Roswell Demolishes Wheeler in Bounce-Back Game

Rajath Prabhakar, Sports Editor

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The Roswell Hornets came into Homecoming having lost a rivalry game to the Milton Eagles. In that game, Caden Long (11) missed two extra points and a field goal in a game decided by four points. Their opponent, Wheeler was no easier than Milton. The Wildcats entered the game 2-2, with victories over Lassiter and Lambert. 

Special Teams, Offense, doom Roswell in loss to Milton

Rajath Prabhakar
Caden Long (11) warms up before Roswell takes on Wheeler.

Recap

1st Quarter

Week five started auspiciously for Roswell as Andy Feddersen (12) fumbled on the opening snap, ending up losing ten. The Big Green appeared to have forced a punt two plays later, but a roughing the passer penalty extended Wheeler’s drive. Three plays later, Roswell again appeared to have gotten off the field, but Feddersen’s incompletion was nullified for an offside on the Hornets. Ten plays later, Roswell was finally able to get off the field. Even better, the two ill-timed penalties did not end up costing them as Jackson Tucker (11) left the 32-yard field goal well short of the goal line. This drive was the longest drive Wheeler would have all game, as well as the only drive that Wheeler reached the red zone on non-turnover possessions. Going 52 yards in sixteen plays, yet not coming up with any points was surely frustrating for Wheeler’s Bryan Love. 

Roswell’s offense showed some creativity, particularly on a reverse for John Copenhaver (12), which gained seventeen yards. Roswell was extremely balanced in play selection.  The Hornets ended the quarter on the Wheeler 16.  

2nd Quarter

Nnamdi Ojioke opened the quarter with a twelve-yard run to get the Hornets inside the 5. The next play, Orjioke capped off the Hornets’ opening drive with a four-yard touchdown run. On the point-after, the Hornets trotted out converted defensive back Brian Najar (11) to try the extra point. Najar banged it home with ease. It was nice to see an extra point made after the PAT disaster last week. 7-0 Hornets.

Coach Dodd said, of the decision to try Najar on extra points: “We just wanted to give someone else a chance”. The coaches wanted to see if they could improve the kicking game from last week. 

The ensuing drive for the Wildcats did not go well. After JD Thomas got caught behind the line of scrimmage, Dayshawn Anderson (12), who had switched to quarterback from running back, was sacked by Khaleed Mobley (12) for an 11-yard loss. Punt. 

Dr. Robert Shaw
Will Troutman (#9) brings down J.D. Thomas in the 3rd quarter of a nonconference game at Roswell High School. The Hornets beat the Wildcats 28-0.

The Hornets wasted no time extending their lead. Savion McCrary found a gaping hole in the middle of the Wildcats’ secondary and took advantage with a 48-yard touchdown run. Brian Najar put the extra point right down the middle. 14-0 Hornets

There were no other scoring drives in the first half. The most notable drive after McCrary’s touchdown was Roswell’s last drive of the first half. Here, the Hornets started inside the Wildcat 20, but somehow, they had to punt from their own 48. Three penalties, two incomplete passes and a sack forced the Hornets back into their own territory. 

3rd Quarter

Wheeler and Roswell traded three-and-outs to open the second half. The Hornets’ second drive of the second half started at their own 32. Nine plays and 68 yards later, Roswell found themselves in the end zone again courtesy of Savion McCrary’s second touchdown of the night. Brian Najar made the extra point. 21-0 Roswell. 

4th Quarter

Roswell got the ball back at about midfield after Wheeler turned it over on downs. 4 McCrary runs and 2 completions to John Copenhaver put the ball inside the Wildcat 28. However, the drive stalled. Caden Long came on to try a 46-yard field goal. It did not go well. The Wildcats got pressure up the middle and were able to block the field goal. The Hornets have still not made a field goal this season. 

Wheeler gave the ball right back to Roswell, as Dayshawn Anderson’s fumble was recovered by Khaleed Mobley inside the twenty. Ethan Roberts (12) recorded a touchdown of his own with an easy throw and catch to Ryan Hill (10). Brian Najar’s extra point put the Hornets up 28-0. After the Wildcats went three-and-out, Roswell was able to salt the game away. 

Up

  • Special teams- The Hornets showed a marked improvement on special teams. Senior defensive-back-turned-kicker Brian Najar did what Caden Long couldn’t last week: convert an extra point. Speaking of Caden Long, the junior did record a few nice punts, including one in the second quarter that pinned Wheeler inside their five. 
  • Offense: The Hornets moved the ball much more efficiently, with running back Saveon McCrary opening things up for the passing attack. There was much more balance this week, resulting in success on the ground and through the air. 

Down

  • Penalties: While the team as a whole was much better this week, ill-timed penalties led to Roswell not being able to take advantage of favorable field position. The most egregious example of this was the Hornets’ last drive of the first half. Starting at the Wheeler seventeen, below is the worst offensive series of the game. The “much more focused” (Coach Diaz) defense was not on display here.
    • Ethan Roberts (12) was dropped behind the line for a five-yard loss, but holding put Roswell at the 27. 
    • Roberts was sacked by Theo Reeves (12), but another holding pushed the Hornets back to the Wheeler 37. 
    • Roberts’ pass incomplete
    • Roberts’ pass incomplete
    • False Start on Roswell. Penalty was enforced at the Wheeler 49  
    • Ethan Roberts is sacked by Theo Reeves. Fourth and 45.

This comically bad offensive series surely infuriated the coaches, evidenced by the fact that Roswell played a much cleaner second half penalty-wise. Still, that series was too bad not to be put in this category. 

Player of the Game

Although the team as a whole played a great game, Savion McCrary stood out. The senior running back had a great game today, with ten carries for 76 yards. Although the running back seemed to be somewhat limited this week, the sparse number of carries did not stop him from averaging around eight yards a carry and two touchdowns. 

What’s Next?

Roswell has a bye week next week, but after that, the Hornets travel to Cherokee to take on the Warriors. Cherokee currently sits in first place at 4-1, so this will be an opportunity to capture sole possession of the top spot in the region.