Andrews Football: 2022 Wildcats Season Preview and Prediction

Sports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports

The 2021 season was one for the record books for the little school outside of Valleytown. The Andrews Wildcats may not have finished the season the way they wanted, but they accomplished a lot more than their 7 and 4 record reflects-from the outside looking in. With program-defining wins over Mitchell and Murphy, the Red and Black put Western North Carolina on notice.

Returning nearly everyone from last year’s historic team, Andrews is primed to make a run for it all in 2022. Let’s take a look at what stands in their way. 


Previewing Andrews Schedule for 2022:

Record Prediction: 8-2

Head Coach James Phillips put his team in a great spot heading into this season with the schedule he and his staff curated. Unless something goes terribly wrong, at worst the Wildcats should head into conference play with a 4-1 record. They handed State-Runner Up Mitchell County a big L last year, but the task will get even harder this year as they will head to Bakersville for their rematch with the Purple Machine. Even if they aren’t able to get the job done on September 9th, they shouldn’t have any problem with the likes of Hickory, East Henderson, North Buncombe, or North Georgia and they should ride into conference play with a 4-1 record. The Wildcats will kick off SMC play with Hayesville, Swain, and Cherokee before ending their season with Senior night against Robbinsville and a road contest vs Murphy. 


With the fluidity in the conference this year no SMC game will be a cakewalk, but barring any injury I’m still picking the Cats to head into their final two games of the season undefeated in conference play. Cherokee will be reloading this year and the Hayesville and Swain games will be at home, which should give the Red and Black a huge advantage if this year’s stands are packed like they were for the last few home games last season. 


Obviously their two biggest regular season games will come in the final two weeks of the season against Robbinsville and Murphy, and if there ever was a chance for the Wildcats to complete a sweep of the two SMC Titans, it’s this year. Depth has been the biggest concern for the Wildcats when they line it up against the big guys in previous years, but it’s looking like that might not be the case this year. If Andrews can stay healthy, there’s no reason they shouldn’t at least split these final two games. The home game vs Robbinsville on senior night should draw a bigger crowd than last year’s regular season finale vs Murphy. 


Previewing Andrews Offense for 2022: 


When you return ALL of your offensive production from the previous year, you’re already entering the season on a high note. 


Issac Weaver and Austin Martin’s names have been thrown around in quite a few arguments regarding who the top running back duo is in the SMC, and they’ll make yet another push for that title this year. 


Martin and Weaver are both coming off of 1,000+ yard rushing seasons, and Weaver also surpassed the 500 yard mark in receiving yards. Both of these guys were banged up almost all of last season, and they were still a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses. I look for them to both be 100 Yard Per Game Backs yet again this year. 


We know what the Cats can do on the ground, but where I really think they are going to surprise people this year is through the air. 


Donovan Bateman has grown up a lot this summer and seems more comfortable in the pocket than he’s ever been. A lot of that confidence is due to not only the fact that most of his Oline is returning, but also because he has some weapons to throw to. Issac Weaver was the only Wildcat receiver to break the double digit mark in receptions in 2021 as the sure handed athlete hauled in over 30 receptions, but this year we should see some other receivers in the mix. With another year to learn under the tutelage of position Coach Matthew Maennle (who was once a great receiver in his own right), I look for Cam Rattler to have a breakout year at the receiver spot. His 6 foot 4 inch frame should help him reel in passes from Bateman and those two could become a dangerous connection late in the season if they’re able to get on the same page. Andy and Everett Tatham also shouldn’t go overlooked as they give the Cats a nice underneath option through the air, but obviously the Wildcats bread and butter will still be the ground and pound game with Weaver and Martin. 


Previewing Andrews Defense for 2022:


In just 9 games last year, Andrew Martin surpassed the century mark in tackles averaging 13 tackles per game. He will be the anchor to a defense that gave up just over 15.5 points per game last year. Austin Martin will also be a big part of the Andrews defense as well, as he was second on the team with 60 tackles last year. 


A name you might not have heard-but you absolutely should know-is Dalton Rose. As a Sophomore last year Rose averaged nearly 6 tackles per game, and he really lays the wood when he makes a tackle. In his Junior campaign this year, Rose could become known as one of the hardest hitters in the SMC. 


In the defensive backfield for Andrews, you’ll find none other than the man himself, Issac Weaver. Weaver hauled in 9 interceptions in just 10 games played last year, and always makes opposing QBs think twice about throwing his way. He also contributed 3.5 tackles per game at the DB spot last season. Alongside Weaver will be Senior’s Cole Anderson, Kaden Edwards, and Zack Queen and Junior Cam Rattler. Anderson will play a pivotal part of the Wildcats defensive success, as opposing offenses will probably be gunning his way when he is opposite of Weaver. 


The Wildcats defense didn’t give up a ton of points last year, but in games that they lost they gave up big plays that kept the ball out of their offense’s hands. This year it will be crucial for Andrews to get off the field quickly on defense and allow their methodical offense to go to work. 


Final Analysis:


This is the year for the Cats. The Andrews faithful have been waiting for this group of Seniors to come through for a long time, and it’s put up or shut up time. They have the talent to make a very deep playoff run, they just have to get out of their own way. A lot of eyes will be on the Red and Black this year, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure. We’re either gonna see some diamonds or some burst pipes.

Leave a comment

Back to Top