School is back in session, and Roberson football players have gotten an education in the veer all week.
Have the Rams (1-0) learned enough to stop Tuscola (1-0) and its unconventional offense? The two programs meet for the first time since 2008 tonight in Waynesville.
Kickoff is set for 7:30.
“It’s an old-school offense. You don’t see the veer very much any more, but Tuscola runs it well,” Roberson coach Jim Beatty said.
“They want to get their 3 or 4 yards and a cloud of dust, line up and then try to break a big one.”
Quarterbacks are essential to the veer, given that they decide what to do with the ball based on reads at the line of scrimmage.
In that regard, former 1,000-yard passer Woody Cornwell was sharp in last Friday’s 56-0 shutout of Cherokee. The senior threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Adam Chambers and rushed for a second score.
Cornwell also handed off to Bryce Myers (215 yards, three touchdowns) a dozen times, allowing the Mountaineers to establish single-game school records for total offense (604 yards) and rushing (559).
On the other side of the ball, linebackers Jon Martinez and Houston McCracken helped limit the homestanding Braves (0-1) to just 27 yards. It was the first shutout for a Mountaineers defense in four years and their first season-opening win since 2008.
“They’ve got a lot of confidence over there right now,” Beatty said.
“Tuscola is a traditional powerhouse, and they’re excited. We’ve spent all week making sure that everyone takes care of their responsibility on defense. We’re going to have to do what we need to do on defense and pick up the run game.”
Roberson and Reggie Pinner are No. 4 in the Citizen-Times/Best of the West rankings after last Friday’s 22-20 home win over North Henderson.
Pinner put up 262 yards of offense (211 passing, 51 rushing) with touchdown throws to Ben Warren (16 yards) and Zach Dollinger (27). Pinner’s 7-yard keeper in the opening quarter was the first touchdown of the season for the Rams. Grant Hiriak, who also starts for the Roberson baseball and soccer teams, kicked a 25-yard field goal.
Alex Schultz (14 tackles), Patrick Gilliam (10), Tyler Cond (nine), Jacob Deaton (seven) and the rest of the Roberson defense stopped the Knights (0-1) on a potential game-tying 2-point conversion with 1:16 remaining.
“I got the film on Roberson and everyone says they’re down, they lost 30 seniors (from 2012) and whatnot,” Tuscola coach Brandon Allen said.
“Holy cow, they don’t look down to me. The quarterback is a remarkable athlete and a dual threat for sure. They’re extremely big up front on both lines. They move well and they’re physical. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re going to have to play lights out and up to our potential to put ourselves in a position to be successful.”