Top 20 Gridiron Squads to Watch - No. 16 Shaker Heights

Top 20 Gridiron Squads to Watch - No. 16 Shaker Heights

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Top 20 Gridiron Squads to Watch - No. 16 Shaker Heights

Raiders seeking first playoff win since '99

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Raiders seeking first playoff win since '99

Shaker Heights High School athletic logo

Shaker Heights High School athletic logo

This year’s Shaker Heights High School football team will have a decidedly different look from the squad that posted a 6-5 overall record last season and secured the program’s first playoff berth since 2005.

Gone are the seven 2013 graduates who accepted Division I scholarships as are the six student-athletes who will be playing college football at a lower level this fall.

Don’t count the Raiders out this season, though. Fourth-year head coach Jarvis Gibson and his staff have followed the initial blueprint they created upon being hired and have achieved the goals they set for each of the past three seasons. That plan included the Raiders qualifying for the playoffs in 2013.

Knowing the team’s youth, the coaching staff’s goals for this fall are less results-oriented, but the team’s leaders expect to see continuous improvement.

“We’re a young, untested team,” Gibson said. “We need to become battle-tested, and once we are, we should be OK.”

Starting quarterback Adin Leibovich is back for his senior campaign. Expect returning junior letterwinner Marcus Carthon to be his top receiving target.

Senior Casimier Mitchell, who is expected to be Shaker Heights’ featured tailback, is new to the squad this fall, but should be familiar to most Northeast Ohio prep gridiron fans. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound running back tallied 1,197 rushing yards and scored eight touchdowns on the ground as a member of the Lakewood Rangers in 2013.

“He means a lot to our team because he’s going to play both ways for us,” Gibson said of the transfer, who will play linebacker on defense. “He’s already a leader for us.”

Gibson also singled out senior two-way lineman Cameron Wells as a team leader.

“He hasn’t played in three years, but he’s one of our leaders on and off the field,” Gibson said. “He’s going to anchor our offensive and defensive lines.”

Gibson believes the team’s athleticism and the physical play of its linemen are the squad’s greatest strengths heading into Week 1.

The Raiders, who last won a postseason game in 1999, will open the 2014 campaign at home against University School on Aug. 30.

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