The reverberations of having what could be considered the greatest season in program history still are being experienced by Reynoldsburg.

In addition to beating both Pickerington teams in the same season for the first time, the Raiders' list of accomplishments included winning just their second Division I playoff game and earning at least a share of a league championship for the first time since 1993.

The players and coaches believe that their standing in central Ohio also has changed following a 10-2 finish that included sharing the OCC-Ohio Division title at 4-1.

"Now we've got a target on our back and are expected to win," senior wide receiver Shon Strickland said. "We're looking to have a good season. We're filled with athleticism on this team."

The Raiders had experienced five consecutive losing seasons before coach Buddy White took over in 2011. But since that time, they have had just one losing season and gone 51-32.

Last season, though, was different.

Three weeks after beating Pickerington North 33-31, Reynoldsburg defeated Pickerington Central 24-21 for its first win in that series since 2001 and went on to earn the No. 1 seed for the Region 2 playoffs.

The Raiders play both Pickerington programs on the road this fall after beating both at home last season but have six home games overall, including three from an identical non-league slate as a year ago when they won their first five games.

The Raiders open Friday, Aug. 30, at home against Upper Arlington.

"What I tell the kids is that you gained some respect by beating both Pickeringtons at home, but if you really want to be special, go to their house and beat them," White said. "One thing we've done is we took away the invincibility. These kids believe now. I can truly tell you we'd go into those games in the past and I don't think those kids believed."

One thing White believes is that his team "will be good again" despite losing a 25-member senior class that featured Football Bowl Subdivision recruits Jay Amburgey (Ohio), Jeremiah Burton (Ohio) and Mershawn Rice (Purdue).

"As seniors we obviously have to step up and become leaders more than last year," senior running back and strong safety Courtland Bullard said. "We lost a lot of good talent, but we're starting to get better."


Bullard and Strickland are among those expected to lead the offense after filling contributing roles last season. Other top contributors should be slot receiver James Dean, wide receiver Andree' Mock and running backs MarcAnthony Gray and Omari Jones.

Dean, Gray and Mock are seniors and Jones is a junior.

Strickland had 27 receptions for 408 yards and five touchdowns last season. Dean and Mock had 20 and 18 catches, respectively.

Junior Daniel Broomfield is a transfer from Watkins Memorial who also could have an impact on the receiving corps.

The offense should be similar in style to last season when it featured a 60-40 run-pass ratio.

Bullard rushed 59 times for 356 yards and four touchdowns, and Jones rushed for 145 yards.

Senior Cocy Goff is another who could contribute to the rushing attack.

The Raiders have depth at quarterback with senior Michael Whatley and sophomore Dijon Jennings both returning. Whatley completed 122 of 218 passes for 1,829 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year but could split time at the position because of Jennings' development.

Anchoring the offensive line will be senior Jalen Bowens, who is moving from left guard to center, and junior Dalton Hall, who is moving from center to left tackle.


Returning to lead a defensive line that was among the team's biggest strengths last fall is sophomore Keyshaun Slaughter, who will line up at tackle after making 26 tackles.

Senior Micah Coleman, who also will serve as the team's H-back, is expected to be at end. He was only eligible for the first five games last season after transferring from Huber Heights Wayne.

Returning at cornerback are senior Breyon Eddings, who had five interceptions, and senior Isaiah Thomas. Goff is expected to be at free safety after making 41 tackles, and Bullard returns at strong safety.

Bullard and Eddings were second-team all-league and Slaughter was honorable mention all-league last season.

Junior Myles Carter was a part-time contributor at linebacker last fall but has been gaining interest from college programs, according to White.


Goff made 38 extra points and five of six field-goal attempts last season while earning first-team all-league honors at kicker.

Junior Norman Griffith is expected to be the punter after the Raiders lost Emmanuel Crawford (37.9 yards per punt, 9 inside the 20) to graduation.

Dean again is expected to be one of the top returners.



Quarterbacks: *Michael Whatley (sr., 5-11, 180), Dijon Jennings (so., 5-11, 175)

Running backs: *Courtland Bullard (sr., 5-10, 180), Jeremiah Crawford-Smith (so., 5-10, 185), Cocy Goff (sr., 5-10, 170), MarcAnthony Gray (sr., 5-10, 180), Omari Jones (jr., 5-11, 175), Kehinde McComb (jr., 6-0, 190), Ajani McConnell (jr., 6-0, 180)

Receivers: *James Dean (sr., 5-11, 185), *Andree' Mock (sr., 6-0, 170), *Shon Strickland (sr., 6-3, 205), Daniel Broomfield (jr., 5-10, 195), Donovan Reed (so., 5-7, 145)

Tight end/H-back: *Micah Coleman (sr., 6-5, 215)

Linemen: *Jalen Bowens (sr., 6-0, 260), *Dalton Hall (jr., 6-5, 270), *Ethan Sherrick (sr., 5-10, 230), Kwabena Asamoah (so., 6-2, 260), Robert McClain (sr., 6-1, 245), Keyshaun Slaughter (so., 6-1, 330), Mekhai Woodfork (jr., 5-10, 245)


Linemen: *Coleman, *Slaughter, Asamoah, Kaleb Bernardin (jr., 6-2, 310), Bowens, Norman Griffith (jr., 6-2, 190), Hall, McClain, Sherrick, Woodfork

Linebackers: *Myles Carter (jr., 6-1, 220), *Johron Johnson (sr., 6-0, 230), *Marshawn Massey (sr., 5-10, 195), JaiDen Armour (jr., 6-0, 225), Jehoiadah Bantoe (sr., 5-10, 205), Cedric Campbell (sr., 5-11, 220)

Secondary: *Bullard, *Breyon Eddings (sr., 5-10, 160), *Goff, *Isaiah Thomas (sr., 6-0, 170), Gray, Jones, Deshawn Mattox (sr., 5-9, 150), McConnell

Special teams

Kicker: *Goff

Punter: *Griffith

Returners: *Dean, Markez Gillam (so., 5-7, 160)

Long snapper: *Mattox

(*Denotes projected starter)