Roberson’s Return Sets Tone for Redskins
Thursday, July 28th 2011, 5:24 pm
By: News On 6
Originally Published: Dec 5, 2009 2:27 AM CDTKyle Dierking
Oklahoma Sports Reporter
TULSA, Oklahoma – Thomas Roberson had many restless nights during the week leading up to the state championship.
The Union wide receiver and kick returner already had a state championship under his belt and caught three passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins 34-20 6A title win over the Trojans last season.
“It was a lot more nerve-wracking this year than it was last year,” said Roberson following Union’s 52-19 thumping of Jenks in the 6A state championship. “I spent a lot of countless days not sleeping because I was so focused on this game.”
Perhaps Roberson gave Jenks the biggest wake up call on Friday evening; taking a lateral from Jacob Rice and returning the opening kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown.
Jenks’ Brad Haus kicked the ball 36 yards to Rice, who received the ball at the 24-yard line, then immediately tossed the ball across the field to Roberson. He went down the sideline and then up the middle untouched for the score.
“I didn’t really expect us to call it that early,” said Roberson, who returned a kick 52 yards for a touchdown against the Trojans on Sept. 11. “I thought we’d try to play conservative a little bit and try to get the momentum of the game, but the coaches know what they’re doing and that was an excellent play call.”
Union coach Kirk Fridrich said Lawton ran the same play against them in their second round playoff blowout victory.
“We thought, ‘heck why not run against somebody else,’” smiled Fridrich.
Roberson said the Redskins tried to run the play on the opening kickoff against Broken Arrow in last week’s 24-13 semifinal win over the Tigers, but they bobbled the ball.
“We knew that Broken Arrow and Jenks kind of do the same thing on special teams,” Roberson said. “So we were like ‘if we get to handle it, it’s out the gate.’ That’s just what it was and I had great blocking.”
Following the Roberson kickoff return, Jenks fumbled the ball on its first offensive possession at their own 11-yard line. The Redskins picked up another quick score from quarterback Chase Boyce and had a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement early,” said Union linebacker Steve Stadler, who recovered the fumble. “We knew that this game was going to be made on big plays. Starting off with two big plays the first few seconds of the ballgame was a huge, huge momentum change.”
Said Roberson, “When we put up 14 quickly, I thought this was going to be a good night.”
The Redskins led 32-0 at halftime thanks to Roberson and a defense that held the Trojans to 38 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.
Roberson scored his last career high school touchdown on that opening kickoff at H.A. Chapman Stadium, where he will be playing college football for the University of Tulsa next season.
After hoisting his second gold ball in as many years, the Union senior felt good about sacrificing the “Z’s” for a “W” on Friday evening.
“I’ll be able to sleep well tonight,” Roberson smiled.