To Shaker Heights Red Raiders head coach Jarvis Gibson, just one thing separates his team from St. Ignatius, Solon and other top football programs — and it's not talent.
"Discipline," he said. "Nothing else.
"We have the talent and we have the skill. It's Discipline. One word."
The team went 2-8 last year in the Lake Erie League, but Gibson said that record was a bit deceiving. Shaker held either a tie or fourth-quarter lead in half of its eight losses in 2011.
"In years past, they were down by 20 points at halftime," the second-year Shaker coach said. "We lost, on average, by six points this past year … Being undisciplined reared its ugly head, where a kid jumps off sides.
"That should never happen. Our motto this year is we have to finish the job."
now belongs to the Northeast Ohio Conference's Lake Division. The Red Raiders will now take on the likes of Brush, Parma and Garfield Heights.
"We haven't faced any of these teams before, we haven't seen any of them on film," Gibson said. "We're going to have to take it on a week-to-week basis because we don't know anything about these guys."
Normally, the team would have a complete file on its opponents based on games from previous seasons. Now, the coaching staff will rely on its scouting and film as the season carries on.
Still, Gibson is optimistic about the team's opportunity to make some noise in 2012. Four of five starting offensive linemen return from last season, including Donovan Munger. The 6-foot-4, 290 pound tackle has received offers from colleges across the country, including Ohio State.
Senior Jimmie Pope will take the reigns as starting quarterback. Gibson said he went undefeated last year as a junior varsity quarterback. He'll look to get the ball to 6-foot junior receivers Odell Spencer and Nolan Jackson-Daniel.
Gibson said Joe Henderson, Greg Claytor and Solon-transfer Jalen Stackhouse are among his impact players on defense. Henderson, a junior defensive end and outside linebacker, has received an offer from Cincinnati.
"Honestly, we're loaded," Gibson said.
"We're ready to go. Now, it's just a matter of, 'let's get it done.'"
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