Rosewood Football Hits Practice Field

Rosewood Football Hits Practice Field

Rosewood officially began its first season under new head football coach Josh Smith as the Eagles hit the practice field on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Smith, a 2000 Rosewood graduate, and his coaching staff put roughly 50 players through rigorous conditioning drills as practice drew to a close on Tuesday. Former Eagles’ head coach Robert Britt stepped down in December, after serving as head coach since 2007. Rosewood finished 10-5 in Britt’s final season, and lost at Tarboro in the 1-A Eastern Finals.

“We’ve seen a lot of hard work,” Smith said. “A lot of positivity. Numbers are real good. We’ve got around 50. The blessing has been that the foundation has been set over the last (few) years with Coach Britt. It’s just me putting my stamp on things. As far as the energy we’ve been getting after it really well. We’ve been blessed the last two days with the weather.”

Smith served as Rosewood’s offensive coordinator from 2014 through 2022. Transitioning into the role of head coach, and adjusting to the added responsibility of managing an entire football program continues to be a learning process.

“It’s been a little stressful, I’m not gonna lie,” Smith said. “Just in the fact that you’re having to worry about everything. You’re having to plan for everything. I spent last night working on a practice plan, and I’m thinking about the big picture and not just offense anymore. I’m trying to figure out what maximizes every kid. It’s been fun, it really has, just knowing I get to put my stamp on these kids lives.”

The Eagles averaged 30 points a game in 2022, and rushed for over 3,200 yards with 46 touchdowns on the ground. Senior tailback David Lamm is looking to build off his junior campaign, which saw him rush for over 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns. Fellow senior Micah Cox also returns to the backfield to help provide some balance in the running game.

Hunter Sasser and Gio Pineda have both seen snaps at quarterback early in practice.

A rebuilt offensive line could be the key to Rosewood’s success offensively.

“We’re still continuing to build that offensive line,” Smith said. “We’ve got a couple of guys here that we were unsure about during the summer, but they’re here and they’re working really hard. Offensively, I feel that we’re going to be good, but defensively, we’re going to be really strong.”

Defensive coordinator Jason King returns a unit that limited opponents to 18 points a game last season. The Eagles held opponents to 16 points or fewer eight times a year ago, and return key pieces up front, at linebacker and in the secondary.

Junior Micah Bell returns to anchor the defensive line, while senior Kaleb Davis is expected to lead the linebackers. Seniors Sammy Gardner and Markese Moore will be leaned on to guide the secondary.

“Kaleb Davis is back and Micah Bell,” Smith said. “Those two guys along with Sammy Gardner and Markese Moore are some key returners. Defensively, we’re as strong and as fast as I think we’ve been in a couple years.”

Rosewood opens the season on Aug. 18 at Charles B. Aycock in the Little River Rivalry. The Eagles last defeated the Golden Falcons in 2021.

“Next Wednesday we travel down to West Carteret and we’ll practice with them, and I’ll get to be with my brother,” Smith said. “I think we’ll get to see some things there and other opponents. As the (head coach) you start thinking about Aycock now. We do a little bit formation wise or scheme wise, but as far as actually focusing on them, it probably won’t be until that Monday we see them that week.”