By Scotty Ruff
Sports Writer 

Tigers Strike Davidson To Open Playoffs – Rosman NC


Rosman's Gage Orr (#7) looks to his right while picking up a key block from David Burrell (#58). Orr rushed for 150 yards Friday night. (Times photos by Scotty Ruff)

The Rosman Tigers had something to prove Friday night as they traveled to Huntersville in the NCHSAA playoffs. Despite having a better conference record, the Tigers hit the road to play the Community School of Davison (5-7), a school without a home field.

The game was played at nearby Hopewell High School. The Tigers were not pleased and emotions ran high as the game was delayed because the school could not find someone to run the chains.

The Tigers' offensive coordinator coach Patrick "Packie" Chapman reverted back to his childhood as his Tigers offensive unit played "keep away" in a 26-20 first round win over the Community School of Davison (CSD).

The Spartans wasted little time getting on the board as Joey Bernardini scored on the third play from scrimmage on a 39-yard quick pitch. CSD missed the extra point but took an early 6-0 lead.

The Tigers used one of their signature drives of 66-yards on 14 plays to answer the bell. Neil Tesnow got the call from 3 yards out for the Tiger score. Manuel Suarez missed the extra point, but the Tigers knotted the score at 6-6 as the first quarter came to a close.

Bernardini tested the Tigers' defense as CSD used the quick pitch to get across midfield. On the seven plays Bernardini found some open space with a 30-yard score. Monquez Moore rushed in to convert the two-point play and take a 14-6 lead to start the second quarter.

The Tigers kept the ball for the rest of the second quarter, and disaster struck the Spartans just before the break.

The Tigers drove the field 4 yards at a time with Gage Orr, Josh Rice, and Keen Jones carrying the workload. The drive consisted of 80-yards on 14 plays. Quarterback Rice hit paydirt on a 19-yard scamper off the left tackle for a Tiger score. The Tigers failed on the two-point play but cut the lead 14-12 with 4:24 left to play.

Gabe Hoffman ignited the frozen Tiger faithful as he recovered a Spartan fumble near midfield. Rice quickly ran the Tigers' two -minute drill, hitting Justin Fisher on several occasions.

The Tigers ran the ball down to the 5-yard line with 1:15 left to play. Rice ran up the middle, but a controversial call ruled he fumbled at the 1-yard line and CSD recovered the loose ball. The call left the Tigers trailing 14-12 going into intermission.

The Tiger offense took the second half kickoff and kept the ball until the 6:44 mark of the fourth quarter.

The opening drive was a long (67 yards on 10 plays) grind, ending in a trick play for the Tigers. The Tigers ran a half-back pass as Rice pitched the ball to Orr who aired the ball out 19 yards to Tesnow, who made a leaping touchdown catch at the 7:25 mark.

The two-point play failed again, but the Tigers took an 18-14 lead.

A fired up Tiger defense forced a key CSD fumble. Aaron Newman drilled the Spartan ball carrier and David Burrell fell on the loose ball at the Tigers' 6-yard line.

The Tigers pulled out the drive of the year, charging down the field for 94 yards in seven plays.

Orr sealed the deal with a 20-yard blast into the end zone. Orr also converted the Tigers' two-point play as Rosman took a 26-14 lead with 6:44 left to play.

Moore went to the air for CSD, leading his team on a 55-yard 10-play drive. Moore hooked up with Nick Piselli for a 15-yard touchdown pass to cut the Tiger lead to 26-20 with 3:11 left.

CSD lined up for the onside kick as the Tigers put in their good hands team.

The kick rolled out of bounds and the Tigers took over at the Spartans' 45-yard line.

Jones and Orr carried the ball with two hands and Tesnow drew a late hit personal foul that would have made Hulk Hogan proud as he fell to the ground. The result sealed the deal, giving the Tigers first down and a playoff win, and moving them on to the second round.

After the game coach Freddie Whitman praised his Tiger family.

"These kids played their hearts out," Whitman said. "Our coaching staff coached a heck of a game. They care about these kids, and Packie did a heck of a job keeping the ball out of their hands. It makes me proud to be a Tiger."

The Tigers rushed 63 times for 312 yards while allowing 33 carries for 216 yards. The Tigers added 114 yards in the air and CSD only aired it out for 53 yards. The Tigers averaged 5 yards per carry, dominating time of possession 29:56 to 18:04.

Orr was the Tigers' leading rusher, racking up 150 yards on 32 carries with his longest a 20-yard touchdown. He also threw for a Tiger touchdown. Orr has now rushed for 1,399 yards on the season.

Rice added 123 yards on 20 carries. He was 3-for-3 in the air for 95 yards. Newman racked up his 66th tackle of the season.

The Tigers improve to 6-6 and will now travel to first seed and Smoky Mountain Conference foe Robbinsville Friday night in the second round of the NCHSAA play-offs.

Rosman quarterback Josh Rice (#10) outruns the Spartan defense while tailback Gage Orr looks to block.


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