When the Tigers (5-2, 3-1 Region 5-AA) line up for kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Rogers Stadium, they will have a chance to make history with a sixth win — something that no Temple football team has ever accomplished.
A win would also seal Temple’s first playoff appearance since 2005.
“I think it would mean a lot to them and a lot to us. I also think it would mean a lot to the people who came before us, and it’s going to mean a lot for the people who come behind us. We’ve had football here for 23 years — and for us to be able to achieve that goal would be great — but the end result, like we talked about in the spring, is having a winning season and making the playoffs,” Rogers said.
Spencer (2-5, 1-3) comes to town in the middle of a two-game losing streak with a 42-0 loss against Callaway and 34-14 loss against Manchester last Thursday.
Even with Spencer’s record, Rogers remembers when the Greenwave defeated the Tigers for their only win of the season last year.
“We’re going to have to play a great football game on Friday night. Spencer is a good football team. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment, but you also want to enjoy the moment. Six wins for a program like Carrollton or Bowdon is just a drop in the bucket, but here it would be extra special — especially for these kids,” Rogers said.
The fifth-year coach has seen the Tigers transform from a bunch of athletes on the field into a team that works together.
“We’ve just got to focus. I think we’ve had two great days of practice, and I hope [we] continue that trend. We just have to play within ourselves. I think at this point in the season, we’ve realized who we are offensively and defensively, what we’re able to do, what we’re not able to do and I think we’re getting to a point as a team where they’re not just playing for themselves, but their playing for each other and playing for this community,” Rogers said.
Senior tailback DeiJon Tyler knows how far this team has come, especially after a 1-9 campaign his freshman year.
“We’re doing better and making history now. We can make history and win the most games Temple has ever won and a big game to make the playoffs, which is what we’ve been working hard for every day,” Tyler said. “This season, I think that we trust each other more. We’re working hard and we all have that common goal we’re trying to get to.”
Rogers has said this team had a shot at being a special one at Temple even before the season started — this isn’t something that happened over the past few weeks when the team started picking up wins.
“We didn’t just start setting these goals last week. We started in the spring, and actually from the last game of last year. I think with us being as young as we are in spots and losing as many seniors as we did last year, I think a lot of people didn’t expect us to win this many games. That’s the difference in being a good team and a good program — good programs win games and good programs do the things you’re supposed to and we’re getting to that point,” Rogers said.
Without looking past tonight’s game, the Tigers finish the regular season against the top two teams in the region at Carver, Columbus and against Callaway. Even if the goals are met tonight, the Tigers will continue to work.
“I can promise you this, if we win Friday, we’re not going to stop there like the season is over. We’ve got a good enough team that we can sneak up on some guys that are supposed to be at the top of the region,” Rogers said.