High School Football Preview – Rocky River Ravens

Captains Brent Jones, James Maye, Zyone Easterling and Jaylon Sharpe. (Ed Berti)
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Rock River Ravens 

Team Strengths: Great senior leadership will be one of the Ravens strengths this season.  Senior quarterback Brent Jones, outstanding linebacker Jaylon Sharpe, speedsters James Maye, Zyone Easterling, Narique Smith and Gabriel Linen will lead the charge at “The Rock” this year.

Area of Improvement: Offensive line play will be the teams biggest opportunity to progress all season long.  The group is talented, however, the unit lacks game experience returning just one starter from last season Sophomore Korion Sharpe.

Offense: The Ravens offense lead by senior QB Brent Jones had a great off-season along with other offensive players.  Watch for speedsters James Maye and Zyone Easterling.  According to Head Coach Orlando Gray, “we will look drastically different this season.”

Defense:  Clearly the strength of the Ravens football team.  They have six returning starters and could even be better than last years solid defensive unit.  The Ravens arguably have the best linebacker in the state in Jaylon Sharpe, and potentially the best secondary in the SW4A Conference lead by senior Narique Smith.

Special Teams: Special teams are a top priority for us, said Coach Gray.  This year the Ravens will start a freshman kicker Alex Elzey.  The coaching staff believe he will be a player to watch, and is expected to develop into a top notch kicker over the next few years.

Other Key Players to Watch:  Senior (CB), Narique Smith, (WR), Lydell White, (DE), Kaishon Royster, (DE), Khalil Alexander, (RB/LB),Brian Grier, and (OL/DL), Korion Sharpe.

New Comers to Watch: Senior (TE) Shermar Hayes, (RB), Kalib Jennings, (WR), Kacee Sinclair.

The Ravens are not a very big team, however, they have outstanding speed, they are a swarming tackling team defensively, the offense is improved over last year’s unit, and the coaches plan on using a fast tempo to get better results.  Also, in this writer’s opinion, the Ravens must learn to finish games, they will be a factor in the SW4A Conference and may surprise a lot of their opponents.  Anything less than a winning season would be considered a huge disappointment.  As Coach Gray stresses teamwork, discipline, mental, physical strength and the power of faith to his players, he lives by the motto “No Days Off, Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win.”  This team has developed the same positive mental can do attitude which should generate good results in 2018.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.