August 28, 0014
The 2014 central Ohio high school football season is finally here, and ThisWeekSPORTS.com has you covered.
Here's a link to the Friday Night Live page, which has previews of nearly all games involving central Ohio teams: http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/topic/sports/football-friday-night-live-2014.html
In the meantime, the area's slate of games begins Thursday night when New Albany travels to Reynoldsburg.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. New Albany has won four consecutive league titles and went 11-2 last year, including beating the Raiders 38-20.
2. The highest recruited athletes in this game are probably New Albany's Jack Schroer, who already has committed to Miami University, and Reynoldsburg's Ashton Dulin, a speedster who is going to end up at something like a small DI or an FCS school if he wants to play football. He's also a standout track athlete.
3. Reynoldsburg committed five turnovers in last year's game vs. New Albany, so you know that's been one of its focuses heading into this matchup.
4. Just because New Albany has the credentials on paper doesn't mean this is a gimme win. Remember, in 2012, Reynoldsburg won 10-9 over the Eagles but New Albany eventually made it to a DII state semifinal. The Raiders went 7-3 but came up short of the playoffs because one of their non-league wins was against Westerville North, which would go 0-10, and the combined record of the teams they beat that year was just 18-42 outside of New Albany.
5. While Jalen Ward is taking over at QB for New Albany, Reynoldsburg's Conner McCloud got experience at QB over the last four games last year.
6. Reynoldsburg's depth of talent is in its junior class, and it will be starting several juniors. How much mental toughness this group shows tonight could determine whether the Raiders can hang with a New Albany team that has been cranking out consistent talent the last several years