Reynolds High School football preview

High School Football Previews
Reynolds Raiders, High School Football

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GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Last season was a magical year for Reynolds football. The Raiders garnered their first district title in 15 years by topping Eisenhower (27-0). Reynolds advanced all the way to the Western Final, where they fell to Jeannette (48-12).

“We, at Reynolds, feel that we have developed a standard of success over the past several years and will work hard to continue that success,” Coach Josh Mull said. “Our young athletes understand that this year’s success is dependent upon the effort and preparation that is put forth this year. Last year’s over and we must focus on getting better every day. I will never hold a ‘class’ of players to an expectation of wins and losses. They will be expected to work hard, hold each other accountable and give relentless effort.”

This season kicks off at Wilmington Friday, August 27.

2020 Record: 9-1 (6-0), 1st place in Region 1 (Class A)
Coach: Josh Mull, 9th season (41-42)
2020 Big 22: Cole Toy

Previewing Reynolds’ Offense
Scoring Offense: 34.8 (8th in area)
Total Offense: 333.6
Returning Starters: 4
Key Returnees: Nate Leksell, JR/OL; Mitchell Mason, SR/OL; Brayden McCloskey, JR/QB; Nate Miller, JR/TE; Jalen Wagner, JR/RB; Kolton Wilkinson, SO/OL
Key Losses: Luke Faber, OL; Rocco John-Daniello, OL; Dreyvin Livingston, RB; Aidan Mull, WR; Cole Toy, RB
Name to watch for: Jalen Wagner, RB

Reynolds will miss standout running back Cole Toy, who ran for over 1,200 yards in each of the last two years. As a senior, he gained 1,333 yards rushing as he was able to cross the goal line 24 times on the ground.

QB Brayden McCloskey earned 2nd-team All-Region honors after completing 43.3% of his passes and throwing for 358 yards as a sophomore. He also scored three times via the ground and gained 157 stripes.

“Brayden is truly a student of the game,” Mull said. “He’s been helping break down film and reading coverage for the upcoming season since wrestling ended. We’re excited to allow him to develop as a passer and signal caller.”

Junior Jalen Wagner put together an average of 7.6 yards per carry (60 attempts, 458 yards) last year.

“Jalen will most likely become the target of our opponents,” Mull said. “He won’t be a surprise to teams. Jalen has an opportunity to develop all aspects of being a running back in our offense.”

Look for Haydin McLaughlin, Clayton Rhoades and Travis Blackburn to all have opportunities to contribute in the Raiders’ backfield as well.

The Raiders return a trio of starting linemen in Mitchell Mason and centers Nate Leksell and Kolton Wilkinson.

“We feel that the experience of those four could be pivotal to our success,” Mull said. “We anticipate moving Nate and/or Kolton to guard or tackle, and leave the center spot open for someone to win in a camp battle. We have even considered moving Nate Miller, who was named to the First-Team All-Region team as a tight end each of the past two seasons, to an interior line position. I feel that our kids will be willing to do what is best for the team.”

Gavin Aley, Alex Winklevos and Travis Blackburn could play key roles along the offensive front, too.

Previewing Reynolds’ Defense
Scoring Defense: 12.9 (3rd in area)
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returnees: Mitchell Mason, SR/DE; Haydin McLaughlin, JR/DB; Nate Miller, JR/LB; Clayton Rhoades, SR/DB; Jalen Wagner, JR/LB
Key Losses: Luke Faber, DE; Rocco John-Daniello, DT; Dreyvin Livingston, DB; Aidan Mull, LB; Cole Toy, LB
Name to watch for: Mitchell Mason, DE

The Raiders had six All-Region First-Team selections, five of whom graduated. The lone returning is junior linebacker Nate Miller.

Cole Toy leaves a big void from his linebacker spot after leading Reynolds in tackles in each of the past three years (278 tackles during that span).

Senior defensive lineman Mitchell Mason returns up front to give the Raiders an established rush end. Mason accumulated 28 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks as a sophomore. In 2020, he increased both numbers to 40 tackles and 6 quarterback takedowns.

“Mitchell has really taken a liking to the weight room,” Mull said. “He has become a big physical ball player. He knows that he’ll be a key to our success and will be a force on both sides of the ball. We expect him to become a leader of the offense and defensive lines, and push young, developing players as those who came before him.”

2020 Class A Region 1 Standings
Reynolds – 6-0 (9-1)
West Middlesex – 4-2 (4-3)
Mercer – 2-4 (3-5)
Kennedy Catholic – 0-6 (0-7)

Aug. 27 – at Wilmington
Sept. 3 – Kennedy Catholic
Sept. 10 – at Mercer
Sept. 17 – at Farrell
Sept. 24 – West Middlesex
Oct. 1 – at Saegertown
Oct. 8 – Greenville
Oct. 15 – at Lakeview
Oct. 22 – Sharpsville
Oct. 29 – at Cambridge Springs

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