Boys Varsity Football · Raider Football rewrote the history books in 2018


REYNOLDSBURG, OH – Fresh off of their first playoff win in 17 years and second overall in school history, the top-seeded Raiders earned the opportunity to face two-time defending Division 1 Region 2 Champion and 4th-seeded Olentangy Liberty on the night of November 9th, 2018 in the Regional Semifinals at St. Francis DeSales High School.

But while Reynoldsburg’s historic season would end here, what the Raiders accomplished in 2018 was nothing short of special.

Despite the Patriots being outgained by a margin of 231-28 total yards in the first half, a 28-yard field goal by Olentangy Liberty kicker Mitchell Kershner with 4:25 left in the second quarter on a drive set up by a Reynoldsburg fumble broke a scoreless tie to put the Patriots up for good. The Raiders (10-2) would ultimately lose three fumbles and commit five turnovers overall, be held to one first down and 36 total yards in the second half, and would be shut out for the first time in just over two years in a stunning 10-0 upset loss over eventual three-time Division 1 Region 2 Champion Olentangy Liberty.

“One of the things that was very uncharacteristic of us is fumbling the football,” Raiders head coach Buddy White said after the defeat. “That was not a problem we had all year. And in this game, we had four fumbles, an interception, and a blocked field goal. I don’t know if the [cold] weather had anything to do with it, but my philosophy has always been that if it is cold on both sides of the ball, then let’s go play. But it was really hard to go deep on them because of the way the wind was holding the ball up there.”

“Another thing that hurts is that we did not have our primary weapon, [wide receiver] Mershawn Rice, and [linebacker] Dez Cooper did not get cleared [to play] until [one day before]. But not having Mershawn or 100% Dez had nothing to do with the turnovers. The turnovers are what really did us in more than anything else. [Olentangy Liberty] didn’t have any fumbles or interceptions, and they played a clean game. If we had played a clean game, we could have won, but we didn’t.”

Olentangy Liberty was held to 152 total yards of offense in a result similar to Reynoldsburg’s only regular season loss at Gahanna-Lincoln in Week 7 at least in terms of yardage, where the Raiders outgained the Lions 196-118 in total yards but lost by a score of 10-7. In Week 11, the Patriots would defeat these same Lions to open up their postseason by breaking a tie in the fourth quarter of a chess match, as Olentangy Liberty quarterback Mitchell Okuley found running back Ryan Ritter for a wide-open 33-yard touchdown pass with 6:47 remaining to win by a score of 14-7.

As a result, the Patriots would advance to Week 12 to face Reynoldsburg, who routed Toledo Start 52-0 in their playoff opener. But in a matchup of two of Ohio’s top defenses, Olentangy Liberty ended up making a few more critical plays than Reynoldsburg that ended up being the difference.

In what ended up being another defensive slugfest, Reynoldsburg would outgain the Patriots by a margin of 267-152 in their Regional Semifinals loss. Despite only being held to 46 total yards passing for Olentangy Liberty against the Raiders defense, Okuley would again break the hearts of an OCC-Ohio team with a long play of his own just under two minutes into the second half: a 44-yard touchdown run that ended up putting the Patriots up by two possessions. That cushion ended up being too much for Reynoldsburg to overcome, and Olentangy Liberty improved to 6-0 overall in 2018 when holding its opponents to 14 or fewer points (eventually finishing 7-0 overall in these types of games), including in their shutout of the Raiders.

Reynoldsburg junior quarterback Michael Whatley would go 16-for-29 in the air and throw for 203 yards, with 159 of those yards and 10 of those receptions evenly split between junior receivers Andree’ Mock and Shon Strickland. Whatley would finish the 2018 season completing 56% of his total passes for 1829 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. But he threw for an average of 203 yards in his final three games, which included a career-high 261 passing yards against Lancaster in Reynoldsburg’s regular season finale, and a career-high four passing touchdowns in the first half of Reynoldsburg’s opening round playoff victory against Toledo Start.

All of this will definitely go a long way in the offseason, and Whatley will return as a senior in 2019 and look to build on his fantastic 2018 season.

The Raiders certainly had plenty of good opportunities to get on the scoreboard on both sides of the ball, particularly on offense, but would come up short at the most unfortunate of moments that ultimately were the difference in Week 12. But even despite the resulting upset of Reynoldsburg, as it will be revisited following the Week 12 detailed recap below, it is difficult to argue where the 2018 Reynoldsburg Football team will permanently stand in not only program history, but in both town history and state history.

FIRST QUARTER

Patriots 0, Raiders 0

Whatley would complete a 12-yard catch to Mock to move the chains on the first play from scrimmage, and the Raiders would get another first down two plays later on a 6-yard run by running back Courtland Bullard. Junior receiver James Dean, who caught a 62-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game against Toledo Start, caught his first and only pass from Whatley for a gain of 15 yards to get Reynoldsburg into Patriots territory just under two minutes into the game. But with the Raiders eventually facing a 4th and 4 on the Patriots 37, a botched snap resulted in a 9-yard loss and a turnover on downs at the Patriots 46 with 8:46 left in the opening period.

Okuley would throw an incomplete pass for Olentangy Liberty to cap a three and out for the Raiders defense, giving Reynoldsburg the ball back on their own 7-yard line a minute later.

The Raiders would pick up right where they left off on offense, with senior receiver Princeton Hoskins catching a 13-yard pass from Whatley on the first play of the ensuing drive. On third and long, a running Whatley would then toss a 24-yard pass to Mock for a first down to move the ball to the Raiders 45 just under halfway into the period, and a 10-yard catch by Strickland would move the chains to the Patriots 45 shortly afterwards. But despite what ended up being a 52-yard drive for the Raiders, they would again come up empty in Patriots territory and be forced to punt, giving Olentangy Liberty the ball back with 4:05 left in the period at their own 20.

Both the Patriots and Raiders would go three and out on their ensuing drives, but for the third time in as many drives for Olentangy Liberty, the Raiders defense would force a three and out to end a scoreless opening period in the Regional Semifinals.

SECOND QUARTER

Patriots 3, Raiders 0

Despite a scoreless opening period by particularly the Raiders offense, they had all of the momentum given their heavy advantage in yardage. With the Raiders starting the period at their own 28, senior running back Guy Cowans-Wright would begin the second quarter with three straight runs of 7, 1, and 14 yards to move the chains to midfield not even a minute into the period.

Olentangy Liberty’s defense continued to come up big in its own territory, but then they would make arguably their biggest play of the night.

Despite what ended up being a 40-yard catch and run by Mock on a deep ball by Whatley, the Patriots would strip Mock of the football near the Patriots 5; the ball would take an unfortunate bounce and roll into the end zone for a touchback with 10:08 left in the quarter.

Had the fumble bounced just a little more to the right, the ball would have gone out of bounds before crossing the goal line. In other words, the Raiders could have likely faced a first and goal from the Patriots 1 or 2-yard line and put themselves in great position to strike first and take early control of the game.

Instead, the game was still scoreless, and the Patriots would take over at their own 20.

Olentangy Liberty would respond by moving the chains for the first time of the night, when Okuley completed a 3rd and 7 pass to Patriots receiver Jake Sincek for 14 yards with under nine minutes left in the half. That was one of his two catches on a night where the Raiders defense held Okuley to 46 total passing yards, but the Patriots would again punt after senior receiver and defensive back Camby Goff broke up a pass at midfield.

But Olentangy Liberty’s defense stepped up with its offense struggling.

The Raiders got the ball back at their own 18 with 7:26 left in the half, but Patriots junior linebacker Ben Cox recovered a fumble by Reynoldsburg running back MarcAnthony Gray, giving the ball back to Olentangy Liberty at the Raiders 12. Despite the Patriots facing first and goal from the one-yard line, the Raiders defense kept them out of the end zone, with seniors Dez Cooper and Jay Amburgey getting sacks to push the Patriots back to the 11-yard line to force a 28-yard field goal attempt.

Perhaps even more unfortunate was that Reynoldsburg’s Breyon Eddings, who came into the game with four interceptions in his last three games with two of them returned for touchdowns, appeared to strip the football from on a run by Olentangy Liberty’s Robert Flowers inside the Raiders 5 in between the two aforementioned sacks. Eddings began to run the other way for what would have been at least a 95 yard fumble return for a touchdown, but the play was whistled dead just moments into his run.

Instead, while they were kept out of the end zone, the Patriots were able to strike first with a 28-yard field goal and go up 3-0 with 4:25 left in the half.

On the ensuing drive by Reynoldsburg, which started at its own 15 after a penalty on the kickoff, Whatley would find a wide-open Strickland for a 32-yard gain, and would toss a 14-yard pass to Goff on 3rd and long to advance to the Patriots 39 not even a minute later. Strickland would catch a 13-yard ball for another first down, but after a pass by Whatley was broken up in the end zone three plays later, junior kicker Cocy Goff would attempt a 36-yard field goal to the tie game.

Cox, who recovered the fumble earlier for Olentangy Liberty, bursted up the middle after the snap and successfully blocked Goff’s field goal attempt, keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard and down 3-0 at the break with Olentangy Liberty receiving the second-half kickoff.

THIRD QUARTER

Patriots 10, Raiders 0

The Patriots wasted no time out of the locker room.

Olentangy Liberty would begin the third quarter at their own 37, and would quickly get what seemed like a rare first down after two runs by Patriots running back Aidan Kenley. On just the fifth play of the drive and from the Raiders 44, Okuley would then keep the ball, run right up the middle, dodge a tackle, and turn on the jets all the way to the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown run to extend the Patriots’ lead to 10-0 with 10:21 left in the period after the extra point.

Looking to get on the scoreboard, Reynoldsburg would start their next drive at their own 29, and Whatley would throw a 12-yard pass to Strickland for a first down and advance to the Raiders 44 with 9:38 left in the period.

This would be the Raiders’ only first down in a second half where they would be held to 36 total yards after outgaining Olentangy Liberty by a margin of 231-28 in the first half.

The Raiders would not advance past midfield despite a bunch of good looks from Whatley deep into Patriots territory. The Patriots would also be held scoreless following Okuley’s touchdown run, but got four first downs afterwards to keep the clock running in their favor, with two first downs occuring in the final minute of the third period. Whatley would also throw his first and only interception of the game, but with four total turnovers forced by Olentangy Liberty’s defense up to this point, the Raiders found themselves down 10-0 with their season on the line to the final period of regulation.

FOURTH QUARTER

Patriots 10, Raiders 0

The Raiders defense would get a stop two plays into the 4th quarter, and Reynoldsburg would take over on their own 19 with 11:32 to go and trailing 10-0. After a 7-yard catch by Mock, Whatley would go deep and find Strickland deep in Patriots territory. However, Strickland would be stripped of the ball at the Patriots 27 to give Olentangy Liberty the ball back after their defense forced their final turnover of the night.

Both teams would not score again, and Reynoldsburg kept on trying to find big plays in the air with time running out and their run game stalling at the hands of a Patriots defense that would ultimately hold the Raiders to 64 total rushing yards. Facing 4th and 17 from their own 15, the Raiders would turn the ball over on downs with 3:45 to go and only one timeout remaining.

Olentangy Liberty would then advance to face a first and goal with just over two minutes remaining to all but seal the upset, and time would ultimately expire with Reynoldsburg falling by a score of 10-0, ending their historic 2018 season at St. Francis DeSales High School in the second round of the playoffs.

KEY RAIDERS STATS (WEEK 12):

Total Yards: 267 (203 pass, 64 rush)

Total Yards Allowed: 152 (46 pass, 106 rush)

Passing: Michael Whatley (16/29, 203 YDS, 1 INT)

Rushing: Guy Cowans-Wright (11 CAR, 44 YDS)

Receiving: Andree’ Mock (4 REC, 81 YDS); Shon Strickland (6 REC, 78 YDS)

Defense: 5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss

Special Teams: Cocy Goff (0/1 FG)

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER WEEK 12?

With the top-seeded Raiders eliminated in the Regional Semifinals, 4th-seeded Olentangy Liberty advanced to face the other Regional Semifinals winner: 2nd-seeded Dublin Coffman, in the Regional Finals. On the same night and about 43 miles away from St. Francis DeSales High School, the Shamrocks would dominate 3rd-seeded Toledo Whitmer by a score of 43-20 in their Regional Semifinals matchup. With the Patriots and the Shamrocks facing each other in the Division 1 Region 2 Finals, Central Ohio was guaranteed at least one representative in the Division 1 State Semifinals (i.e. Final Four).

Actually, exactly two representatives from Central Ohio would be guaranteed a trip to the Final Four at the conclusion of the night.

In Division 1 Region 3, also understandably dubbed the “Region of Death” where Reynoldsburg missed the postseason in 2017 despite a 7-3 record, top-seeded Hilliard Davidson would take down 4th-seeded Springfield by a score of 17-14. Defending state champion, arch-rival, and 6th-seeded Pickerington Central, who the Raiders defeated 24-21 in Week 9 en route to its first OCC-Ohio title in 25 years, would give up an early touchdown to 2nd-seeded Northmont, but would extend its quest for a title repeat by scoring 33 unanswered points in a 33-7 victory. This would set up a Division 1 Region 3 Finals matchup between Hilliard Davidson and Pickerington Central, guaranteeing two Final Four spots to teams from Central Ohio.

The Regional Finals would take place on the night of Friday November 16th, 2018, and Olentangy Liberty kept its foot on the gas, to say the very least.

The Patriots’ defense would continue to dominate, and the offense would score two touchdowns off of two Dublin Coffman turnovers to take a 21-0 lead late into the 4th quarter. The Shamrocks would not get on the board until 2:03 remained in regulation, snapping an unbelievable postseason scoreless streak of 135:54 for Olentangy Liberty (out of 144 possible minutes) in their three playoff games, including against Reynoldsburg. The Patriots would win 21-7, secure its third straight Regional Championship after upsetting the top two seeds in Division 1 Region 2 in back-to-back weeks, and improve to 7-0 in games decided by 14 or fewer points.

The defending state champions would also return to the Final Four and extend its quest for a repeat.

Pickerington Central would make it three straight upsets in the Division 1 Region 3 playoffs, as they would eliminate top-seeded Hilliard Davidson by a score of 20-13 to secure its third straight Regional Championship. The 6th-seeded Tigers would eliminate the top three seeds in their postseason run en route to their Final Four berth, meaning they would join the Patriots as the two teams from Central Ohio in the 2018 Final Four.

However, the road would end for both of these teams in the Final Four and State Semifinals a week later.

On the night of Friday November 23rd, 2018, Lakewood St. Edward of Northeast Ohio would take down Olentangy Liberty by a score of 42-17, while undefeated and heavy title favorite Cincinnati Colerain would defeat Pickerington Central by a score of 28-14, guaranteeing a new state champion for Division 1 heading into the final week of the 2018 season in the great state of Ohio.

And in that final week, the favorite would finally fall.

At Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio on the night of November 30th, 2018, while undefeated and 14-0 Cincinnati Colerain led 10-7 at halftime against Lakewood St. Edward, the Eagles would score 17 unanswered points in the second half, spoiling the Cardinals’ quest for a perfect season with a 24-10 victory in the Division 1 State Championship Game. The 7th-seeded Eagles out of Division 1 Region 1 started their regular season 0-2 but got hot when it mattered most, winning six out of their next seven regular season games to get into the playoffs.

Their only loss during this streak was a 21-7 setback at Cleveland St. Ignatius in their regular season finale. But a week later, they would meet in the first round of the Division 1 Region 1 playoffs, and the Eagles would quickly get their revenge over the 2nd-seeded Wildcats with a 21-19 upset victory.

Lakewood St. Edward would upset the top three seeds in their region by a combined score of 101-68 en route to the Final Four, and outscored its two Final Four opponents by a combined score of 66-26 on the way to the 2018 Division 1 State Championship with an 11-3 overall record and their fourth state title in school history.

2018 REYNOLDSBURG FOOTBALL SEASON SUMMARY:

Below are the results of the 2018 season courtesy of joeeitel.com.

Reynoldsburg started 2018 and non-conference play off with a nail-biter: a 17-14 victory at Upper Arlington on the night of August 24th, with senior receiver Mershawn Rice catching 7 passes for 146 yards and Reynoldsburg’s two touchdowns (of 57 yards and 53 yards) in the victory. On this night, the Golden Bears were in position to tie the game or take the lead late in the 4th quarter despite trailing by 10 with 8:20 to go, but junior cornerback Isaiah Thomas would come up with a game-clinching interception deep in Raiders territory after a huge conversion on 4th and long by Upper Arlington. Thomas, along with three players in Reynoldsburg’s secondary who had huge impacts in 2018, will all be returning in 2019.

The rest of Reynoldsburg’s four non-conference games were not as close, to say the least.

A highly-anticipated crosstown matchup in Week 2 at Licking Heights, which is just a drive up Summit Road away from Reynoldsburg High School’s Summit Campus, was all Raiders. Despite the Hornets winning 14 of their previous 15 home games going into this game, the Raiders dominated with a 44-0 victory to hand them their biggest margin of defeat at home in 14 years and their first home shutout since the final week of the 2008 regular season.

Reynoldsburg would be ranked 7th in the Division 1 AP Poll going into Week 3, their first appearance of the AP Top 10 in quite some time. In their home opener against Marion-Franklin in Week 3, Reynoldsburg would be the victim of a 54-yard interception returned for a touchdown by the Red Devils, but the Raiders defense again allowed no points for the second week in a row in their 36-6 victory over Marion-Franklin. This streak would be extended by one more week on Homecoming Night in Week 4 against Westerville South: a 28-0 victory in favor of the Raiders. While this scoreless streak would come to an end at Central Crossing the next week on a crazy 28-yard touchdown pass on 4th and 19 over three Raiders defenders, the Comets would not score again, and Reynoldsburg would outgain Central Crossing by a yardage margin of 483-159 in a 48-7 victory.

With their victory over Central Crossing in Week 5, the Raiders would improve to 5-0 for the first time in 50 years and head into OCC-Ohio division play against Pickerington North undefeated and ranked 4th in the AP Ohio Division I Poll. The Raiders found themselves in big trouble at home against the Panthers in Week 6, down 24-7 early in the 4th quarter and in danger of losing their first game of 2018 and first home game overall since October 21st, 2016 to Pickerington Central.

And then there was some late September magic in Raider Stadium.

Reynoldsburg would rally for three touchdowns in a four minute span during the 4th quarter, including a go-ahead 90-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Rice to go up 27-24 with 7:30 to go. They would score one more insurance touchdown to cap of a burst of 26 unanswered 4th quarter points in ten minutes during the 4th quarter, eventually sealing a 33-31 victory with an onside kick recovery following a late hook-and-lateral touchdown by the Panthers despite what ended up being a season-high 458 yards allowed by the Raiders defense.

Trailing by double digits again in the 4th quarter the following week at Gahanna-Lincoln, there appeared to be more magic brewing, but the Raiders would fall just short despite a strong second-half performance by Reynoldsburg freshman quarterback Dijon Jennings in a 10-7 loss and what ended up being the Raiders’ only loss of the regular season. They would bounce back against with a 43-7 win at Grove City the following week, and then come back home the following week for Senior Night and the 2018 Edition of the Battle of 256 against a Pickerington Central team Reynoldsburg had not beaten since 2001.

But 6,264 days after last winning against them at Crew Stadium, when they were just known as Pickerington High School and Pickerington North had not yet even been built, the Raiders finally prevailed against the arch-rival Tigers. They would clinch their third playoff berth in school history (2001, 2015, 2018), knock off both teams from Pickerington for the first time ever, and cap off their second straight undefeated regular season homestand with an epic 24-21 win over defending state champion and eventual state semifinalist Pickerington Central.

And on their Thursday Night Lights regular season finale at Lancaster, the Raiders would clinch even more accolades with all of Central Ohio watching. With Reynoldsburg only leading 9-7 late in the third quarter, the Raiders defense stopped the Gales on 4th and 1 on the 5 yard line after Lancaster opted not to attempt what would have been a 22-yard go-ahead field goal. Raiders quarterback Michael Whatley then threw a 94-yard touchdown pass to Rice to extend Reynoldsburg’s lead to two scores as part of a career-high 261 passing yard effort, and the Raiders defense put an exclamation point on their regular season with two late pick-sixes in a 28-7 victory.

As a result, Reynoldsburg not only finished the regular season with a 9-1 record and ranked 5th in the Ohio Division I AP Poll. With their Thursday Night Lights win at Lancaster, the Raiders won their first OCC-Ohio title since 1993 and second overall in school history. Even more, despite Reynoldsburg’s earlier loss to Gahanna-Lincoln, Dublin Coffman’s 24-7 loss to Hilliard Davidson in Week 8 along with Reynoldsburg’s strong finish to the 2018 regular season helped the Raiders clinch their first #1 seed in program history before all other results went final in the last week of the regular season (as everyone else played the next night in Central Ohio).

That would lead to a first-round playoff matchup against an 8th-seeded Toledo Start team making their first postseason appearance ever. The Raiders would ultimately send the Class of 2019 seniors away with one more home win, as Reynoldsburg dominated the Spartans 52-0 at Raider Stadium for their first playoff win since 2001.

The Raiders’ season would sadly come to an end the following week with their 10-7 loss in the second round of the playoffs against Olentangy Liberty, and even with 26 seniors graduating, Reynoldsburg still has a lot of key players returning in 2019 that had critical playing experience this year.

“I just don’t believe that this was a one-year wonder,” White would go on to say. “We’ve been building up our linemen well, and I think we can be dangerous again next year, especially the skill-position kids that we have coming back. We have four starters coming back in our secondary, linebackers that got plenty of playing experience that are going to be bigger, stronger, and faster next year with that experience. And with the experience that [quarterback Michael Whatley] gathered this year, he is only going to be better next year. With our receivers that are coming back next year, our receiving corps is definitely going to be strong as well. Our running backs are going to be strong, and we are going to have a lot of young players that will try to work their way into the game and continue to develop. Our mental focus is going to be taking it a step further, and I think that we are going to have another memorable season next year.”

Even more, the Raiders’ championship defense lived up to its name as the team allowed a staggering 9.4 points per game (with defensive scores by opponents included), posting three shutouts, and holding their opponents to 14 or fewer points in ten of their twelve total games. As a result, the 2018 team had a point differential of +247 by also putting up 360 total points to back up the 113 total points they allowed whether by opposing offenses or defenses.

The 2018 Reynoldsburg Football team advanced to the second round for the first time since the 2001 Reynoldsburg Football team accomplished that feat. Up until this season, that Raiders team from 17 years ago had the most wins (9) of any Reynoldsburg Football team in the playoff era, and they also fielded a championship defense on top of a very strong offense. Of course, it is very hard to truly compare these two teams given the drastically different eras of football that they played in 17 years apart, but in terms of accolades and accomplishments as described earlier, the list just goes on and on for the 2018 squad.

“When you look at accomplishments, you have to look at [the 2018 team] as a team that accomplished more than any other team,” said White. “It’s hard to say who is the best team because they do not play each other, but you can look at the accomplishments, and [the 2018 team] accomplished more than any other team in the history of Reynoldsburg High School.”

Here is a brief overview of what the memorable 2001 team did, though, and at least some comparisons of the aforementioned statistics of them.

The 2001 Reynoldsburg team also had three shutouts en route to a trip to the second round of the playoffs, where they were eliminated by Brady Quinn’s Dublin Coffman team by a score of 28-14. They allowed an average of 13.7 points per game with a +152 point differential as a result of scoring 316 total points, and held opponents to 14 or fewer points in six of their twelve games.

Detailed results of Reynoldsburg’s 2001 season are pictured below courtesy of joeeitel.com.

Fast forwarding back to 2018, it is truly amazing with this senior class did for the Burg. After Reynoldsburg went 3-7 in 2014, they went 30-13 overall in their four seasons, earning two playoff berths in four seasons, and finishing an amazing 17-3 at Raider Stadium with a home win streak currently at 10 and counting since their last home loss over two years ago.

“They have built on what we have been doing in the past,” White would go on to say about the Class of 2019. “They believed in it, and they definitely represented what Reynoldsburg Football is to be about. With me, it isn’t necessarily about football with these kids; these kids are great kids. These are kids I’ve looked forward to seeing every day after school. The loss [to Olentangy Liberty] hurt, but it didn’t hurt near as much as the fact that the season was over. That’s what hurt more than anything else: not being around those guys. But we had great relationships; those kids are very respectful, and they are the kind of kids you want on your football team to represent your school and community. They brought a special character to our program, and I’m hoping that the kids at the lower levels can emulate what they had brought to this program.”

“This is the most fun I’ve had in 32 years of coaching. Not only the kids that we coached, but that we were successful in a lot of different areas in that we’ve never been successful in before. That is what went into what made this season such a joyous season also: the unprecedented success in a lot of situations.”

The 2018 Raiders squad secured the most wins in program history of the playoff era (10), tied the school record for most wins ever (with the 1961 team that finished 10-0), and they matched the 2001 Raiders squad for deepest postseason run to date of the playoff era (second round). One season after the Raiders missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins in the aforementioned “Region of Death” in 2017, their goal in 2018 was to take it a step further and “leave no doubt” in regards to keeping firm control of their path to their third postseason berth in school history.

It is safe to say they left no doubt, all right.

FEATURED PHOTO:

Raider Football’s Senior Class of 2019. (Photo taken and provided by Tim Paris via www.topphotos.org)

AWARDS AND HONORS:

On the night of December 6th, 2018, Reynoldsburg Football held their annual end-of-year banquet, and they certainly had a lot to celebrate about given everything the team had done this year on and off the field.

Reynoldsburg head coach Buddy White received Coach of the Year awards from multiple outlets, including Coach of the Year for Division 1 in the entire state of Ohio.

His team’s players ended up taking home lots of hardware on Thursday night as well.

Below are the team awards that were given out in addition to individual player awards for their performances in regular season and postseason.

TEAM AWARDS:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dezman Cooper

CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Ke’Shun Moorer & Camby Goff

CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Mershawn Rice & Jay Amburgey

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Emmanuel Crawford

ACADEMIC AWARD: Bryden Scherger

COACHES LEADERSHIP AWARD: Jeremiah Burton & Guy Cowans-Wright

JOHN THOMPSON AWARD: Brock Barry

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: J’Vonte Edwards

IROMAN AWARD: Princeton Hoskins

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Darien Abron

POSTSEASON AWARDS:

ALL OCC 1ST TEAM: Mershawn Rice, Dezman Cooper (Player of the Year), Camby Goff, Jeremiah Burton, Jay Amburgey, Ke’Shun Moorer, Guy Cowans-Wright, Cocy Goff

ALL OCC 2ND TEAM: Breyon Eddings, Michael Whatley, Shon Strickland, Courtland Bullard Jr., J’Vonte Edwards

OCC SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Trenton Scherger

HONORABLE MENTION ALL OCC: Savion Turner

SPECIAL MENTION ALL OCC: Keyshaun Slaughter

ALL DISTRICT:

1ST TEAM: Dezman Cooper, Mershawn Rice, Camby Goff, Jay Amburgey

2ND TEAM: Jeremiah Burton

SPECIAL MENTION: Ke’Shun Moorer, Cocy Goff, Michael Whatley

HONORABLE MENTION: Emmanuel Crawford

THIS WEEK NEWS SUPER 25:

1ST TEAM: Dezman Cooper, Mershawn Rice

2ND TEAM: Jay Amburgey

COLUMBUS DISPATCH ALL METRO TEAM:

1ST TEAM: Dezman Cooper, Mershawn Rice

2ND TEAM: Camby Goff, Jay Amburgey

SPECIAL MENTION: Jeremiah Burton

ALL OHIO:

1ST TEAM: Dezman Cooper, Camby Goff

2ND TEAM: Mershawn Rice

IN CLOSING:

We appreciate ALL of your support of Reynoldsburg Raider Football during what was a fun, exciting, and historic 2018 season. Whether you followed the team in person, on social media, on television, via these articles, and/or by any other means, history could not have been made without each and every single one of you and your amazing support.

The 2018 Reynoldsburg Football team and Raider Marching Pride were recognized at City Hall for all of their accomplishments on the evening of Monday December 10th, 2018. Pictured are Raiders head coach Buddy White (left) and Raider Marching Pride band director Jason Gibson (right) with signed resolutions honoring their squads. They were both also recognized at the Reynoldsburg City Schools Board of Education meeting on the night of December 18th, 2018.

Our 2019 season opener at home against Upper Arlington in the Burg (and first of SIX home games) will be here before you know it, but until then… THANK YOU SO MUCH AND GO RAIDERS!

Follow @ReynoldsburgFB on Twitter for play-by-play updates during game days and all things pertaining to Reynoldsburg Raiders football.