STAR: Josh Rogers had 156 yards of offense (61 rushing and 95 receiving) and two TDs in SBA's 34-18 win.
UP NEXT: Silverdale (10-1) travels to Hampton (7-3), which had a bye.
Friday night's Class 2A playoff opener was about a lot of things for the recently blemished Silverdale Baptist Academy football team. Coach Al Rogers spoke about maturity, disappointment, senior leadership, resiliency, trials and tribulation, but the one thing that stood out most among the buzz words following the Seahawks' 34-18 win over visiting Rockwood was the word "tradition."
"You look at that sideline there and you know the tradition it carries," Rogers said, pointing to Rockwood's side. "They have a lot of tradition, but tonight we started ours."
Rockwood, a perennial state contender and past state champion, proved to be quite a test for the Seahawks, who lost for the only time this season in heart-breaking fashion a week earlier, and Rogers knew the task would be significant.
"There were probably a lot of people who had some doubts about us after last week's loss. We were dazed," he said. "We put a lot into that game, and then to lose in overtime [at Boyd-Buchanan], we had a lot to think about this week. The Lord blessed us with a lot of wins this year, and he blessed us in that loss. You can't get bitter over defeat. You have to get better."
SBA (10-1) overcame not only that disappointment but also three first-quarter turnovers to the Tigers, thanks to two impressive red-zone stands, to win a playoff game for the first time in school history on its home field.
After falling behind 6-0 following the second turnover, which gave Rockwood (7-4) the ball at the SBA 16, the Seahawks held the Tigers on downs inside the 10 and went 74 yards for a go-ahead score on Josh Rogers' 1-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Nathan Keylon added an 14-yard score on a big third-down conversion. And when Matt Millard intercepted a pass just before halftime, Keylon passed to Rogers for a 10-yard TD to make it 21-6.
"Our defense really stepped up when it had to," Coach Rogers said. "The two stops inside the 10 were big, but you have to credit Rockwood. We took some punches and managed to stay on out feet, but they did, too."
Countered Rockwood coach John Webb after his team got no points despite two trips to the goal line: "We missed some opportunities. Had some great chances that could have made it interesting."
Rockwood did pull within 21-12 and 28-18, but SBA answered both times. Matt McCulley scored on a 14-yard run after the first Rockwood score and Cody Thomas made a heads-up play, returning Rockwood's onside kick untouched from 42 yards away to seal the deal.
The Tigers outgained SBA 170-82 in the second half, but the Seahawks defense kept pressure on Tigers QB Jarrod Neerman all night. Lincoln Phillips and Colton Rogers each had three sacks and harassed Neerman into a 9-of-26 performance including two interceptions.
Josh Rogers had 61 yards rushing and 95 yards receiving, while Stone Hood and Millard had interceptions and Daniel Guinn was all over the field defensively.
"These senior just don't want to call it quits. I'm really proud of the whole bunch," Coach Rogers said.
Contact James Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org