Whitehall-Yearling: Rams eagerly tackle offseason work

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Dorrin Mixon is expected to be among the top returnees for the Whitehall-Yearling football team, which already has started its offseason program after a 1-6 finish.

Whitehall-Yearling football coach Rod Lightfoot hopes his team can enjoy some normalcy next season after finishing 1-6 while playing an abbreviated schedule because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Seeded 22nd in the Division II, Region 7 playoffs, Whitehall lost 47-7 at 11th-seeded Olentangy Berlin in the opening round Oct. 9.

While some teams chose to play additional regular-season games after being eliminated from the postseason, Lightfoot and the Rams began focusing on offseason conditioning following a break.

Whitehall began its offseason program Nov. 9.

“There was no upside for us to continue to play,” Lightfoot said. “We’re so young and we were beat up. Our kids realize what’s at stake and we have to get better as a team and it all starts in the weight room.”

Whitehall, which went 1-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division to tie Bexley for fifth behind champion Columbus Academy (5-0), defeated Grandview 22-14 on Sept. 4 for its lone win.

Sophomore Elijah Hughes (QB/WR/DB) emerged as the starting quarterback for the Rams, who were coming off six consecutive winning seasons. He completed 41 of 71 passes for 410 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

“There will be some competition next year at quarterback,” Lightfoot said. “Elijah emerged as the guy taking ownership at the position. We have freshman Jacob Leach. He’s a competitor and he’ll press Elijah. We’re still going to be young next year, but we have some pieces in place. They’re coachable and they’re quick learners. They have a lot of heart, so we’re excited to see what these guys can do.”

Melvin Scott (QB/WR) passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns and Taron Biles-Walker passed for 260 yards and two scores. Both are juniors.

Junior Tyrese Taylor (WR/LB) led the team in receiving with 28 catches for 365 yards and one touchdown, and Biles-Walker added 25 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior Kevin Jackson (WR/DB) had 20 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

Termir Mosley-Allen (TE/DL), who was one of six seniors, and junior Dauvion Henderson (WR/LB) were first-team all-league.

“We’re already back working out,” Henderson said. “We definitely didn’t expect this record. We thought we’d do a little bit better, but we didn’t expect COVID to be here and for our season to be like that.”

Senior Da’ Leon Jackson (TE/DL) and Biles-Walker were second-team all-league. Senior David Winegarner (OL/DL), Kevin Jackson and Taylor were honorable mention all-league.

Da’ Leon Jackson was second-team all-district, Mosley-Allen was special mention all-district and Biles-Walker, Henderson, Kevin Jackson and Taylor were honorable mention all-district.

“We’re going to get four, five weeks in before the holiday break,” Lightfoot said. “We’re excited to get back in the weight room. That was part of our issue this year, lack of time in the weight room. This gives us a chance to work on some fundamentals and get better as a team.”

Brenda Pineda Cuevar was one of four seniors on the Rams girls soccer team, which went winless under first-year coach Tim Darling.

Girls soccer coach

ends first season

The girls soccer team finished 0-11 overall under first-year coach Tim Darling.

Darling replaced Maria Shipe, who coached the team for one season.

Whitehall went 0-8 in the MSL-Ohio to finish ninth behind champion Bexley (6-1-1).

“I enjoyed myself immensely,” Darling said. “Mentally, it was a lot coming into it with COVID.”

Sophomore midfielder Autumn Coulson was named second-team all-league despite missing the latter stages of the season with an ankle injury. Sophomore defender Cynthia Rivas was honorable mention all-league.

“Both of them coming back as a really strong defense to build off of is exciting,” Darling said.

Sophomore Ashley Castillo emerged as the starting goalie. Also expected back are juniors Abril Garcia (goalie/forward), Brooklynn Greer (forward) and Dalia Matute (defender).

Others eligible to return include junior Jessica Revadelo (midfielder/defender) and sophomores Dayana Martinez (midfielder), Teresa Munoz (forward) and Diana Vazquez (midfielder) and freshman Jennifer Martinez-Paredes (midfielder).

“The (four) seniors had some of the best attitudes on the team,” Darling said. “I will miss what they brought in terms of bringing that positive attitude. There were some really good personalities that I’m going to miss.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

FOOTBALL

Record: 1-6 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Columbus Academy (5-0), Harvest Prep and Liberty Union (both 4-1), Buckeye Valley (3-2), Bexley and Whitehall (both 1-4), Grandview (0-6)

Seniors lost: Markell Anderson, Keith Hodge, Da’ Leon Jackson, Termir Mosley-Allen, Jeremiah Nimmons and David Winegarner

Key returnees: Taron Biles-Walker, Noah Church, Dauvion Henderson, Elijah Hughes, Kevin Jackson, Dorrin Mixon, Melvin Scott and Tyrese Taylor

Postseason: Lost to Olentangy Berlin 47-7 in first round of Division II, Region 7 playoffs

GIRLS SOCCER

Record: 0-11 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Bexley (6-1-1), Grandview and Worthington Christian (both 5-1-2), Academy, Columbus School for Girls and Wellington (3-2-3), Buckeye Valley (2-4-2), Zanesville Rosecrans (1-7), Whitehall (0-8)

Seniors lost: Fatmata Jalloh, Dami Juarez Vazquez, Brenda Pineda Cuevar and Ryyair Smith

Key returnees: Ashley Castillo, Autumn Coulson, Abril Garcia, Brooklynn Greer,  Dalia Matute and Cynthia Rivas

Postseason: Lost to Hartley 9-0 in first round of Division II district tournament