Moments after his team escaped Central Crossing's upset bid with a 17-15 win Sept. 20, Reynoldsburg football coach Buddy White had a stern message for his players.
White stressed the importance of having a solid focus each game, especially with the Raiders having to prepare for a clash of undefeated teams Friday, Sept. 27.
Reynoldsburg will visit Westerville South, and both teams are 4-0.
"We had some games early on where the kids knew they were going to beat the team that we played," White said. "We knew that we were better. We had better players. Now we're playing a team that can beat us. I've seen enough film on them to know that these kids are coached up, they're playing with great confidence and they have players that match our players. It's an exciting time.
"Westerville South has our undivided attention this week."
Reynoldsburg pulled out the win against Central Crossing on Cocy Goff's 32-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 54 seconds remaining.
"We weren't as focused," Goff said. "We thought we were going to beat them without really trying, but we got a wake-up call. We know (South) is going to be a hard game, so we just have to come ready to play. South is really good on both sides of the ball. We know we're ready for this game."
MarcAnthony Gray rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries against the Comets, and Michael Whatley passed for 77 yards and a score.
For the season, Gray has rushed for 261 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries and Shon Strickland has 23 catches for 294 yards and four scores. Whatley has completed 32 of 61 passes for 495 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
"Reynoldsburg is athletic," South coach Matthew Christ said. "In terms of the teams we've played so far, it's the most athletic (and) skilled group that we will have seen. It should be a good test."
The teams have one common opponent this season in Upper Arlington. Reynoldsburg opened with a 23-9 win over UA on Aug. 30 and South defeated the Golden Bears 28-21 on Sept. 20.
"It's our next opportunity on the slate," Christ said. "I would assume it's going to be a pretty fun atmosphere here, which is awesome. The goal since year one was try to re-establish the tradition that is Westerville South football. It's taking a little bit longer in terms of winning, but we're certainly off to a very good start this year. We're really proud of our guys."
Michael Mansaray led South against UA, rushing for 128 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. Peter Pedrozo completed 12 of 20 passes for 189 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
For the season, Mansaray has rushed for 823 yards and 15 touchdowns on 85 carries.
"When (Mansaray) runs the ball, once he gets that momentum going, he is a hard guy to tackle," White said. "One thing that we really have to focus on is trying to get to him before he gets that head of steam going because we can't arm tackle him. He's going to be a great challenge. He's one of the best running backs that we've had to prepare for."
Pedrozo has completed 49 of 75 passes for 722 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.
"Reynoldsburg is athletic, but we have a lot of athletes on the field, too," Pedrozo said. "We're treating this week just like any other week, (we're) 0-0. It's not about who we play; it's about how we play. As long as we play our game, as long as we don't get penalties and play smart, we work on our technique, we'll be fine."