The Transylvania Times -

Tigers Get Resounding Win In Shutout Over Knights - Rosman, NC


September 18, 2017

Jeremiah Reed

Rosman running back Marcus Stamey delivers a fierce stiff-arm to a Trinity defender as he carries the ball during the first half of Friday night's game. Stamey finished with 125 yards on the ground and one touchdown as the Tigers rolled 49-0.

Passion for the process.

Those words have been the foundation of Matt Stack's philosophy ever since he took over as head coach of the Rosman Tiger football team back in the spring.

While the passion part of that equation was never in doubt, it was the process and the associated growing pains that made for some tough early-season losses in 2017.

However, Friday night against Trinity Academy the stars finally aligned just right for the Tigers who put on a nearly flawless performance over 48 minutes to shutout the Knights 49-0 and earn Stack his first win as head coach.

"This is a big moment for this community," said Stack, still wet from the ceremonial Gatorade bath in the game's closing seconds. "They've been through a big culture change that I've tried to install over the summer. We've made a lot of demands of the kids that they're not accustomed to. This is where that hard work pays off. I don't care who it was against, we played great football tonight."

Indeed, Rosman did play great football Friday night.

The Tigers only had two mishaps the entire game. It just so happened that one would be on their first play from scrimmage.

After receiving the kickoff and starting from their own 25, there was a bit of miscommunication and a fumbled snap by the Tigers that Trinity recovered at the 20-yard line.

The Rosman defense came on the field and stood tall, getting two tackles in the backfield that moved the Knights back eight yards.

Trinity eventually settled for a 42-yard field goal try, but the attempt never had a chance and Rosman regained possession.

From that point on, the offense ran like a well-oiled machine.

The Tigers got a quick first down run from Marcus Stamey before quarterback Luke Stewart picked up another first down after scrambling out of the pocket.

Stewart hit Deland Thomas with a pass on the home sideline and the senior delivered a ferocious stiff-arm as he carried the ball to the Knights' 39-yard line. Moments later, another carry from Stamey set Rosman up at the Trinity 8-yard line.

Thomas took a direct snap on the next play and did the work himself, plowing into the end zone for six points. Kicker Blake Sharpe tacked on the extra point as the Tigers took at 7-0 lead with 6:51 to play in the first quarter.

Trinity's offense faced another brutal assault on their next possession. On third down, Rosman blitzed and Trinity's quarterback threw the ball away as he was being sacked – resulting in a loss of yardage and down.

The Knights punted from their own end zone, setting up Rosman with great field position.

Stamey picked up a first down on the ground before the Tigers faced third-and-short from the Trinity 21. The Knights stuffed the conversion attempt, but Rosman kept the offense on the field.

A false start penalty made it fourth-and-six, but the Tiger punt team didn't budge.

Instead, Stewart dropped back and delivered a perfect fade pass to Samuel Chappell in the corner of the end zone and the junior hauled in the over-the-shoulder catch.

Sharpe's PAT extended the Tiger lead to 14-0.

After the Knights went three-and-out, Rosman started the next drive from its 40 as the game entered the second quarter.

They moved the ball just over midfield into Trinity territory before Stewart found Thomas down the sidelines for another long touchdown pass.

The PAT was blocked, but the Tigers held a 20-0 lead less than one minute into the second quarter.

Rosman's defense once again held the Knights at bay and forced a punt, but the offense stalled for the first time all night.

That set up the second Tiger miscue of the evening.

After dropping back for the punt attempt, the snap sailed way over Peyton McCall's head, but he managed to track it down before being swarmed at the Tiger 13-yard line.

But even a shortened field couldn't help the Knights, as they fumbled the handoff on their very first play and gave possession back to Rosman.

The Tiger offense got rolling again as Stewart hit Thomas with a couple of quick completions and Stamey had a nice run up the middle to get the ball to midfield.

Moments later, Stamey took another handoff and diced through the line, found some open space in the secondary and was off to the races for a 30-yard touchdown carry. The PAT made it 27-0 Rosman.

Trinity's offense finally got going on their last drive of the first half as they moved the ball inside the Tiger red zone with under two minutes to go before halftime.

However, Trinity quarterback Titus Brooks tried to force a pass into solid coverage and Chappell made him pay, intercepting the ball just inside the end zone and giving the Tigers a touchback.

Stewart proceeded to rally the offense and executed the two-minute drill to perfection, capping it off by sneaking the ball in himself from half-a-yard out to make it 34-0 Rosman at halftime.

The second half was more of the same, as Trinity went three-and-out on their opening drive before the Tigers marched 50 yards before Stewart scored on another quarterback sneak.

That increased the Tiger lead to 42-0 and initiated a running clock for the rest of the game.

Chappell scored the game's final points on a quick screen pass that he took 70 yards in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, and the Tigers exalted in their 49-0 win.

Stewart was huge in the Tigers' win, going 21-of-27 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 46 yards and scored twice on the ground.

Stamey was Rosman's leading rusher, with 125 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.

Deland Thomas and Samuel Chappell both finished over 100 yards receiving on the night.

For a team desperate for a win, Friday's was about as good as it could get for the Tigers.

The offense clicked all night long and the defense played lights out – from a powerful surge from the line to the swarming play of the linebackers and secondary.

"The kids played very sound, fundamental defense and that's what we've been working toward all year and we finally put it together tonight," Stack said.

A big storyline going into Friday's game was the return of several starters who had either missed time due to injury or were saddled with nagging injuries and nearing recovery.

Several of those players, including, Chappell, Stamey, Sharpe and Hooper Thomas, had big games for the Tigers.

Kayne Smith also led the defensive effort with nine tackles, including five for a loss.

Stack said he was particularly impressed with Stamey for stepping up and handling most of the carries, as regular starter Thomas Collins was unavailable against the Knights.

Jeremiah Reed

Luke Stewart scrambles out of the pocket looking for an open receiver.

"Losing Thomas after practice on Wednesday and having Marcus step up like he did was incredible," Stack said. "He had to learn a whole new position during the Thursday walkthrough and he came out and had an unbelievable performance."

The victory was certainly a reason to celebrate, but this Friday the Tigers dive into the conference portion of their schedule with a long ride to Andrews (1-4).

Even as the celebration swirled around him, Stack held up a sheet of notes taken during the game that he said were areas the team has to improve in order to beat the Wildcats.

"We've got to play better," Stack said. "I've got a laundry list of things we have to improve on. Every coach has that no matter what the score is. Next week is the most important game now and we have to be ready for it."


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