The Transylvania Times -

Tigers Enter Conference Play On The Road At Andrews


September 21, 2017

After a huge victory over Trinity Academy last Friday, the Rosman Tigers will look to keep that momentum going as they travel across the mountains to open Smoky Mountain Conference play against the Andrews Wildcats.

Much like the Knights, the Wildcats (1-4) are very similar on paper to the Tigers entering Friday’s matchup.

Last season, Andrews handed Rosman a bitter defeat at home, winning 7-0 on Homecoming in a game that saw 85 combined running plays and just two pass completions all night.

Rosman head coach Matt Stack, fresh off his first win with the Tigers, said he expects the game to be decided in the trenches once again.

“It’s going to be a physical football game, and I hear that’s what it’s going to be every night in the Smoky Mountain Conference,” Stack said. “We have to tackle well and whoever wants it in the trenches the most is probably going to come out winning.”

Andrews would certainly prefer a game in the trenches, as they’re averaging nearly 2:1 rushing yards to passing yards per game.

The Wildcats have three players with more than 100 rushing yards on the year, led by senior Andrew Horton with 235 yards.

That being said, Stack knows the emphasis on stopping the run game will be at a premium Friday night.

“We’re going to have to stop the runs up the middle and we’re going to stop the veer. If we can stop those plays, we’ll put them in some tough situations and force them to do some things outside of their realm. That’s really the key and if we can do that, then I feel good about our chances,” Stack said.

Offensively, Rosman is coming off its biggest game of the year against Trinity.

Last Friday, the Tigers piled up nearly 500 total yards – including a season-high 330 passing yards – and 164 yards on the ground.

Stack said a big part of the offensive success was simply having a full arsenal of players at his disposal that allowed for more creativity.

“Having our guys fully healthy so that we could run the plays we wanted to was nice. We had been handcuffed the past few weeks and it was nice to open up the playbook a bit. I loved watching Marcus (Stamey) run the ball like he did and that should give us a one-two punch with Thomas Collins coming back this week,” Stack said.

Stamey finished with 135 rushing yards and one touchdown against the Knights, averaging just shy of seven yards per carry.

Having him as a complement to Collins – who has 395 yards rushing in four games – will be a handful for opposing defenses.

The ground game will also open up the passing attack, which quarterback Luke Stewart ran to near perfection last week, completing 22-of-28 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns.

Having Samuel Chappell at 100 percent and introducing Hooper Thomas into the lineup bolstered the Tigers’ passing game, which should remain strong for the rest of the season if the players can stay healthy.

Rosman has faced solid competition so far this year, but the SMC is an entirely different beast.

Three teams – Cherokee, Murphy and Robbinsville – are currently ranked in the top 20 1A teams in the state.

Picking up a road win against a conference rival would give Rosman a huge momentum boost for the conference stretch.

“Our season really begins Friday night,” Stack said. “We’ve had some good football games so far to get ready, but they haven’t been conference games. It’s huge for us to get off on the right foot, but every game is important and right now our goal is to go 1-0 this week,” Stack said.


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