Apparently, the Shrine Bowl coaching staff is in on the secret that Roberson is a pretty good football team.
Rams quarterback Noah Suber and lineman Jeff DeLeon, along with Hendersonville wide receiver D.J. Wilson, were selected to the annual all-star game between North Carolina and South Carolina seniors on Wednesday.
This year’s Shrine Bowl takes place Dec. 15 at Wofford University in Spartanburg, S.C.
Schools are allowed a maximum of two Shrine Bowl selections. Roberson (7-0, 3-0) reached that limit for the first time in school history despite the fact that the Mountain Athletic Conference’s only unbeaten team has yet to receive a top-10 ranking in just about every 4-A state poll.
“Both of these kids have worked extremely hard and it’s nice to see them rewarded,” Rams coach Jim Beatty said.
“We’re real tickled. We’ve never had two go before and this whole senior group has worked extremely hard. They’ve set goals for themselves. We’re still on our way to achieving them, but to have two kids go and play in a big game like this is great. Everybody is excited for them.”
DeLeon and Suber were both All-WNC selections in 2011 and are in the midst of strong senior seasons.
Suber (903 passing yards, 699 rushing yards, 18 combined touchdowns) has quarterbacked Roberson to quality road wins at defending 3-AA Western Regional champion Shelby Crest, Erwin, Franklin and McDowell.
The 6-foot-1, 224-pound senior and the Rams host Asheville High (5-2, 2-1) on Friday.
DeLeon’s work in the trenches has been a big part of Roberson’s best start since 2004. He received a scholarship offer from East Carolina over the summer, but the 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior has not yet decided where he will play in college.
Longtime Hendersonville coach B.J. Laughter will be an assistant on the North Carolina staff for the Shrine Bowl. But Laughter said his only role in the selection process involved picking the Tar Heel state’s defensive line.
Wilson (25 receptions for 694 yards and 10 touchdowns) is the lone WNC receiver with double-digit touchdowns this season. Laughter said that the 6-foot, 180-pound senior really impressed the rest of the North Carolina coaching staff with his combine workouts.
Like the two Roberson players, Wilson got a chance to show his skills during a local combine at Reynolds in April, as well as a second, invitation only workout at West Forsyth High in May.
“(Wilson) has really worked hard for this and that’s why I feel so good about it,” Laughter said.
“The coaches really liked him and he’s earned it. He’s lived in the weight room since last season. And there’s a kid who makes A’s and B’s in the classroom, too. I couldn’t be happier for D.J.”
Tickets for the 76th edition of the Shrine Bowl are $20 at the gate but may be purchased for in advance for $15 by calling 1-800-648-2695 or logging onto http://www.shrine-bowl.com.