In the days approaching Tipton-Rosemark’s home game vs. Harding Academy last Friday, head coach William Dean had a very specific message for his team.

“We told them they have to win the next two to be in, kind of a playoff mindset,” Dean said. “If you win you get to keep playing, if you lose you’re done.”

Rosemark chose the first option.


Behind huge games from wideout Ellis Fullen and quarterback Sam Cannon, as well as solid rushing from Nix Fullen, the Rebels (1-6 overall, 1-4 DII-A-West) beat Harding Academy (0-8, 0-4) 27-14 to keep its postseason hopes alive.

After a bye this Friday, the Rebels host First Assembly Christian School on Oct. 21 in the regular season finale. A win there will give TRA the No. 5 seed in next month’s state playoffs.

Two key plays at the end of the first half proved to be crucial vs. Harding.

With less than a minute until halftime, TRA’s Aiden Petrowski came up with an interception at the Harding Academy 43. On the very next play, Cannon hit Ellis Fullen on a touchdown pass that gave TRA a 20-0 lead at the half.

That cushion proved to be needed when Harding scored twice in the third quarter to cut Rosemark’s lead to 20-14.

Rosemark’s defense steadied after that and when Will Hughes scored on a short TD run in the fourth quarter the win was all but secured.

“I was proud of how they responded. They kept battling back,” Dean said. “There were certain times where it looked like previous games when we kind of folded, but the kids kept fighting and we pulled it out. i know they were excited to get that monkey off their back.”

Things went well for Rosemark early. Nix Fullen (25 carries, 106 yards) finished off nice TRA drives early on a pair of TD runs to give Rosemark a 13-0 lead.

Ellis Fullen, Nix’s cousin, had one of the best receiving games of anybody in West Tennessee this year with 13 catches for 199 yards. Cannon also had a big night, completing 14 of 22 passes for 217 yards.

The TRA defense forced four turnovers. Cole Devitt and Ellis Fullen each had an interception and Aydn Rock recovered a fumble.

Dean praised the play of several players.

“I knew Ellis had a good game, but I was surprised how good until I added everything up and he had 199 yards and 13 catches. He just kept making plays … Sam has had a really good year. As far getting our guys in position to make a play, he’s done it time after time. I’ll take a quarterback who throws it with conviction and tries to make some plays.”


Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland