4 Questions with Roswell head coach Chris Prewett

Chris Prewett, head varsity football coach for Roswell, speaks to his team after their victory against Mill Creek on Friday, November 27, 2020, at Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia. Roswell defeated Mill Creek 28-27. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Caption
Chris Prewett, head varsity football coach for Roswell, speaks to his team after their victory against Mill Creek on Friday, November 27, 2020, at Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia. Roswell defeated Mill Creek 28-27. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Today’s interviewee is Roswell coach Chris Prewett, whose team defeated second-ranked North Cobb 46-43 in the Class 7A second round last week. Roswell scored two touchdowns in the final minute to overcome a nine-point deficit. The win put the Hornets in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016. They’ll play Grayson at home on Friday.

Chris Prewett, Roswell head coach

1. So you’re down 43-34 with about two minutes left. Then what happened? “I believe that a good starting point was with about 1:45 left in the game. We were faced with a fourth-and-18, down nine points. Trying to force a play, we threw an interception at about North Cobb’s 10-yard line. North Cobb, which had scored on each possession of the evening up to this point, took over and had a quarterback run on first down, followed by our second timeout. On second down, linebacker Ian Matthews stripped and recovered the ball. Three plays later, Robbie Roper scrambled in from 12 yards out to make it a three-point ball game.

“With 48 seconds left, we lined up for an onside kick and were able to recover it after it was touched around 8-9 yards. Robbie Roper scrambled and found Chris Elko down our sideline for a 44-yard completion and got us to first-and-goal from the 7. After three incompletions, we took our final timeout, and I made the decision to play for the win instead of overtime. Our offensive staff had a great play call ready, and Roper executed the play by scrambling in from 7 yards out. I’m not 100% sure what sound I made, but it was probably as close to a primal scream and elation for our kids. It is definitely one of those games you’ll never ever forget.”

2. As a coach, what’s your mindset when things were so bleak? “Honestly, trying to hope and pray we would get a break to get back into the game. We had missed an onside kick earlier in the third quarter, had two fumbles we had the opportunity to pick up and missed a ton of chances defensively. Our defense stepped up and made a play in the most crucial moment of the season thus far. Once our offense had the ball, the mindset was the same we have in our Tuesday practice. On every Tuesday, we set the field up and run a two-minute drill with no timeouts. We’ve practiced these things dating all the way back to spring practice in May. If you prepare for these scenarios, there isn’t panic on the sideline or on the field. It stresses to our players how important those periods of practice are and why we put an emphasis on it each week.”

3. What do you think about Robbie Roper and his performance? [Roper was 26-of-35 passing for 288 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 50 yards and two touchdowns.] And are you surprised he’s not more widely known or highly recruited? “Robbie has done an outstanding job for himself and our program. I think you could put his stats and game tape up with any quarterback across the state and come away being impressed. What he did Friday night was incredible. Robbie ended the first half 13-of-13 passing with two touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the state and a very talented roster. Robbie was poised under pressure, calm when the offense needed it and was able to use his legs to extend plays or take advantage of open field to scramble for first downs. It’s one of the biggest recruiting travesties I’ve seen in a while. He’s top five in 7A in passing yards, completion percentage and QB rating. I know Robbie will make one school look very smart for taking a shot on him, and he’ll have success wherever he goes.”

4. What has been the story of your team this season? What is this team’s psyche? “I honestly think the trajectory of our 2021 season started when we lost to a very talented Norcross team last season in the second round. Losing in the second round for a second consecutive season was a huge motivation factor for our offseason and conditioning program. After we played our spring scrimmage, I told our team that our expectation shouldn’t be anything less than a state championship. I was adamant that if we were able to focus solely on each opponent and play our brand of football, I knew we had a shot if we got onto the field and played 48 minutes. We’ve had the mentality all year long that we’re always going to be the undersized team and we’re not the highest recruited team, and I believe a lot of our players play with that chip on their shoulder.”

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