The Transylvania Times -

Fresh Off Bye Week, Rosman Faces Murphy On The Road

 

October 26, 2017



It’s always nice to have a bye week before a big game and they don’t come any bigger than the Rosman Tigers’ opponent this Friday night.

With two games left in the regular season, the Tigers (2-7) hit the road to take on Murphy (7-2).

Given the extra week of preparation, Rosman Head Coach Matt Stack said the bye gave some of his players the chance to heal up a bit and also get back to the basics.

“Anytime you get an off week, you focus on yourself. We talked about our game plan for Murphy, but more than that we talked about playing Rosman football. We need to play better on offense and defense, especially with some guys in positions where they haven’t played all year,” he said.

The Bulldogs are the defending 1A state champions, but sit in third place in the Smoky Mountain Conference after they were upset on the road last week against Swain County.

That fresh loss is likely to fuel to what was already a solid Murphy squad going into Friday’s game and will make the task ever harder for the Tigers.

“Murphy is very physical. They’re talented and they’re coached very well, but I see things we can take advantage of. Offensively, if we block at the first level, I think we can hurt them. And defensively, if we can get guys to the football and make open field tackles I expect to come away with a victory,” Stack said.

In reviewing the game film from Murphy’s loss to Swain, Stack said the Maroon Devils didn’t do anything extraordinary, but rather they stuck to their game plan and executed.

The big takeaway, he said, was that it shows no team is invincible in a tough conference like the SMC.

“Swain is who they are. They’re going to run the veer and they were able to do that well. It was a game where the ball fell their way that night. It really shows that any team can be beaten on any given night,” he said.

In terms of personnel, Murphy is led by senior quarterback Joey Curry, who has more than 1,350 yards passing this year to go along with 19 touchdowns through the air.

The Bulldogs also have a stable of four running backs all with more than 400 yards on the ground, meaning they can attack opposing defenses with fresh legs.

The offense is run-first, but the passing game breaks off big chunks of yards, as Curry is averaging 16.5 yards per completion.

Beating Murphy is a difficult challenge any year, but Rosman’s injury list makes it even more difficult this Friday.

Stack said the Tigers will be without Blake Sharpe – both in the kicking game and along the line – as well as Samuel Chappell, who is undergoing surgery following a broken collarbone.

Jonathan Holliday, the team’s second-leading tackler will also be a game-time decision with a hand injury.

However, Stack isn’t letting injuries put a damper on his larger vision of having Rosman return to the playoffs.

It won’t be the easiest path, but he’s confident if his team can play their best over the next two weeks they can get into the postseason and, from there, hopefully make some noise.

“If you can get into the playoffs, it’s a whole new season. If we win both our last two games I’m pretty confident that we’ll get in and if we win one of our last two games I think we still have a shot. Once you’re in the postseason, game plans take a little longer, the kids practice a little harder. If we can find a way to get in we can chase that ring,” Stack said.

 
 

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