Daily Dive: Roswell seeks to make consecutive semifinal appearances for the first time since 2015-16

Roswell is looking to make consecutive semifinal appearances for the first time since the 2015-16 season, but first must move past a one-loss Marist team in the quarterfinals. The Hornets have made the playoffs each year in the Chris Prewett era (2020-present), winning more than eight games per season. In 2022, the Hornets won 12 games and lost to Gainesville 35-28 in the semifinals. Roswell is just one win away from matching its win total from last season and will have to go through Marist to do so. However, Roswell has one of the most talented and complete rosters you will see in Georgia.

The Hornets are led by Region 7-6A Player of the Year KJ Smith who has thrown for 2,199 yards and 33 touchdowns while rushing for 419 yards and six touchdowns. Since taking over as the starter, Smith has shined as a vocal leader and a consistent playmaker for the team. He has put together consecutive 30-touchdown seasons and has surpassed the 2,000-yard mark once again. Smith has started to see more offers roll in, recently picking up one from Kentucky State University. He holds offers from Alabama State, Nebraska-Kearney, Keiser, and more. Smith has great ability to escape out of the pocket and a standout part of his game is his ability to create plays. He’s led a high-powered attack and one of the best offenses in the state.

The Hornets are averaging 52.3 points per game in 2023 and have hit the 70-point mark three times this season, a mark they didn’t hit once in 2022, and have scored at least 50 points in every playoff game this season. Fueling this high-scoring offense is a healthy balance of run and pass. In the first two playoff games, the Hornets have thrown for 474 yards and rushed for 551. Nykahi Davenport has produced consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Hornets and has increased his average yards per carry since the 2022 season. Davenport is an underrated running back but since he has taken over the backfield, he has been a weapon in the ground game and a consistent player offensively. Davenport was named Region 7-6A Offensive Player of the Year for consecutive seasons, also winning the award in 2022.

Roswell also has star wide receiver Dylan Williams (Marshall-commit) who recently set the single-season receiving touchdown record in program history with 14, passing Jayden Comma who set the record in 2015. Williams has 784 receiving yards and is averaging 19 yards per catch. He went off in the latest playoff game against Lanier, posting seven catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

Synkwan Smith is a special all-around athlete for Roswell who is a threat in the return game and can be used anywhere offensively. Smith is second on the team in catches (32), yards (420), and touchdowns (8). He is also third on the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Smith adds a different dynamic because he can stretch the field and can also make you pay in the short and intermediate areas of the field. In 2023, he was named the Co-Athlete of the Year in region 7-6A after finishing the regular season with 1410 total yards and 17 total touchdowns.

Defensively, Roswell can get after you with Chase Morrison (Virginia-commit) who is second on the team in sacks with eight. Morrison was selected as Defensive Lineman of the Year in Region 7-6A. Junior linebacker Ryder Duffy has been having a strong season for Roswell as well. Duffy has 118 tackles and 16 tackles for losses and was recently named to the Region 7-6A All-Region First-Team for defense. Four players made the All-Region team including defensive back Connor Beech and defensive lineman Devin Redmond, along with the aforementioned Morrison and Duffy.

Roswell has a very special and talented team led by an outstanding head coach in Prewett. The Hornets play fast and can beat you in a multitude of ways. They are a very disciplined and experienced group that has played in a lot of big games. On Friday, they look to get one step closer to their goal of winning a state championship, and what better atmosphere than Friday night at home in the Hornets Nest in a rocky environment against a team you haven’t played against since 1985 when legendary head coach Alan Chadwick took over the Marist program.


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