Liberty Union at Whitehall-Yearling: Rams aim for fourth straight win over improved Lions

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Taron Biles-Walker and Whitehall will play host to Liberty Union on Friday, Sept. 11.

Whitehall-Yearling football coach Rod Lightfoot realizes the Rams will face a much-improved Liberty Union team Friday, Sept. 11, at home.

The Lions, who lost 20-14 to visiting Whitehall last season, went on to finish 0-10 overall and 0-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

Five of the losses were by fewer than 10 points, however, and Liberty Union is off to a 2-0 start with wins over Ready (7-6 on Aug. 28) and Bexley (42-9 on Sept. 4).

“They’re physical and they have some size this year,” Lightfoot said about the Lions, who are a Division V program. “They have some athletes over there as well. We’re going to have our hands full again this week, but we’re playing football, so that’s what our kids care about the most.”

Whitehall, a Division II program, bounced back from a 38-0 loss to visiting Columbus Academy on Aug. 28 to defeat host Grandview 22-14 on Sept. 4, improving to 1-1 both overall and in the league.

Quarterback Taron Biles-Walker completed nine of 10 passes for 100 yards against Grandview. He was filling in for Melvin Scott, who missed the game with a concussion sustained against Academy. Lightfoot is hoping Scott will be available against Liberty Union.

With his team leading 16-14, Biles-Walker sealed the win with a 70-yard interception return for a score on the game’s final play.

Dorrin Mixon ran for 69 yards and Kevin Jackson had scoring runs of 24 and 4 yards, as Whitehall rushed for 125 yards and finished with 225 total yards.

“We had a lot of things to work on after that first week,” Lightfoot said. “We looked at it as basically our first scrimmage to get things figured out. We made strides with Grandview. We got better. We got better on special teams. We got better with our defense. The offense is still moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do in every aspect of the game.”

Quarterback Cayden Carroll rushed for three touchdowns and running back Braden Shreyer added two in leading Liberty Union past Bexley.

“I remember last year’s game was close,” junior linebacker Dauvion Henderson said. “It was like the game we just played (against Grandview). They’re still doing the same things. They spread you out and throw the long ball. I like the challenge of going against a spread.”

This will be the fourth consecutive season the teams have met, with the Rams also winning 40-23 in 2017 and 46-6 in 2018.

“We have to keep getting better,” Lightfoot said. “We want to win, but I’m more concerned with us right now just taking strides to get better in every aspect of the game. If we can continue moving forward from this past Friday then things might fall in place for us.

“All we can do is worry about ourselves and not worry about what our opponent is doing. Just react to what they’re doing and go make plays.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

WEEK 3

LIBERTY UNION at WHITEHALL-YEARLING

*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11

*Last meeting: 2019, Whitehall 20-14

*Liberty Union (2-0 overall, 1-0 in MSL-Ohio) to date: Defeated Ready 7-6; def. Bexley 42-9

*Whitehall (1-1 overall, 1-1 in MSL-Ohio) to date: Lost to Columbus Academy 38-0; def. Grandview 22-14

*Top Lions: Dylan Anthony (DL), Cayden Carroll (QB), Casey Fleahman (RB/LB), Denver Kosch (OL), Braden Shook (OL/DL), Blake Shreyer (OL), Braden Shreyer (RB/LB), Drew Walker (OL) and Kyle Zink (OL)

*Top Rams: Taron Biles-Walker (WR/DB), Dauvion Henderson (RB/LB), Da’Leon Jackson (TE/DL), Kevin Jackson (WR/DB), Dorrin Mixon (RB/DB), Termir Mosley-Allen (TE/DL), Melvin Scott (QB), Tyrese Taylor (WR/LB), Jalen Townsend (WR/DB) and David Winegarner (OL/DL)