After an open week last week, Roswell was in dire need of a win Friday night against the Woodstock Wolverines. Unfortunately for Roswell, the Wolverines had other plans. Roswell fell to the Wolverine 26-24 Friday night.
With such a poor record, this basic question has a tendency to come up when discussing Roswell Hornet’s football: why are we so bad?
While the question may be blunt, the asker often has decent incentive to do so. A 1-6 record, in the eyes of hundreds, is unacceptable. Let’s take a chance to review:
As it has in previous weeks, the Roswell offense was struck throughout the night with consistency woes. At times, the Roswell offense was unstoppable. Senior quarterback Ryan Monty was completing passes to all sectors of the field while senior running back Andrew Kwateng broke long runs for first downs and more. But yet, at other times the Roswell offense looked completely lost.
Undoubtedly, the Hornets offensive woes hinge on the slowing of Kwateng in the past few weeks. Since his scalding start in August and Septemeber, Kwateng, a possible Division I athlete, has stumbled a tad. Kwateng, who usually uses a combination of his strength, speed, and quickness to make pretty much any first man miss, has had trouble extending into the second level during the past few weeks. In most cases, Kwateng has had trouble keeping his balance while in traffic, which is somewhere where he can improve. The senior is undoubtedly the lifeblood of the Roswell offense, but he has been a bit of a nonfactor in the past few weeks.
Possibly, Kwateng continues to privately nurse an ankle injury that cost him much of the 2012 season. More likely, Kwateng is just gassed after playing so much in the first half and half of the season. Without a solid backup such as Corey Wilson, Kwateng has, understandably, gotten the lion’s share of carries. At first, that game plan seemed flawless. Kwateng, a physical beast of nature, managed to carry to carry a youthful, developing Hornet’s offense early in the season. However, as time goes on, it becomes more and more evident that the very game plan that was bread and butter for Roswell is now failing them.
Possibly, the Hornet’s problems lay within the offensive line. Beat and battered after losing a few select members of the line to injuries, the Roswell offensive line has not been the same. Constant pressure on Monty and quickly closing holes that Kwateng can barely squeeze through has made moving the ball almost impossible.
Only three words are needed to sum up what the Roswell defense needs to do to improve: STOP.THE.RUN. During the seven-week season, Roswell has been absolutely gashed on the ground. Teams, with the exception of Woodstock and Centennial, have had a slight tendency to ignore passing for minutes on end just to attack the Roswell rushing attack.
However, stopping the run is in no way an easy, or even a possible, task at this point. Roswell is not lacking the heart and drive to stop the run, but purely the size. Roswell, in most cases, is a small football team. This does not help in the running game, obviously.
Throughout this season and last season, the Hornets have had an ongoing struggle with penalties. Last year, it was easy to blame the excessive amount of penalties on the youthfulness of the team. However, the increased amount of penalties this seasons makes some wonder if the penalties are a result of team’s overall lack of discipline. The play this season has been sloppy. And sloppy play rarely leads to success on the field because of the high probability of penalization.
Lack of Fan Support
Roswell has been often known as having one of the most vibrant and supportive fan bases. However, over the past two weeks one may question that statement. During a home game against Wheeler, Roswell High only managed to yield a minuscule fraction of it’s normal attendance at home games. Furthermore, Friday night against Woodstock may have been one of the smallest turnouts all season. Approximately thirty students, only ten of which were seniors, showed up in Woodstock. After the astounding turnout at the Milton game, the attendance of away games, as well as home games, has slowly decreased. No team wants to play for half empty stands and the last thing that Roswell needs is demotivation.
For Roswell, Friday night may have been the nail in the coffin that has slowly become of the once promising 2012 season. Barely standing at 1-6, Roswell is staring death in the face with a spot in the playoffs likely jeopardized because of a 0-4 record in 6-AAAAA region.
Questions are really the only thing that the Roswell Hornets varsity football program has managed to accumulate in the past month and a half. Just six short weeks ago, the program, under the leadership of second year Head Coach Justin Sanderson seemed to be on the mend. A thumping of Centennial boosted the morale of not only the team but also the school in general. Six weeks later, the once promising 2012 season is in complete shambles. The Roswell Hornets have failed time and time again to put together just the second winning effort of the season. And at this point, unfortunately, things are getting ugly.