Losers of back-to-back tight games in OCC-Ohio Division play, the Reynoldsburg football team could use an emotional boost as it prepares to ramp up for what it hopes is another playoff run.
The Raiders would appear to be in luck from a schedule perspective considering their next opponent has lost 37 of its last 39 games, but they learned a lesson earlier this season about what can happen if they check out for a week.
After dominating its first three opponents, Reynoldsburg nearly got surprised by Central Crossing before pulling out a 17-15 victory Sept. 20.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, the Raiders take a record of 5-2 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio into their game against visiting Grove City.
The Dawgs snapped a 17-game losing streak with an 18-15 win Sept. 13 over Central Crossing but have lost their last four. They are 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the league.
"You've got to let this league play out," Raiders coach Buddy White said. "Crazy things happen in this league every year."
Reynoldsburg's recent string of misfortune could fall under that category.
On Oct. 4, the Raiders outgained Pickerington North 283-277 but were whistled for 75 yards in penalties and gave up a fourth-quarter interception that went for a touchdown during a 21-16 loss.
Then against previously winless Gahanna on Oct. 11, the Raiders built a 28-7 lead but gave up three consecutive touchdowns, including a 33-yard pass from Will Thomas to Brendan Raymond in the final minute.
On the two-point conversion try, Thomas connected with Travis Whittaker to give his team a 29-28 victory as the Lions improved to 1-6 overall and 1-1 in the league. Gahanna handed the Raiders their only regular-season loss last fall in a 10-7 decision.
Michael Whatley completed 14 of 31 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, MarcAnthony Gray rushed for 110 yards on 16 carries and James Dean had five receptions for 90 yards and two scores against Gahanna, but the Raiders' defense allowed 457 yards of offense by the Lions.
Against Grove City, the Raiders will face an offense that has been held below 100 yards passing in each of its seven games.
In Grove City's 38-13 loss to North on Oct. 11, Zach Nelson rushed 11 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
He has 265 yards and four touchdowns rushing on the season.