HEAD COACH: Mark Geis, first year, 0-0 (28-35 in six years at Rootstown)

LAST YEAR: 2-8 overall, 1-5 Suburban League American Division

POSTSEASON: Last playoff game was 2013 in Division II Region 5

RETURNING LETTERMEN: (18)

Cade McDougal WR-DB 6-0 175 Soph.

Michael Friedman WR-DB 6-0 164 Sr.

Henry Shepard RB-LB 5-8 221 Sr.

Luke Larkin QB-DB 6-1 170 Jr.

CJ Anderson QB-LB 6-1 180 Jr.

Gabe Rossi WR-DB 5-9 150 Jr.

Darrin Parks WR-DB 5-11 150 Sr.

Josh Montanari P-K 6-0 150 Sr.

Tyrell Fields RB-DB 5-8 170 Jr.

Tyler Heritage WR-DB 5-11 150 Jr.

Trevor Woodward OL-DL 6-2 265 Jr.

Gabe Thornton OL-DL 5-9 215 Jr.

Chris Gavriloff OL-DL 6-2 212 Sr.

Nick Rothaermel OL-DL 6-2 215 Jr

Bill Wolford OL-DL 6-2 261 Sr.

Brandon Wagner OL-DL 5-10 260 Sr.

Joe Gavriloff OL-DL 6-2 242 Jr.

Daniel Smolk OL-DL 6-1 240 Jr.

IMPACT PLAYERS: Junior quarterback CJ Anderson returns as the starting signal-caller. He has been the Rough Riders' starter since late in his freshman season. Last season the 6-foot-1 Anderson threw for 1,590 yards with 8 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions, completing 51 percent of his throws (125-of-244). His best game came in the team's Week 7 27-20 victory over Revere. Anderson threw for a career-high 280 yards with three TD tosses and also rushed for another 47 on the ground to give him 347 total yards. ... Senior Henry Shepard is the team's top returning rusher and also will be one of the new-look defense's top performers at inside linebacker in the 4-3 scheme. Geis believes he can be one of the better players in the area. ... Another player to keep an eye on is senior wide receiver Michael Friedman, whom Geis refers to as "probably our most electric kid, can go and get the ball with the best of them."... Junior Nick Rothaermel (right guard) will be starting on the offensive line for the third straight season. He along with senior Bill Wolford (left tackle) will anchor an offense line which will have to adjust from zone blocking to gap blocking in the team's new offense.

WHAT'S NEW: A lot. Starting with new head coach Mark Geis, who takes over the program after a six-year stint at Rootstown where he took the Rovers to the regional finals of the Division VI playoffs in 2017, compiling a school-record 12-1 mark. ... Geis will implement a spread Wing-T attack which replace the school's traditional spread approach. ...The defense will have a different look as well, transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3 set-up. ... Also new is the fact that Roosevelt will not be playing down-the-road rival Stow. Replacing the Bulldogs in the Week 2 slot will be Marlington.

OUTLOOK: Geis will try to replicate his success at Rootstown and work toward making the Rough Riders postseason contenders again. Roosevelt last made the playoffs in 2013, marking its sixth appearance in an eight-year stretch from 2006-2013. However, the team's missed the postseason the last four seasons and it may take some time before they are there again, especially because they play in the very difficult American Division of the Suburban League, which saw four of its members -- Barberton, Aurora, Highland and Tallmadge -- all reach the playoffs in 2017. But it can be done. In Geis' second season at Rootstown, the Rovers endured an 0-10 campaign but four years later were making a historical playoff run for the program. The schedule this season is very formidable with seven teams on the ledger having winning records a year ago and a six-week stretch that will see the Rough Riders play five playoff teams from last fall.

Eric Clutter