SILVERDALE BAPTIST SEAHAWKS
Coach: Al Rogers (1st year)
Returning starters (O/D/K): 4/5/1
Remember these names: Back for his third year to start at quarterback is Spencer Mossburg (Jr., 6-2, 180). He has talent around him in receivers/defensive backs Garrett Howard (Sr., 5-9, 170) and Reid Clements (Jr., 6-3, 190) and tight end Colton Rogers (So. 6-4, 240), who also is expected to be a defensive leader at linebacker. Josh Mackey (Sr., 5-11, 240) will start on both sides of the line.
Will be a memorable year if: An inexperienced group of players adjusts well to a new coaching staff and new system. The Seahawks have a schedule conducive for early success, but that depends on how ready the younger players are.
Aug. 19 Gordon Lee
Aug. 26 at Community
Sept. 2 at Boyd-Buchanan*
Sept. 9 Meigs County
Sept. 16 at Copper Basin*
Sept. 23 Whitwell
Oct. 7 at Chattanooga Christian
Oct. 14 at Lookout Valley
Oct. 21 Taft Youth Center
Oct. 28 Grace Academy*
* District 5-A game
Al Rogers was trying to pay his quarterback, junior Spencer Mossburg, the ultimate compliment but quickly realized his words were lost in the generation gap.
"I told Spencer one day that his ability to put us in good situations running or throwing the ball reminded me of Roger Staubach," said Rogers, Silverdale Baptist Academy's new head coach. "He just kind of looked at me with a blank expression, and I realized he had no idea who I was talking about."
Mossburg, who enters his third season as the Seahawks' starting quarterback, is so much a dual threat that the new coaching staff has built much of its offense around his abilities. Silverdale plans to run both the wing-T and the spread offenses, depending on the situation, and Mossburg is confident in either.
"When you first start playing quarterback the game seems so fast," Mossburg said. "Now I feel like the game has kind of slowed down, and I'm a lot more confident in what we're doing.
"When Coach told me who I reminded him of, I didn't know who he was talking about. But it feels good to know they believe in me like that. I'm not afraid to take off and use my legs, whether it's running or throwing I just want to help us get down the field. We weren't very strong last year, but I'm hoping to be a part of the team that turns the program around. If we just get better every day, success will come."
Having Mossburg's experience will help Rogers make the transition from career assistant to running a program. Rogers, who was an assistant at Ooltewah for 12 years and spent the last three seasons coaching Silverdale's middle school, played fullback and linebacker at Ooltewah and prefers players to be physical. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Mossburg fits that description.
Mossburg also is surrounded by experienced talent such as receivers Garrett Howard (5-9, 170) and Reid Clements (6-3, 190).
"Quarterback is such an essential position, so it sure helps to have a guy who already has so much experience," Rogers said. "He's very poised in the moment and is the kind of kid that takes charge of the offense. And he wants to work to get better. You can build an offense around that kid.
"He's a scrambler and the type kid that scares you because he won't run out of bounds. We don't want him taking any unnecessary shots, because he's something special, but you have to let him wing it sometimes because that's just his style."
In its third season as a varsity program, a playoff berth was on the line when Silverdale Baptist hosted Whitwell in the final game of the 2007 regular season. The Seahawks already had assured themselves of their first winning season and followed that by earning their first playoff appearance with a 32-12 victory. Fullback Phillip Walliser, who had played for the program since its inception, rushed for 227 yards and broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
“You are now part of a truly historic team,” coach John Allen told those Seahawks. “This is special. You have a lot to be proud of.”
Silverdale lost to Gordonsville the next week in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs, and although the Seahawks have advanced to the playoffs twice since that year, 2007 still is the only season in which they finished with a winning record.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...