Whitehall-Yearling at Grandview Heights: Rams, Bobcats making up for lost time
The Grandview Heights and Whitehall-Yearling football teams both know a little more about themselves following opening-week losses.
Because of COVID-19 coronavirus protocols, both programs had fewer than 10 days of contact entering their openers Aug. 28 and neither had a scrimmage to test the waters. Normally, teams have up to three scrimmages, but this year the usual preseason lessons were learned in game-time conditions.
Both look to show continued improvement in their MSL-Ohio Division contest Friday, Sept. 4, at Grandview.
The Bobcats had their original opener against Bexley canceled because the Lions were even further behind in the coronavirus protocols and wouldn't be prepared to play. Grandview picked up a road game against Galion Northmor, which won 34-0.
The Rams lost 38-0 to Columbus Academy in their league opener.
"We were in Phase 1 (of the protocols) for so long, and we have had to speed up the learning curve," Whitehall coach Rod Lightfoot said. "It was kind of both learning as a scrimmage and being a league game. We were playing a school that has turned into quite a rivalry over the years, and that team was experienced and disciplined. When you're young like we are, discipline takes time."
Grandview coach Jason Peters said his players are young and learning the ropes under the intense lights of varsity play.
"To some degree, we treated (the opener) like a scrimmage," he said. "We had a lot of kids playing a lot of different positions.
"One team had a scrimmage and one didn't, and we were the latter. We had a bunch of young kids in new spots, and they didn't get the chance to really be tested before kicking off."
The Bobcats had 78 total yards, all coming on the ground, compared to Northmor's 292 total yards and 240 rushing. Grandview had three turnovers compared to none for the Golden Knights.
Sophomore quarterbacks Logan Baker and Brody Parsley combined for seven passes without a completion. Sophomore Maddox Baker rushed for 26 yards on 10 carries, junior Mikael Black had 17 yards on two attempts and junior Connor McCormick rushed for 16 yards on four carries.
"We saw some good things, but we're definitely a work in progress," Peters said. "We had a lot of sophomores out there, and it takes time to get things where they need to be.
"We're not at square zero. We have things we can build on, and it's about us getting better. The biggest thing is that the kids get a chance to play."
Whitehall totaled 85 yards against the Vikings with minus-31 rushing yards. Academy had 287 total yards with 208 on the ground.
Rams junior quarterback Melvin Scott was 6-for-8 passing for 90 yards.
"We were trying to find out what everyone can do and we're still ironing things out," Lightfoot said. "At any given time, we can have three or four sophomores on our offensive line, and most of our guys are playing for the first time under the lights.
"We'll make strides this week going into the Grandview game. We have to keep making strides. The bottom line is we're playing, and we're grateful to keep playing. We're trying to win football games, and our job is to get the kids ready no matter the conditions."
WHITEHALL-YEARLING at GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS
*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4
*Last meeting: 2019, Whitehall, 60-13
*Whitehall (0-1) to date: Lost to Columbus Academy 38-0
*Grandview (0-1) to date: Lost to Galion Northmor 34-0
*Top Rams: Taron Biles-Walker (WR/DB), Noah Church (OL/DL), Jarell Hazziez (OL/DL), Dauvion Henderson (RB/LB), Da'Leon Jackson (TE/DL), Termir Mosley-Allen (TE/DL), Melvin Scott (QB), Jalen Townsend (WR/DB) and David Winegarner (OL/DL)
*Top Bobcats: Cory Culp (RB/LB), Connor Dobies (OL/LB), Gabhran Downer (OL/DL), Ian Gecse (TE/DL), Connor McCormick (RB/DB/P), Tristin Pierce (RB/DB), Matthew Taylor (OL/DL) and Jake Zimmerman (OL/DL)