Lexington rebounding from winless season


By Craig Merz - Associated Press



The future looks bright and the present isn’t so bad either for the Lexington Minutemen coming off a winless 2014 season.

Despite having only three seniors on the 51-man roster, Lexington has buried the memories of an 18-game losing streak by winning its first three games for the Minutemen’s best start since 2010.

Lexington defeated Ontario 26-19 in its opener, beat Shelby 34-20 and last week blanked Norwalk 28-0.

Second-year coach Taylor Gerhardt has already improved on the 1-9 record in 2013 and the 0-10 mark a season ago.

While Lexington was 5-5 in both 2011 and ‘12, it is looking to finish better than .500 for the first time since going 6-4 in 2009.

Next for the Minuteman is Orrville on Friday in the last of three straight away games.

IN TODD THEY TRUST: Former Loudonville coach Justin Todd in his first season at Mount Vernon has the Yellow Jackets off to 3-0 start for the first time since 1993 after wins against Marion Harding (55-19), Newark (48-22) and Mansfield Madison (38-19).

While the offense has been steamrolling opponents to the tune of 47 points and 385 yards per game, Todd said there’s an even bigger factor for Mount Vernon’s success.

“Discipline,” he said. “The players know what to expect, and that’s what we get out of them.”

The Yellow Jackets have committed only six penalties and turned the ball over twice while forcing nine turnovers through three games.

It’s a formula that’s worked before for Todd, who has a personal 14-game regular season winning streak back to his time at Loudonville.

Leading the way for Mount Vernon is quarterback Mason Williams, who has thrown for 1,046 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in his first three varsity starts. His favorite target has been Nate Davis (16 catches, 489 yards and seven TDs).

The Yellow Jackets begin Ohio Capital Conference play Friday at home against Franklin Heights.

LOOKING FOR FOUR: Johnstown Northridge has not won four games in a season since 2008 but the Vikings under new coach Shawn Hinkle have a chance to go 4-0 with a victory Friday against visiting Beverly Fort Frye in a battle of unbeatens.

Northridge quarterback Daniel Hatfield has rushed for more than 100 yards in three straight games and also threw for the winning score in a 26-20 overtime win against Mount Gilead on Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, Fort Frye has outscored the opposition 92-12 in three games.

TEAM WORK: Cincinnati La Salle got a late 41-yard field goal from Drue Chrisman as the Lancers defeated rival Cincinnati Colerain, 39-36. LaSalle is the defending Division II champ and is first in the current Associated Press poll. Colerain was voted sixth in Division . … Lakewood St. Edward, third in Division I, lost 22-20 to Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph. … Elida held Defiance to 1-of-17 passing for two yards in a 49-28 win. Elida running back Cole Harmon had 301 yards on 16 carries with four touchdowns and teammate Logan Alexander added 173 yards on 15 carries with three TDs.

FOOT NOTABLES: Pataskala Licking Heights senior running back London Pearson rushed for four touchdowns in the Hornets’ 48-26 victory against Newark. Pearson, the son of former Ohio State running back Pepe Pearson, had TDs of 3, 58, 3 and 23 yards. He has seven total touchdowns this season. … Avon junior running back Gerret Choat was a workhorse, rushing 51 times for 293 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ triple-OT win over North Olmsted. … Wauseon senior defensive back Josh Whitcomb had two interceptions and kicked four extra points in the Indians 28-14 victory over previously unbeaten Defiance Tinora. … Hicksville’s Dillion Fuller scored five touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving and one on a fumble return — in a 58-16 win against Edon.

HALF AND HALF: Austin Grubb of Montpelier had no yards on two carries in the first half against Paulding but erupted for 158 yards and four TDs on only 12 rushes in the second during the 34-14 victory. … Grafton Midview junior quarterback Dustin Crum has been nearly unstoppable in the past two first halves. Against North Olmstead on Sept. 4 he was 21-for-23 for 356 yards and three TDs and the Middies won 43-12. A week later in Midview’s 49-10 win over Amherst Steele, Crum was 15-for-17 for 308 yards and three TDs in the first half.

NOW, THERE’S A DEBATE: The most interesting race for the top spot in the AP polls is in Division IV where runner-up Columbus Bishop Hartley has more first-place votes (seven) than leader Steubenville (five). Kettering Bishop Alter also has five. Perry (three) and Ottawa-Glandorf and Hubbard (one each) were also mentioned for first place. Overall, Steubenville received 170 votes compared with Ready’s 160 and 134 for Alter. At the other extreme, La Salle and Coldwater in Division V and Division VI, respectively, were checked on 21 of 24 first-place ballots.

By Craig Merz

Associated Press