Mikah Coleman remembers the disbelief he felt last November when the Reynoldsburg football team had its season end with a 10-0 loss to Olentangy Liberty in a Division I regional semifinal.
It hurt him even more that he couldn't help prevent the loss.
After moving in from Huber Heights Wayne, Coleman was with the Raiders all of his junior season but was ineligible to play in the final five games of the regular season as well as the playoffs because of the OHSAA transfer rule.
"That last game was mind-breaking," Coleman said. "I wanted to be out there and help my team. I actually learned a lot. I had to sit out so I had to learn what to do for (this season) because this is my time."
Intent on taking advantage of his senior season, Coleman has made an impact on both sides of the ball for the Raiders, who improved to 3-0 by beating Marion-Franklin 40-10 on Sept. 13. Reynoldsburg continues non-league play Friday, Sept. 20, at home against Central Crossing.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Coleman grew up playing wide receiver but also has seen time at tight end and slot receiver.
In addition, he has been adjusting this season to playing defensive end.
"In the offseason during two-a-days I wasn't really feeling the defensive end spot because I think I'm too small (and) too skinny," Coleman said. "I tried it out in the first couple scrimmages and ever since then I've loved it. I had a good game (in our 23-9 opening win Aug. 30 over Upper Arlington).
"(I've always played) receiver and then I got taller. I can still play receiver because of my speed."
Coleman had two catches for 37 yards against UA and two catches for 36 yards and one score in a 41-7 win over Licking Heights on Sept. 6.
On defense, Coleman had 6.5 tackles and one tackle for loss against the Golden Bears and 4.5 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack against the Hornets.
While Coleman attended school in Huber Heights for most of elementary school through 10th grade, he was born in Columbus and has family in central Ohio, including an aunt with whom he now lives.
Last year, he played in three games for the Raiders but missed the other two in which he was eligible because of injury.
"He is exceeding my expectations," coach Buddy White said.
"We knew that this kid was an athlete. We knew he was aggressive and long and lean and once we told him that we're going to play him at defensive end, he bought in and worked extra hard in the weight room in the offseason.
"I love him. He's really coming through for us. A lot of (Division I colleges) have him on that wait-and-see list because we didn't have enough film on him. Now I'm starting to get those phone calls."
The Raiders will attempt to continue what has been a successful passing game against Central Crossing, which they beat 48-7 last season.
The Comets are 1-2 after losing to Grove City 18-15 on Sept. 13.
The Raiders' quarterback rotation of senior Michael Whatley and sophomore Dijon Jennings produced 196 yards passing in the opener. Then in Week 2, Jennings and Whatley combined for 241 yards passing with three touchdowns and Jennings added 71 yards rushing.
Coleman has been a part of a receiving corps that has also gotten regular contributions from James Dean, Andree' Mock, Shon Strickland and Kenttwon Brown.
"The beginning of the season, we had a lot of adversity," Coleman said. "The seniors didn't know how to lead at first, but we grinded and came together and now we're all organized.
"It feels good. It's our senior year and we're trying to go far and win a state championship. This is the last year we can ever play high school football so we're trying to do it big and it feels great to be out there with my brothers."