The Transylvania Times -

Rosman Travels To Elkin Looking For First-Round Upset - Rosman NC


November 15, 2018

With a road victory over Hayesville in their regular season finale, the Rosman Tigers did everything they could to get a favorable first-round playoff matchup.

That win paid off, as the Tigers (3-8) earned a No. 12 seed and will travel to face the No. 5 seed Elkin Elks (6-5) on Friday night.

Elkin finished the year sixth in the 1A/2A Mountain Valley Conference – fourth among 1A teams.

In evaluating his team’s prospective first-round opponents and seeing the final brackets, Tiger head coach Matt Stack said he was pleased with Rosman’s draw.

“I think things ended up in our favor. I like our seed. I like going up to Elkin in the first round with the opportunity to possibly get some revenge on Robbinsville in the second round,” Stack said.

Looking at the Elks, they are one of the lower-scoring teams to advance to the postseason.

Elkin averages just 15 points per game and only scored 21 or more points in three games.

However, the Elks do pack a defense, allowing nearly 20 fewer points per game than the Tigers.

Stack said Elkin runs a similar style to most teams Rosman plays in the Smoky Mountain Conference, which means the Tiger defense can expect a hard-nosed game.

“They’re a physical team up front,” Stack said. “They’re big and they’re going to run the football. Playing in the SMC, we see that kind of football every Friday. So, that plays to our advantage.”

While Stack said Rosman will be familiar with Elkin’s game plan, he feels the Tiger offense can present some wrinkles that the Elks aren’t used to seeing.

“They don’t really see a lot of spread teams like us that throw the ball around and play at a high tempo. Our pass game will have a big impact Friday night and I think we can wear their defense out,” he said.

Rosman put together their biggest offensive game of the year in the win over the Yellowjackets, finishing with season highs in total yards (492) and rushing yards (318).

The passing game has been instrumental in the Tigers’ three victories, as senior quarterback Luke Stewart has 605 yards and five TDs in those wins.

Hooper Thomas, Stewart’s main target, eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in the win over Hayesville and has three straight 100-yard receiving games going into Friday night.

Ideally, Stack said he wants to get out in front early, establish a quick pace and make the Elks play catch-up.

“I want to try to get the ball and jump on them early. Their offense isn’t set up to score a lot of points and come from behind. I want to play an attacking style of defense to try and force some turnovers, try to jump out to a lead and get them out of their game plan. We’re at our best when we attack and I look to do that the rest of these playoffs,” he said.

As first-round matchups and brackets go, college basketball fans typically look at 12-versus-5 games as potential upsets.

Last year, 12 seeds won 4-of-16 first-round games.

All season long, Stack preached to his team that anything could happen if they made the playoffs.

Now that they’re there, he isn’t backing off his expectations and doesn’t see his team as underdogs going into Friday night.

“A lot of people will look at it as an upset if we win, but I will be extremely upset if we don’t win. We like where we are. Every game this year, except for one or two, we’ve had chances to win. So, I’m expecting to execute well, follow our game plan and I’m expecting to come home from Elkin with a ‘W,’” Stack said.


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