H.S. FOOTBALL: Robinson, healthy Bobcats roll over Trojans
BLAIRSVILLE — Blairsville running back Deion Robinson wasted no time planning to reach personal goals heading into Friday’s Heritage Conference football game against Saltsburg.
Truth be told, a modest Robinson just longed to deal Saltsburg a loss while helping the Bobcats break the .500 mark.
Robinson’s team-first approach paid dividends, and the junior speedster terrorized Saltsburg for the second straight year, amassing a career-high 195 yards and scoring four touchdowns to spearhead a 41-0 win at Memorial Stadium.
Robinson eclipsed the career high of 193 yards he set in last’s 23-9 win over Saltsburg.
“Beating any team feels good,” Robinson said when asked if besting Saltsburg felt extra sweet. “It’s a game, and we all like to win. Our goal is to make playoffs, so any team that’s in our way, we’ve got to beat.”
Robinson ran four times for 33 yards on the Bobcats’ first possession to set up the game’s first touchdown. On a third-and-2, Cameron Livingston took an inside handoff and broke loose in the Trojans’ secondary. Livingston then used a sharp cut to put would-be tackler Lucas Mowery on his wallet, running untouched into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown to put Blairsville ahead 7-0 just 3:24 into the game.
Then, on their last drive of the first quarter, the Bobcats marched 54 yards on seven plays to score another touchdown. This time, Robinson capped the drive on a 12-yard touchdown run with 11:55 to go in the first half to give Blairsville a 14-0 lead.
“He’s just good,” first-year Blairsville coach Rick Artley said of Robinson, who averaged 10.8 yards on 18 carries. “He makes plays out of things that aren’t always there, and like I said, there were several times we didn’t block the greatest, but his ability to get to that edge and to go down that sideline … he just does a great job.”
Fresh off a three-week injury hiatus, Blairsville defensive back Colton McMillan intercepted a Frankie Plowman pass and returned it 52 yards to the Trojans’ 9-yard line on the sixth play of Saltsburg’s ensuing possession.
Two plays later, quarterback Scott Thompson, who also returned from an injury after missing the last three weeks, plowed into the end zone from 2 yards to give the Bobcats a 21-0 lead with 7:48 to go in the first half.
“We tried to make sure we had all our bases covered,” Saltsburg coach Tim Frassenei said. “But when you put him (Thompson) in the game with Deion, it’s a very, very dangerous combination, because Thompson throws the ball well and he has wheels to get outside.”
To worsen the scenario for the Trojans, running back Tyler Frassenei — arguably their most dynamic playmaker — sustained a game-ending injury and was carted off the field midway through the second quarter.
A 42-yard run from Thompson, a 16-yard gallop from Robinson and a 9-yard trot from Livingston put the Bobcats in prime position to quickly extend the lead on their first drive of the second half.
Robinson then took a toss around right end, broke a tackle and scored from 14 yards to make it 27-0 with 2:28 to play in the third quarter.
Then, on the fourth play of Blairsville’s next drive, Robinson broke free around right end, shifted gears and then toed the right sideline, scoring a 47-yard touchdown to stretch the Bobcats’ lead to 34-0.
“I don’t think the play was a sweep, but the way the line held their blocks, I made the run and I cut it outside and then it was just touchdown alley,” Robinson said.
Robinson scored his fourth touchdown on the second play of the Bobcats’ next possession, zooming into the end zone from 24 yards to widen Blairsville’s lead to 41-0 with 9:49 to go in the game.
“He puts his foot on the ground, he sees the hole, and then he accelerates,” Frassenei said. “He gets through that hole, and then when he gets into daylight, he’s a very difficult kid to bring down. He’s got power, he’s got speed, and he’s got wiggle to him, so he’s a nice combination.”
Thompson, who completed just 2 of 6 passes for 32 yards, ran six times for 56 yards. Livingston ran three times for 34 yards. He also snagged both of Thompson’s completions for 32 yards.
Blairsville forced four turnovers and limited Saltsburg to 16 yards passing and 160 total yards.
“We definitely needed this,” Artley said. “We got some key guys back in the game, and obviously when you get some linemen back and some skills guys, and obviously with Scott running the show, it makes a big difference, because teams obviously have to worry about the pass as well.”