(Statistical Information Courtesy of Professor Briggs' archives)
REYNOLDS RAIDERS 2020 FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
Head Coach: Josh Mull, 8th year (32-41)
Last Year: 7-4 overall, advanced to District 10 semifinals
Following consecutive trips to the District 10 Class 1A semifinals, the Reynolds Raiders enter 2020 with plenty of experience and firepower as they look to continue the program's ascent. Reynolds returns eight starters on both sides of the ball from last year's seven-win team.
"It's very exciting. We return a lot of guys," head coach Josh Mull said. "This is the most experienced team I've had as head coach."
A seven-man senior class will lead Reynolds this fall. All seven seniors are expected to play prominent roles.
"This senior class has a great deal of leadership," Mull said. "It's a really unique group. All of these seniors are taking the young kids under their wing. It's like having seven other coaches out there on the field."
Two of the seven seniors will hold down the tackle positions on the offensive line as Rocco John-Daniello and Luke Faber both return. John-Daniello (6-2, 290) started at tackle last season. Faber (6-3, 260) earned First Team All-Region at guard but will move out to tackle this season. "They're both big, physical kids who are very athletic," Mull said of the bookends.
Juniors Mitchell Mason and Marlin Jones rotated at guard last year as sophomores. Both will start this season at the two guard positions. Freshman Kolton Wilkinson and sophomore Nate Leksell are battling for the starting center position.
"(The center) is surrounded by a ton of experience and that can definitely help them out and make sure they're on the right page," Mull said.
There is no lack of experience at running back for Reynolds as senior halfback Cole Toy and senior fullback Aidan Mull both return. Toy ran for 1,215 yards and 15 touchdowns last season while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. He also caught 12 passes. "He's really been a great leader for us," Josh Mull said. "I know that Cole's name is always one that you want to talk about when you talk about Raider football, especially this year."
Aidan Mull, meanwhile, ran for three touchdowns while primarily serving as a lead blocker. A converted tight end, he had 13 catches for 200 yards.
Senior Dreyvin Livingston, sophomore Jalen Wagner and sophomore Haydin McLaughlin are also battling for time in the backfield.
"We're not very deep, but we feel that we have substantial skill," Josh Mull said of his running back group.
Quarterback Bryce McCloskey graduated from last year's squad. But the quarterback position will stay in the family as his younger brother, sophomore Brayden McCloskey, takes over behind center.
"He's really learned the game of football," Josh Mull said of the Raiders' new starting quarterback. "For somebody who is a sophomore to understand some of the concepts that we're asking him to understand is amazing."
McCloskey will benefit from returning starters at both wide receiver and tight end. Senior Luca Tofani earned Second Team All-Region last year at wide receiver while sophomore tight end Nate Miller is a returning First Team All-Region selection. Senior Quinton Earley and junior Clayton Rhoades will join Tofani on the outside.
Reynolds will again employ a 4-3 defense this fall. First Team All-Region honoree Faber returns at defensive end, along with Mason. John-Daniello and junior letterman Gavin Aley are projected to start at tackle. John-Daniello earned Second Team All-Region in 2019.
All-Region honoree Toy returns at weakside linebacker while Miller moves from the strong side to middle linebacker. Aidan Mull will man strongside linebacker.
Rhoades and All-Region pick Tofani return as the starting cornerbacks. Livingston is back at safety. McLaughlin and Earley are the front-runners to join Livingston at safety.
John-Daniello earned All-Region Second Team status at punter. Livingston will handle the place-kicking duties.
Reynolds will play Kennedy Catholic, Mercer and West Middlesex in region play this season.
"You always look at football as one of those sports that you get one shot at a team," Coach Mull said. "In basketball, you always have that second time around. That's going to be an interesting factor. It will be interesting to see what changes coaches make from the first game to the second."