Rosman is a football team getting a lot of preseason buzz in the Smoky Mountain Conference and with good reason.
The Tigers will take the field Aug. 21 for their season opener with at least 14 seniors.
That group includes a third-year starter at quarterback – Josh Rice (1,002 rushing yards, 519 passing yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014) – and the SMC’s top returning rusher in Gage Orr (1,484 yards, 14 touchdowns). Both were All-SMC selections in 2014.
“We have pretty much everyone back and I believe we’ve got about six running backs who could play for most people,” Rosman coach Freddie Whitman said.
“We’ve been very happy with our summer workouts. Our kids play a lot of sports. But the ones who are showing up are showing up ready to work hard, especially the core group.”
Andres Villagomez heads up the group of returners are on the offensive line along with fellow seniors David Burrell and Jacob Hall. Tanner Green (787 yards, 10 touchdowns) is another 12th grader who was productive out of the Tigers’ Double Wing offense last fall.
Rosman will run a 4-3 defense. Junior Neil Tesnow made 5.8 tackles a game last season and has put on about 15 pounds of muscle, Whitman said. Villagomez and senior Jacob Hall both averaged 5.5 tackles a year ago.
The Tigers were 6-7 overall in 3-3 in the SMC last season. Rosman hasn’t won an SMC championship in football since 1998, but bridging that gap is a goal if Whitman can keep his 30-man roster healthy.
“We want to be there at the top,” he said.
“We had our moments last year even with some injuries. We’ve been right there with some of the best teams in this conference. And with the Smoky Mountain Conference, almost every year is a state championship for somebody.”
Note: A more complete preview of Rosman and other WNC football teams will be available in the Aug. 16 print edition of the Citizen-Times.