Wildcats crush Rosman, earn home playoff game

  • Andrews senior Makhi Smith brings down the Rosman quarterback during Friday's game. Photos by Matthew Osborne
    Andrews senior Makhi Smith brings down the Rosman quarterback during Friday's game. Photos by Matthew Osborne
  • Andrews senior Landon White passed 1,000 yards for the season in the win over Rosman.
    Andrews senior Landon White passed 1,000 yards for the season in the win over Rosman.
  • Andrews senior Brawley Stillwell engages at the line of scrimmage during Friday's win over Rosman.
    Andrews senior Brawley Stillwell engages at the line of scrimmage during Friday's win over Rosman.
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    Andrews – It may not be a winning season, but to the Wildcats it sure feels like one.
    Andrews dominated Rosman 21-0 on Friday night to wrap up a 5-6 season that was more or less two extra points away from 7-4.
    Next is a home playoff game against a familiar foe in Cherokee on Friday night.
    “It means a lot,” senior lineman Brawley Stillwell said. “All the years I have been on varsity, we have never made the playoffs. I hope we can keep it going the way we have been playing.”
    The Wildcats’ seniors made their mark in their last regular-season game, including Stillwell with dominant run blocking and a big sack; Landon White reaching 1,000 yards for the first time in his career; and Makhi Smith continuing his stellar play of late on both sides of the line.
    “This week has been heavy on the seniors,” Andrews head coach James Phillips said. “We have really built it up with them, and I’m a senior guy. My seniors are special to me because they have been 3-4 years of our program and stuck with it, and that hasn’t been easy.
    “Now they’re reaping some of the benefits of that.”
    The Wildcats crushed the Tigers (1-10) on both sides of the line and allowed no first downs and minus-1 yard in the first half in their second shutout of the season.
    “We played our technique the way the coaches taught us and it played out well,” Stillwell said.
    Andrews overcame a fourth down and two fumbles to score on its opening drive on a cold night at Hugh Hamilton Stadium. Gavin Wilson – who is 24 yards short of making it two 1,000-yard backs for Andrews this year – went inside, then cut it back on the way to the end zone from 26 yards out for the Cats’ first touchdown. Tucker Holloway made the first of three extra points for a 7-0 lead.
    The Wildcats struck again after converting another fourth down on a pass to Spencer Bateman, as White scored the first of his two touchdowns from a yard out for a 14-0 lead that seemed ostensibly insurmountable.
    Bateman caught another pass in the red zone in the third quarter to set up the other White touchdown.
    Two Andrews fumbles and ending the game at the Rosman 6-yard line made the score less lopsided than the statistics or the naked eye indicated.
    Just like in 2015, when the Wildcats last hosted a playoff game, Andrews will host Cherokee Friday night. Andrews won 35-24 on Oct. 11, also at Hugh Hamilton Stadium.
    “Our seeding was as good as we could have hoped for,” Phillips said. “I am proud of the boys, the coaches, the school and the town of Andrews. I hope the whole town comes out Friday night to support these boys.”
    In 2015, Andrews beat Cherokee for a second time and advanced to the second round, where the Wildcats faced top seed Community School of Davidson. Andrews trailed just 8-0 at the end of the third quarter in that contest before Davidson broke it open late, but the game was highly competitive for 48 minutes.
    This is Andrews’ first appearance in the playoffs since the bye weeks were instituted in 2017. Phillips’ first team made it in 2016 and faced Mountain island Charter, which won big over Andrews before nearly upsetting eventual state champion Murphy later in the playoffs.