Team name: Shaw Raiders
2012 record: 6-5, 4-3 Region 5-AAAA
How finished in region: Fourth
Playoff result: Lost 21-14 to Monroe Area in first round
Key losses: QB Chandler Whittlesey, WR Steven Jeffery, RB/DB Johntez Webb, WR/DB Lavante Williams, TE Joe Purter, OL/DL Bernard Granville, DL Carter Huecker, LB De’Anthone Morse, LB Chris Golden, DB Carlton Little
Key returnees: LB Tayshune Davis, LB Jacorey Butler, OL/DL De’Andre Howard
My take: On one hand, the list of key players Shaw is losing is full of talent. Most notably, the Raiders will miss last year’s All-Bi-City offensive player of the year, Whittlesey.
On the other, there are a lot of good players coming back, particularly on the defense, and coach Kyle Adkins has seen a lot of promise out of them so far this spring.
The defense is understandably ahead of the offense at this point. Players like Howard, Davis and Butler will make huge impacts for the Raiders in practice and when games begin in the fall. Adkins said Howard had been virtually unblockable so far this spring.
While there will be bigger defenses than Shaw’s, Adkins said he’d be hard pressed to find another one as fast as the one he’s got.
That was a benefit last year, as well. Shaw rode a strong front seven and the arm and legs of Whittlesey to its first playoff appearance since 2008.
The biggest challenge so far has been replacing Whittlesey, who had grown into a strong player and leader.
“We’ve got some good playmakers on offense and a good offensive line, it’s just always a struggle replacing your trigger,” Adkins said.
All total, Whittlesey accounted for about 3,100 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Raiders. Still, Adkins likes what he has on both sides of the ball, noting that he may have up to seven sophomores starting in the fall.
It’s an exciting and intriguing time for the Raiders as they try to rebuild into the state contender they once were.
Like anything, it takes time, but they certainly seem to be heading in the right direction.
Follow along every day for a look at football teams around the Bi-City area. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.
April 29: Brookstone
April 30: Calvary Christian
May 1: Carver
May 2: Central
May 3: Chattahoochee County
May 4: Columbus
May 5: Harris County
May 6: Glenwood
May 7: Hardaway
May 8: Jordan
May 9: Kendrick
May 10: Northside
May 11: Pacelli
May 12: Shaw
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