November 01, 2007
Roberts key to Scott’s success Friday vs. Bluefield
By Rick Ryan
Assistant Sports Editor
Needless to say, if Scott wants to do a little better against Bluefield this year, it needs a little more out of Jordan Roberts.
Last year, the Beavers blanked the Skyhawks 22-0 in their regular-season-ending showcase at Laidley Field, holding the combustible Roberts to 96 yards on 24 carries.
Scott (7-2) needs more production out of its best player if it’s going to give the unbeaten and top-ranked Beavers (8-0) a game Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Laidley.
The Skyhawks rely even more on Roberts than they did a year ago. He’s run for more yards (2,596 compared to 1,860) and scored more touchdowns (34 to 33) than last season, and Scott averages more points (37.1 to 36). Roberts leads the state in both rushing yards and scoring (212 points).
Scott coach Shane Griffith thinks his team’s offensive approach may give Roberts a better chance to succeed this time.
“It’s a different style of offense,’’ Griffith said. “Last year when we faced Bluefield, he was the tailback in the ‘I’ package.’’
Roberts now operates out of a shotgun/single-wing formation, getting a direct snap, which allows him to pick his spots.
“They spread it out and he can see a little better,’’ said Bluefield coach Fred Simon. “They snap it to him, and he sees the holes and runs. He’s a heck of a ballplayer. He’s a good, strong, quick runner, and he’s tough.’’
Griffith also likes the fact that Roberts has developed into a dangerous passer, which gives defenses something else to think about when they bring extra defenders to the line of scrimmage.
“Obviously, teams are attempting to key on Jordan,’’ Griffith said, “but he’s able to manipulate that with the passing game. He’s not setting any records with it, but he’s keeping defenses honest. When the ball’s in his hands, it’s a new feature Bluefield has to deal with.’’
Roberts has completed 17-of-50 passes for 448 yards and four TDs, and averages 26.4 yards per completion.
“It is difficult at times to crowd the box and key on him, especially with your secondary,’’ Griffith said, “because he has developed the ability to throw the ball quite well, and we’ve got some threats — Shayne Butcher, Tyler Thompson, Randy Bishop — that can exploit that weakness if they do try to crowd.’’
Bluefield’s defense will be the best Scott has seen all year. The Beavers allow just 7.6 points per game. Last week, they held No. 3 James Monroe nearly 39 points under its scoring average in earning a 14-7 win.
“The thing I noticed about Bluefield’s defense is that it’s very good at containment,’’ Griffith said. “They have so much team speed that it’s difficult to get those long runs. But Jordan has gained 22 pounds since last year and I think it’s going to pay off for him getting those tough, positive yards.’’
Bluefield has survived a difficult schedule unscathed thus far, beating playoff-caliber teams in both Virginia and West Virginia. The Beavers have won three games by a TD or less.
“We’ve gotten good leadership from our seniors,’’ Simon said. “They really care, and they’re a fun group to be around. We really have nothing outstanding, but we’re definitely doing a good job of several different things — defensively we’re very quick, we can throw the ball, we can run the ball effectively. All the phases are good.
“The kids deserve [the success]. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them, and they deserve all the attention and all the fan support.’’
Shaun Brooks leads the Beavers’ ground game with 832 yards and 10 TDs, followed by Jake Lilly (415 yards, two TDs). Junior transfer Will Cole is the team’s new quarterback. He’s hit on 65-of-131 passes for 814 yards and 10 TDs. Ansel Ponder (32 catches, 392 yards, five TDs) is a game-breaking wideout.
The Charleston Gazette