The Transylvania Times -

Young Tiger Team Prepares To Cut Its Teeth In 2019 – Rosman, NC

2019 Football Preview


August 22, 2019

For the second time in his career, Dan Essenberg has taken over the Rosman Tiger football program with an incredibly young group of players in his first season.

Between graduation and transfers, the Tigers have almost an entirely new roster from last season, with only 10 returning players on this year’s 26-man roster, including only a pair of rising returning seniors – Brennan Chapman and Thomas Collins.

They make up the five seniors that are part of the 2019 squad, but there isn’t a lot of collective experience within that group.

This reality is something Essenberg knows full well going into the season. Describing most of his players as “green” – or lacking in experience – he said the Tiger coaching staff had a long summer trying to get the players ready for the grind of varsity football.

“We’re very young, and very, very green. You might say we’re more green than young, because even our seniors, most of them haven’t played since they were freshman. So, we have to teach everything from the beginning,” Essenberg said. “The numbers have been pretty good. The kids are working hard and trying to get better. That’s what we need to do going into the season.”

It’s challenging enough to coach up a young team on the fundamentals on the individual level, let alone getting them in sync collectively, as a single unit on the field. Essenberg praised his players for doing their best to buy into the system, but acknowledged there is still work to be done.

“The biggest thing is that we’re trying to install some physicality that has been missing and they don’t know how. Most hitters aren’t born hitters; they have to be developed. We’re doing that and they’re getting better. We still play too high and we still don’t play wide open. A lot of that is indecision and hesitation,” he said.

Never one to parse words, Essenberg said he didn’t like what he saw from his team during its scrimmage against Rabun Gap last week, calling the performance, “awful.”

Essenberg felt part of the problem was inexperience and simply not knowing what to do in the moment.

There were, however, a few instances that caught his eye where players appeared lackadaisical; and those, he said, can’t happen.

“In the scrimmage, we played against a team that was very long and very fast and our secondary didn’t play very well. We were hesitant and out of position. I felt good leaving the field, but when I got home and looked at the film, I saw a lot of plays with no-efforts. You can’t live with that. You have to have that want-to. If you want to get it done, that takes an average player to a great player. And we have to create more of that,” he said.

With so few returning players, both the offense and defensive unit will look entirely different for the Tigers in 2019.

Chapman steps into the quarterback role, filling the void left by three-year starter Luke Stewart.

Joining him in the backfield is Collins, along with junior Derick Snyder and sophomore Samuel McCall.

Snyder is a returning player, but didn’t handle the ball much last season, carrying it just 12 times for 90 yards.

Collins, who put up a 1,000-yard rushing season as a sophomore, played only two games last year, missing most of the season with an injury.

Unfortunately, he goes into this season banged up as well, after suffering a head injury against Rabun Gap. Snyder got a fair amount during the scrimmage, but injuries kept him out most of the preseason, and Essenberg said he’s still working to get in playing shape.

That leaves McCall as the likely starter going into the season.

There is even less experience among the receiving corps, as the Tigers lost their top wideout, Hooper Thomas, to transfer.

Given Chapman’s shift to QB from receiver, the only players on the Tigers’ roster with catches last year are Collins and Grant Dodson, who both reeled in one grab each.

This year, the receiving corps will rotate around a pair of sophomores – Bradley McCall and Andrew Stamey – as well as juniors Tyler Stamey and Andrew Revis.

In the trenches, junior Grant Dodson is the only returning player with much experience.

Joining him on the offensive line will be an entirely new cast of sophomores and juniors, along with senior Gabe Shipman.

“Our offensive line isn’t huge,” Essenberg said. “At times in the scrimmage we came off the ball and were aggressive, other times we didn’t.”

Essenberg said he plans to operate out of the I-formation, implementing the option offense.

As for the defense, he plans to run a Multiple 40, with a 4-4 base set, which allows for lots of different variations.

Shipman and Dodson will be the anchors of the defensive line.

Other names along the line include sophomores Josh Norton, Cayden Slonecker, Wyatt Owen and Jose Fermine, along with juniors Nathan Mahoney, Michael Tuttle and Stephen Owen.

At linebacker, Essenberg said the unit is getting better day by day.

Dalton Graham has impressed the coaching staff during preseason work.

Bradley McCall will likely be filling one of the outside LB positions, with several players battling out over the remaining spot.

Chapman returns to the safety position, with the rest of the secondary being filled out by newcomers.

Overall, Essenberg said the biggest point on emphasis was physicality and stopping the run – two ingredients necessary for any team to succeed in the Smoky Mountain Conference.

The Tigers’ new kicker is Mason Bandhauer, who is a soccer player that’s a member of local travel teams.

Unlike most kickers, Bandheur will see a fair amount of time on the field during regular play, as he’s an option at wide receiver, as well as in the secondary.

The punting duties, Essenberger said, would go to either Chapman or Tyler Stamey.

Perhaps the biggest unfilled role that’s not listed on the roster is the team leader. Essenberg said because his team is so young and inexperienced, there wasn’t a natural leader emerging from the pack.

He acknowledged some players were looking to fill that role, adding that it was an important void to fill, regardless of who stepped up to the challenge.

“Most football teams, you have that leader that just steps up and takes the role. But because they’re so green, we’re developing that. There wasn’t that one guy that just stood out. Brennan has taken steps to be that vocal leader. That’s a role that we need, and I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if it’s a freshman. Somebody has to step up and say, ‘Follow me,’ and lead the way,” he said.

Essenberg added Shipman as another vocal leader on the team, whose passion could inspire others.

However, what the roster lacks in experience, the coaching staff more than makes up for.

Essenberg brought back some old faces to the sidelines, such as Mark Robinson and Dusty Robinson, along with Tyrea Allen, who previously coached receivers and secondary.

“We have a lot of experience on the coaching staff. So, if our kids just listen and play wide open like we want, they’ll get there,” he said.

In reviewing the schedule, the Tigers have five home games and six road contests.

They open the season against Enka before week two’s rivalry showdown at Brevard.

From there, they travel to Madison and Smoky Mountain before hosting Chase in their final non-conference game on Sept. 20.

They host Robbinsville in their SMC opener the following week before a road trip to Cherokee.

Homecoming is set for Oct. 11 against Swain, followed by a trip to take on defending state champion Murphy. Rosman closes out the year against a pair of teams they beat last year, hosting Hayesville before the regular season finale on the road at Andrews.

Essenberg said he’s hopeful that by the time the SMC portion of the schedule rolls around that his team will have hit its stride, adding that he expects to face similar opponents in the non-conference games.

“I take it one week at a time. When we get into Smoky Mountain play, we’re going to have to be physical. And in our non-conference schedule, we think we’re going to see a lot of the same stuff. We’d like to win the home opener against Enka.(Cont. from Page 8A)

That would be really special and it’s something the players would really benefit from.”

While there is a lot of excitement around Essenberg’s return to the sideline, he knows his young team will face some hurdles this season.

And while he hopes to be in a position to outperform expectations, he said that would only happen if his team works hard and develops as the season progresses.

“I don’t think most people are giving us a chance to do anything, so I’d like to go in and fool some folks. Every year, the goal at Rosman is to break into the top three in the conference, and some of those years, you’re good enough to win it. We’re very, very young. I don’t know where we’ll fall. It would be nice to be in the mix, but all that depends on if we can continue playing more physical and if we can get our sophomores to start playing like veterans,” he said.

Rosman Tigers 2019 Football Schedule

Date Opponent Location Time

Aug. 23 Enka Rosman 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 Brevard Brevard 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 6 Madison Madison 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 13 Smoky Mountain Smoky Mountain 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 Chase Rosman 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 Robbinsville* Rosman 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 Cherokee* Cherokee 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 Swain County* Rosman 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 Murphy* Murphy 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 1 Hayesville* Rosman 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 8 Andrews* Andrews 7:30 p.m.

Home games in bold

*Denotes Smoky Mountain Conference game

Rosman Tigers 2019 Football Roster

No. Name Height Weight Position Class

1 Mason Bandhauer 5’11” 160 K/P Sophomore

2 Brennan Chapman 5’10” 175 QB/DB Senior

3 Thomas Collins 5’10” 170 TB/DB Senior

6 Bradley McCall 6’1” 185 QB/WR/LB Sophomore

8 Brayden Dossey 5’11” 195 TE/LB Senior

10 Tyler Stamey 5’10” 170 WR/DB Junior

12 Andrew Stamey 6’1” 175 WR/DB Sophomore

15 Carson Lyday 5’9” 160 WR/DB Freshman

18 Dalton Graham 5’11” 185 DL/OL Junior

20 Corbin Shelton 5’9” 170 FB/OLB Junior

22 Samuel McCall 5’10” 175 TB/LB Sophomore

23 Derick Snyder 6’1” 195 TB/LB Junior

30 Aiden Revis 5’9” 155 WR/DB Junior

40 Bobby Jenkins 5’9” 170 FB/LB Sophomore

44 Markis Shook 5’10” 180 FB/LB Senior

47 Kodiak McKinney 5’10” 175 FB/LB Junior

50 Gabe Shipman 5’11” 240 OL/DL Senior

53 Josh Norton 5’10” 190 DL/OL Sophomore

55 Nathan Mahoney 5’10” 185 OL/DL Junior

60 Cayden Slonecker 6’1” 200 DL/OL Sophomore

62 Michael Tuttle 6’0” 180 LB/OL Junior

65 Grant Dodson 6’3” 220 OL/DL Junior

72 Wyatt Owen 5’10” 215 OL/DL Sophomore

77 Stephen Owen 6’0” 210 OL/DL Junior

80 Colin Jones 6’2” 180 TE/DE Sophomore

Head coach: Dan Essenberg

Assistant coaches: Parker Swaringen, Austin Cooke, Mark Robinson, Dusty Robinson, Nate Bumgardner


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