Al Rogers made it a point this week to write the four previous wins his eighth-ranked Silverdale Seahawks had collected this season on the blackboard. Heading into the Sweetwater game Friday night, Rogers wanted to make sure his bunch understood the magnitude of the task ahead.
"I just told them we needed to beat somebody to be somebody," Rogers said. "I showed them the other teams we had beaten and they understood they were teams that hadn't fared too well against anyone so far. Tonight was a huge opportunity for them."
Consider it an opportunity seized. The Seahawks remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 24-21 victory over the visiting Wildcats.
SBA's "fearsome foursome" of Lincoln Phillips, Colton Rogers, Josh Rogers and Jordan Delashmitt contributed big play after big play on defense in holding the Wildcats (3-2) to 33 rushing yards on 30 carries. Phillips had four sacks, including one with 53 seconds left that forced a fourth-and-16. And when Sweetwater quarterback Andrew Barr was forced to tuck it and run on the fourth-down play, Josh Rogers stopped him a half-yard short to clinch the nail biter.
"I told them all week we would be in for s street fight. Sweetwater brought it. That was a game played like it is supposed to be," Coach Rogers said.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the first period, the Wildcats scoring first on a 29-yard toss from Barr to Trent Wattenbarger. Colton Rogers answered with a 45-yard catch and run from Nathan Keylon on the ensuing possession and it was on.
Barr connected with Ashaunde Thaxton for another 29-yard score and Silverdale answered with a Phillips' 8-yard burst. The Seahawks (5-0) adjusted as Sweetwater stacked the line to try to slow their powerful running attack by countering with Tanner Webb, who delivered a perfect 29-yard pass to Josh Rogers for a 21-14 halftime lead.
"We had to keep them honest, and Tanner did a good job doing that with his throwing," Rogers added.
Sweetwater stiffened on a goal-line stand after Webb led SBA to the 1, resulting in a 23-yard field goal by Michael Dellinger that proved to be the ultimate difference. Sweetwater was able to get a late TD on a 22-yard pass from Barr to Payton Robinette. The Wildcats got it back for one more chance with 1:38 left, converting one fourth-down try and almost another before stalling at the Silverdale 21.
"That's a really good football team. We dug ourselves a hole and couldn't overcome it, but credit them. They'll win a lot of football games," Sweetwater coach Mike Martin said.
Josh Rogers led the Seahawks with 72 rushing yards and Colton Rogers had 74 receiving yards. Delashmitt had two interceptions and two pass breakups. Sweetwater's MacKenzie Hansen recovered a fumble, forced a fumble and had a sack. Terry Reagan added two sacks.
Contact James Beach at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...