By Scotty Ruff
Sports Writer 

Rosman Rally Falls Short Against Swain County – Rosman NC


Gage Orr rushes downfield during the Tiger's Friday night contest against Swain County. Orr finished with 178 yards rushing on 26 carries along with two touchdowns. Orr has more than 1,200 yards rushing so far this season.

It was a good news, bad news situation for the Rosman Tigers last week. On Thursday injured starting quarterback Josh Rice was released to play Friday night as the Tigers hosted Swain County on Senior Night. The bad news came as Rice left the game in the second quarter after a series of late hits and did not return to the dogfight as Rosman lost 28-21.

The Tiger defense was tested early as Swain drove down to the Tiger five-yard line. Jacob Hall, Andres Villagomez and Tyler Petit stood their ground, forcing a third-and-goal from the three-yard line. David Burrell and Ethan Shook then bottled up a Maroon Devil running back on fourth down and a huge Tiger stop.

Swain had some success at the end of the quarter with a 40-yard, eight-play drive. Keshaun Beaner rushed into the end zone from 17 yards out for the first score of the game. The kick gave Swain a 7-0 lead with 1:00 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers would waste little time answering the bell as Gage Orr blasted up the middle and was off to the races with a 65-yard touchdown run. Manny Suarez' kick tied the game up 7-7 with 11:43 in the second quarter.

Swain answered by putting together 62-yard, six-play drive of their own. Brodie Bowman rushed in from four yards out for another Maroon Devil score. Swain led 14-7 with 5:08 left in the quarter.

The next Tiger drive was bittersweet as Rice had several quarterback keepers, moving the ball across midfield. Rice ran for 20 yards but after the whistle blew a Swain defender dove on Rice, reinjuring Rice's collarbone. Rice would not return.

Orr then took over and on the next play the same defender once again laid a late hit on Orr, causing Orr to leave the game temporarily. The Tiger faithful erupted, chanting for an ejection that did happen.

Orr returned as the Tigers went to the Wildcat formation. Orr threw the ball into the end zone and Colton "Woody" Holbrook made an unbelievable catch between two defenders for a Tiger touchdown. Suarez' kick tied the score up 14-14 at the half.

Midway through the third quarter Swain would strike again with a 51-yard, six-play drive. Brody Sitton rushed in from 13 yards out, allowing Swain to jump back on top 21-14 with 8:24 left in the third quarter.

The Tiger offense had little success in the third quarter and several penalties kept the Tigers out of the end zone as the third quarter came to a close.

Swain mounted another long drive, going 69 yards in 12 plays to start the fourth quarter. Sitton scored from three yards out. With a successful point after, Swain led 28-14 with 11:54 left in the game.

The Tigers mounted an 81-yard, 12-play drive featuring Orr and Tanner Whitman. Orr would rush in from one yard out for a Tiger score. Suarez' kick cut the Swain lead to 28-21 with 6:20 left to play.

Suarez' onside kick bounced right into a Swain receiver's hands, leaving the Tiger defense the task of stopping the Maroon Devils; thanks to the stalwart play of Villagomez, they did.

The Tiger took over the ball, needing to go 68 yards in 3:18. Orr blasted around the left side for a gain down to the Maroon Devils' 38-yard line. The Tigers then suffered a penalty, leaving them with a third-and-long.

Jonathan Holliday finds himself surrounded by defenders on a kick return late in the first quarter. Holliday had 31 return yards in the games. (Times photos by Scotty Ruff)

Orr went to the air but the protection in the pocket collapsed as the ball intended for Whitman fell short. On fourth-and-nine Orr aired the ball to Whitman again, but an apparent pass interference was not called as the ball fell incomplete. With it fell the Tigers' hopes of winning.

After the game, frustrated head coach Freddie Whitman said, "We let one slip by tonight. We've got to learn to finish a ball game."

The Tigers rushed for 224 yards on 45 plays while allowing 254 yards on 34 rushes. The Tigers aired the ball out for 45 yards while Swain had only 34 yards.

Orr finished the night with 178 yards on 26 carries, pulling his season totals to 1,238 yards. Orr is averaging 8.7 yards per carry. He has also passed for 268 yards. Rice was the second leading rusher with 38 yards on 12 carries.

The Tigers fall to 6-3 on the year and 3-2 in the Smoky Mountain Conference. Rosman has next week off due to Tri-City Christian dropping their football program. The Tigers will travel to Murphy Friday, Nov. 6, for their final game of the regular season.


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