "The eight seniors who will be graduating left their mark on the program by achieving success on the field and in the classroom. They set forth the blueprint for younger players to follow in regard to academics, leadership and hard work."
Others eligible to return are juniors Jose Alvarado (midfielder), Angel Espinoza (forward), Adonay Estifanos (defender), Miguel Godinez (midfielder), Jonathan Guijosa (defender), Edwin Gutierrez (goalie), Daba Hordofe (midfielder) and Haben Woldemelak (forward), sophomores Jordan Burchnell (defender) and Jesus Yunez (forward) and freshmen Danny Arriola Gonzalez (forward) and Endi Martinez Hernandez (forward).
Boys track and field coach steps down
Boys track and field coach Aaron Johnson has stepped down after three seasons.
The Rams won the MSL-Ohio championship last spring.
"The decision to step down was not easy, but it was the right decision for me and my family," Johnson said.
"Decisions like these are always tough after capping off a successful season, but I am optimistic about the future of the program with the young men coming up this year. I look forward to cheering on the Rams' success in the near future."