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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen TAKING OFF: Fountain Lake's Andrew Roberson (5) takes a handoff from quarterback Ian Lacy (10) against Hot Springs on Aug. 30 at Tommy J. Holt Field at Joe Reece Stadium. Roberson tallied 124 yards on 32 carries in the game with two touchdowns.

FOUNTAIN LAKE -- Andrew Roberson, in many ways, is like any other high school senior. He enjoys relaxing on the weekend, spending time with his friends and playing video games like Fortnite and Madden.

The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen SENIOR DEFENDER: Fountain Lake senior Andrew Roberson (5) dives to take down Hot Springs junior Spencer Johnson (23) at Tommy J. Holt Field at Joe Reece Stadium on Aug. 30. Roberson had two assisted tackles in the game and added two solo and six more assisted tackles against Lakeside last week to bring his tally to 10 in the first two weeks of the season.

When he steps onto the football field however, he is a much different individual -- a fact that he has shown in the first two weeks of the season for Fountain Lake (2-0). The Cobras began the season with victories over Class 5A opponents Hot Springs (0-2), 18-0, and Lakeside (0-2), 40-27.

Roberson scored three touchdowns and rushed for 220 yards in the first two games of his senior campaign, a stat line that comes as a bit of a surprise to him.

"I thought our (offensive) line is a lot better than expected," he said. "We're able to move the ball the last couple weeks. That was kind of unexpected coming in. It was a big surprise to us and the coaches."

While the Cobras may have tallied about 100 yards fewer in their first two games this season compared to last year, the 709 offensive yards the team has gained this year is impressive for an offensive line that returned no starters from last season.

"I thought we came out surprised some people with our line," Roberson continued. "They're young, but I knew they worked hard all summer in the weight room. They ran plays all spring and all summer, so I knew they'd eventually get it. So I wasn't surprised (to get some big yards) deep down."

Head coach J.D. Plumlee, while only in his second year at the helm of the Cobras, saw the talent that Roberson brought to the field early on, which is not that surprising for an athlete who has been playing the game since he was 6 years old.

"He's playing every snap," he said. "This past week, he had right at 100 yards rushing, had 10 tackles on defense. He's all over the field for us. There's no doubt that's who he is. He's one of the biggest reasons we're 2-0, along with our other guys making plays. If I'd have been here earlier, he quite possibly have been the quarterback as a sophomore."

One new thing for Roberson this season was taking so many snaps while quarterbacking in the Cobras' run-pass-option offense. Classmate Dylan Wasson and junior Ian Lacy also trade out as the team's on-field leader on Friday nights.

"It's almost kind of scary at first," Roberson said. "You go from more of a smaller role as running back to going to the leader of the offense as quarterback. You've got to be more vocal out there. It's kind of a leadership difference for me.

"Tenth grade, 11th grade I wasn't -- I'm still not a vocal guy really. I'm more of a just go out there, work the hardest and maybe they'll realize it, and they'll work hard, too. I think I set an example on the field they'll notice it, too."

While he might not be as vocal on the field, Plumlee said he is definitely a leader on the gridiron.

"He does (show leadership) just because he shows up every day and works," Plumlee said. "He's not as vocal as you would like, but I've been around a lot of great leaders who aren't vocal, who show up and do their job.

"When those younger guys see him every day with all the attention that he gets -- (he) shows up and goes out there and works hard through every drill and he's lifting hard in the weight room, he sets it by example."

Roberson averaged 1,300 yards of offense and 11.5 touchdowns the past two years.

"I want to be the best -- the best player that I can be," he said. "I've worked so hard every year so far. I'm ready to go out there and do the best job I can each week."

Plumlee said it was an decision to put Roberson in a quarterback role some this season.

"He's dangerous with the ball in his hands," he said. "So, you can get in the sets and snap him the ball right away. Defense has to account for him. We can read people in the box and not have to block them.

"That just helps level out the run game a little bit with him. He can throw it. We haven't shown it the past two weeks, but he can throw it. We're going to continue to work that. In our conference, he'll have to do some sprinting out and some RPOs."

Roberson said he also strives to be the best person he can be. Plumlee and the other Fountain Lake football coaches have instilled several words that Roberson works to focus on.

"We went over this with our coach," Roberson said. "Accountability, responsibility, showing character, integrity and sacrifice -- that's kind of our main words that we talk about, our controllables. Really, just something we can control."

"He's very accountable," Plumlee agreed. "He's always going to show up every day and give you his best. He's a weight room rat. He understands the daily grind of the process to get his body ready to play, and he's also a film rat. Like he said, he wants to be the best, so he studies and works at it. He's one of those kids that you don't want to see go because you love being around him every day."

Roberson and the Cobras play host to 4A Dover (0-2) Friday night at 7 p.m. at Allen Tillery Field in their final non-conference game of the regular season.

Sports on 09/12/2018

Print Headline: Silent leader: Roberson leads Cobras by example

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