The Transylvania Times -

Why This Year's Brevard-Rosman Showdown Will Be Different

 

August 24, 2017



It’s rivalry week in Transylvania County with the annual pigskin showdown between the Brevard Blue Devils and the Rosman Tigers.

And while the love-hate relationship that the rivalry is built on remains the same, this year’s installment could bring local football fans something new: a competitive game.

As passionate as the fervor and hype surrounding the game, from a football standpoint, the play on the field has never matched up.

The two schools have met seven times dating back to 2005, with Brevard leading the head-to-head matchup 4-3.

Only one of those games have been remotely competive, the 2014 game that saw Rosman post 21 fourth quarter points on their way to a 28-14 victory.

In 2013, the Tigers won by just 13 points, 40-27, but Rosman outscored Brevard 40-13 after trailing by two touchdowns and dominated for large portions of the game.

Other than that, none of those seven games have been closer than 34 points and the average margin of victory has been 43 points.

From 2005 to 2007, the Blue Devils crushed the Tigers.

Under former head coach Freddie Whitman, Rosman won their first ever game against Brevard in 2013 and followed it up with two more consecutive wins, including a 42-7 schellacking at Memorial Stadium in 2015.

The tide turned again last season, with the Blue Devils returning the favor by spanking the Tigers, 41-7, in their backyard.

However, all things considered, this Friday’s game doesn’t seem like the type for either side to run away with and presents some interesting storylines for both teams.

For Brevard, the Blue Devils are coming off a 30-7 loss against Mountain Heritage in a game where the defense played far better than a 30-point allowance would indicate and the offense had some ill-timed mistakes and missed opportunities that limited them to single digits.

For Rosman, head coach Matt Stack’s new spread system worked fabulously against East Henderson to the tune of 28 points and nearly 500 yards of offense, but five turnovers – including a pick-six – as well as a couple of defensive breakdowns let the game slip away.

So the question becomes, which team will be able to make the necessary adjustments and play a more complete game on Friday night?

As good as Brevard’s defense was against the Cougars, they will face a different challenge through the air against Rosman.

Tiger quarterback Luke Stewart had more completions (17) in week one than Mountain Heritage had pass attempts (11).

The Blue Devil linebackers did their part in slowing down the run game, but the secondary will have more work to do if Rosman continues to pass the ball.

Led by quarterback Mitchell Johnson, Brevard’s offense had its first-half woes, but put together some nice drives in the second half.

On the flipside, Rosman’s offense has to stop shooting itself in the foot with turnovers.

It’s clear that the Tigers can put points on the board, but winning games is hard when you give the other team a handful of extra possessions.

East Henderson scored 21 of their 35 points off turnovers. Take those away and the Tigers are 1-0.

Much like Brevard, the Tiger defense played better than 35 points would indicate, although they gave up some big plays through the air that proved costly.

All that is to say that Friday’s game in Brevard could come down to a possession or two, and possibly could be determined by which teams makes fewer mistakes.

The Blue Devils will be looking to finish off drives and score more points.

The Tigers will be looking to cut down on turnovers and limit big plays.

Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses.

It may seem ridiculously obvious to say that whichever team plays better will probably win, but the truth is that neither side is so much better than the other that they can afford a litany of errors and still expect to come out on top.

This isn’t Tanner Ellenberger and the 2016 edition of the Blue Devil offense.

Nor is it the ground trifecta of Josh Rice, Tanner Green and Gage Orr from the Tigers’ 2015 season.

Both of those teams were good enough to not play their best – although they certainly did – and still beat their opponent.

Both of this year’s Brevard and Rosman teams are good, but neither is so good that they can win games playing C-grade football.

That’s what makes Friday night’s game so interesting.

It will more than likely come down to a few players stepping up at key moments to lead their team to victory.

If both sides show up and play their best, it will definitely be a game to remember.

Sure, both schools want to beat the other, but doing so when you’re simply superior isn’t as rewarding as facing off against an equal team and outplaying them.

Rivalries are at their best when the two sides are equally talented. Taking turns beating up on one another by 30-plus points doesn’t make a great rivalry.

Close contests, memorable plays and late game heroics are what makes great rivalries.

Hopefully, that’s what fans get Friday night.

 
 

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